sNews Commentary: Reverend David Wilkerson Dies in Car Accident

 Wow, just learned that David Wilkerson died today in a car accident.  Regardless of what you think of David Wilkerson, He was a man of God and humble servant of our King of Kings.  He no longer faces the suffering of this world and is on to what is ahead, whatever God has for Him.  I remember as a child hearing of the story of Nicky Cruz and the story Cross and Switchblade.   He also was instrumental of the founding of the Christian based alcohol and drug recovery program, Teen Challenge.

Apparently he changed lanes and ran into a trailer truck who tried to move out of his way. His wife apparently is in critical condition, so prayer for her as well. The story of his death can be found http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2011/April/Rev-David-Wilkerson-Killed-in-TX-Car-Crash/.  For updates from his church home go to: http://www.tscnyc.org/pastor_david_wilkerson.php.  Also according to reports his wife was His last words to the church body as a whole were posted on his blog today entitled: When all means fail.   This death today points us all to the temporariness of this life.  Any one of us could die tomorrow. Life is short and but a vapor. It is interesting that Reverend David Wilkerson was posting and talking about dealing with the storms of life and when things do not go the way we think and coping with difficulty, when God called him home as he was focused on sharing those words.  It appears God through David’s death is continuing and emphasizing the message.  God will and is using this death to further bring Him glory.  Now, I do pray for God’s peace to come upon his family and for the church body.  Doing a search on David Wilkerson found an article of his circa 1979 entitled “The Ultimate Healing” that gives a good treatise on death.  Appropriate words to read as he has shed the mortal coil.

One thing we should all do is stop and think and dwell on the words Reverend David Wilkerson spoke challenging the church. He call for Holiness, Repentance, and looking to God and God alone.  Word all his words and actions perfect, nope, he was flawed as we all are, but He loved God. He pursued righteousness. He called others to go deeper in relationship and surrender. 

It seems fitting to include a few video selections that have been posted that call us to deeper surrender to God Almighty.

A Call to Anguish

Full Sermon: Raised From the Dead

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News Commentary: Mr. Frank Vennes Jr. Indicted- An Exposed Wolf in Sheeps Clothing

         Soon after this blog was started the Tom Petters ponzi scheme was exposed.  One of the individuals involved in the scheme was Frank Vennes Jr. a professed evangelical who had ties to Teen Challenge, a prison ministry called Charis, and Northwestern College in Minnesota.  The initial article[i] called Mr. Vennes Jr. to task for being a wolf in sheeps clothing and those who knew and supported Mr. Vennes confronted this writer for jumping to conclusions and passing judgment without facts on Mr. Vennes. I recognized that my initial response did come from some anger, but the anger was related to what appeared to be blatant deceit.  The anger was recognized leading to a published apology.[ii] In January of 2010, this writer wondered what did Mr. Vennes actually know and commented about how we all need to stand for truth[iii]. See Mr. Vennes friends and voraciously defended the man and his reputation that doubt was caught on the initial impressions and anger.  It turns out the impression and anger was righteous and justified.

            His friends pointed out the fact that Mr. Vennes was not indicted no did he seem the target of the investigation.  It was that one fact that led to questions. Well, now there are questions no more.  As. Mr. Vennes has now been indicted. Apparently his finances had long ago been seized in relation to the fraud.  Sure, an indictment is not “proof” but the points of the initial articles were relevant and on target. See the question was always whether Mr. Vennes was a man conned, or an integral part of the con.  The current allegations point to his being an integral part of the con.  The Star Tribune article[iv] states that Mr. Vennes is on tape stating the empty warehouses will cause the scheme to “implode” and that the whole thing is “a little paper manufacturing plant.”

            See this shows appearance can be deceiving.  It illustrates that the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. If you think you know a person, even had his deep faults confessed, he still can be seeking after that which is crooked and deceiving.  And Mr. Vennes is not really any different that any of us.  Each of us are capable of deceit and betrayal.

            In retrospect, there are lessons to be learned. While caution is always in order, there is righteous judgment and discernment.  The truth can be known without evidence of all the facts. Mr. Vennes is alleged to have actively conned others, and this writer believes that to be true.  He put both Teen Challenge and Northwestern College in positions that impacted them and threatened their existence. The root of the actions and deception was all in order for a handful of people to make a lot of money.

            Another point is no matter how well hidden things seem to be, sooner or later all the deeds in darkness will be exposed. Some, like the Petters scheme will be exposed in this life time before all. But when Jesus returns, every little evil will be brought into open. Nothing hidden! 

            It is also worth noting how easily any of us can be if we operate based on experience.  We think we can know a person, view their actions and conclude they are seeking after pure motives. Yet, there are many like Mr. Vennes or Ananias and Sapphira, or Judas that more is going on then the initial experience. With the disciples, none but Jesus knew what was in his heart, even when he left the last supper, pointed out as a betrayer, the disciples see were unaware of the darkness in his heart. He followed Jesus.  It is due to revelation of the Holy Spirit that Ananias and Sapphira were exposed and brought to death.  Some think that God is cruel for such actions. But it is that deep deception, the deceitful appearance and heart that God knows impacts and corrupts many. Their death was an act of love and righteous wrath. Now, I hope and pray that Mr. Vennes is not like Judas or Annanias and Sapphira. It is not too late for true repentance. However, the man has conned many for a long time and the veracity of anything coming from the man will need to be questioned.  For it is not the appearance of good works that is the fruit of repentance, it is true surrender to Jesus. Mr. Vennes faked it fooling many, but He has been exposed. The story serves as an example for all.  And if there are friends who still seek to defend the man, take it up with the creator, for Mr. Vennes in my mind is a deceiver and wolf in sheeps clothing that fooled many.

News Commentary: Jeff Dubay Update-Exchange one prison for another.

Well the Star Tribunehas reported that Jeff Dubay has been sentenced to 180 days in the workhouse for his drug related offenses.  Judge Smith also gave him a stiff warning that the next step is prison.  He had failed to follow through with the diversion program and substance abuse court and had failed twelve drug tests while missing eleven. 

Jeff sadly turned to cocaine to fill the emptiness inside after finding the truth in Ecclesiastes that what he had chased after was ultimately all nothing.  He lost everything including now his freedom for his drug.  Perhaps his lawyer is right and his moving to Brainard, Minnesota away from his drug connections would be the answer. However, this is often not the case for people who have turned to drugs for an answer.   Here it is moving from the prison of addiction to actual time in jail.  It is the told bottom of self.  

Jeff Dubay’s struggles are not uncommon and we all think we are good enough.  The mindset is that if you just have enough strength and will power and drive to succeed, you will do what it takes to be successful and avoid anything that can drag you down. Yet, each of us at one point or another turn to something to feel the emptiness.  It does not matter whether what is turned to is socially acceptable or not, but it is something that is an attempt to fill what Blaise Pascal called a “God-shaped vacuum” inside us all. The true satisfaction only comes when one is in right relationship with God. The only way anyone can get right with God is through Jesus the Messiah by turning from self and accepting the gift Jesus has to offer.  If you want more details on turning to Jesus please read this page: https://peacebringer7.wordpress.com/how-to-become-a-christian/. Please don’t wait till you reach bottom to look to turn to Jesus.   The consequences and problems will still exist but there will be peace and the driving emptiness will be no more.

Now for any who struggle with addiction, including Jeff Dubay. I strongly recommend getting involved with the Teen Challenge treatment program.  They will deal with both the addiction issues as well as the connected spiritual issues.

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Please see this post for most recent thoughts and update: https://peacebringer7.wordpress.com/2010/01/12/addict-lost-in-addiction-and-the-pathway-to-death-1-12-10-update-on-jeff-dubay

News Commentary: Thomas Petters fraud case.

    In Minnesota, Thomas Petters recently has been one of the financial movers and shakers. He bought Sun Country airlines at a low cost. He had the reputation of someone able to turn around otherwise floundering companies.  He may well have been successful doing so, and the reason for his success may be an extensive fraud conspiracy.  According to news accounts, Mr. Petters and other associates have been involved in a scheme of pretending to sell merchandise in order to obtain money from investors.  The fraud allegations are not really all that surprising. Anyone who visited a Petters Warehouse direct store and noted the junk being sold had to wonder how Mr. Petters made all that money. The answer now seems more clear, by fraud and deception.  It is really amazing that through all the businesses purchased that no one really spotted the potential fraud.  Perhaps, as with most cons and deceptions that the investors got too wrapped up in what they could get back and ignore any potential warning signs.

     The documented evidenceso far paints a pretty clear picture of what appears to be a Ponzischeme.  A lot of money was made and the reach of this alleged fraud does go global.  Many, many people were sucked in.  The hardest thing is to see charities like Minnesota Teen Challenge get hooked into the scheme.  It would be bad enough that Mr. Petters appears to have donated ill-gained money, but in turn he managed to get those charaties to invest with the promise of more.  So not only are businessses like Sun Country Airlines, Polariod and others at risk but many Charaties including Teen Challenge find themselves at risk.

    This whole sad story really paints the picture of when things look too good to be true they usually fit that statement.  And usually most fraudulant schemes do eventually come to the surface. It is times like these that it is good to re-examine prioties.  Everywhere in this world there are people who are looking to build themselves up, some by taking shortcuts to making lots of money.  Others look for power.  Sometimes both come at same time.  Corruption and shortcuts are traps out there that can easily suck others in. 

    The fact is that we may think what we do is in isolation. But, what we do does have impact on other people.  Any short cut taken will hurt many when exposed.  Our selfishness and actions taken as shortcuts to meet our own needs when exposed collapse and usually with many  consequences.  This is seen in the Thomas Petters story, this is seen in many other untold stories that impact many. 

So the question is where do you turn when things collapse? Where do you turn when things in your life get shaken or even exposed.  In Christianity, the answer is Jesus.  In Jesus there is peace.  This peace doesn’t change the difficulties, doesn’t fix all the causes of suffering either by our own or others suffering, but it gives a hope and a foundation.  The hope is that ultimatley there is something better.  Hope that the selfishness of others will result in ultimate justice.  And a foundation of something unshakeable, and that being the love and grace of God, who cared enough to provide an answer to selfishness. The answer is in Jesus Christ and allowing him to pay for our sins.  In surrendering our lives to Jesus Christ and serving the Kingdom of God versus our own Kingdom, there is recognition that everything in this life is but temporary.