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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Believing God for revival in New England

A couple of you have sent me this article from CBN concerning a "joyous revival" which is being predicted to sweep New England. Clearly God is preparing to do something in this region, but we would be very wise not to announce that something is happening when it is not; neither should we ever describe anything as revival before the time. True revival and transformation involves, as it did in the case of the Welsh Revival, a fundamental shaking of the entire society, and not a mere blessing:

It is estimated that 100,000 were converted throughout Wales during the revival just as Evan Roberts had predicted. Not all these turned out to be genuine but the effect of so many coming under the influence of the spiritual awakening meant that whole communities were transformed overnight. Crime was completely eradicated from some areas so that magistrates were given white gloves. Pit managers reported increased coal output and swearing diminished so much that the old pit ponies were disorientated. Outstanding debts were repaid and longstanding quarrels were settled amicably. The churches of the land were full of people praising God and praying fervently for the salvation of others, young and old, not only in the Sunday services but at the weeknight prayer meetings as well. Sir John Morris-Jones, one of the leading literary figures of the time, was amazed at the elevated language that uneducated people used in their prayers.

National as well as local newspapers gave day by day reports on the progress of the revival in different parts of the principality. Men and women, boys and girls, were seen calling on God on railway station platforms, train compartments and buses, while prayer meetings were held underground in the coal mines and in student common rooms. Notorious sinners were remarkably converted. Public houses were not only forced to close but in some cases the landlords were themselves transformed by the work of the Spirit.

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Saturday, November 26, 2005

ACLJ files brief in Kerrigan case

Although the legislature is not in session, persons opposed to maintaining the traditional family structure continue to work. The case of Kerrigan v. State of Connecticut is still active and seeks the redfinition of marriage in Connecticut, so as to include same-sex couples. The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) has now filed a friend of the court brief asking the Superior Court to dismiss the case. (Click here to see court docket sheet; no copy of the brief is available on the Web at this time.)

ACLJ attorney Vincent McCarthy stated that:

“Their argument is all that’s needed for marriage is two individuals who seek an intimate relationship with each other, and their sex doesn’t matter. But marriage was not established primarily for mutual gratification. It was always grounded in the interest of the State in regulating the procreation, protection and growth of children and to ensure that they had a mother and father."
Read the ACLJ press release here.

Please continue to pray for this case, which can have tremendous repercussions and which we cannot allow to go off the radar.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Gearing up for our annual war

No sooner do we finish figuring out what to do with the leftover cranberry sauce (why is it called sauce anyway?) when we must again figure out what to do with Christmas. God makes an annual appearance at Thanksgiving, of course, but that gets submerged in pie and revisionist history. Governor Rell did not even mention the Creator in her annual Thanksgiving Proclamation - instead urging us to join her "in expressing our deepest gratitude to those who touch our lives everyday and in extending a healing hand of hope to those who need it most." As if the United Way were the source of our blessings.

Still, it's Christmas that irks people, as the Christian content is so, to a secularist, in your face. Fox News's Jon Gibson struck early, releasing in October his book The War on Christmas. The leader of the ADL now reportedly says that Evangelicals are the "key domestic challenge to... our democratic values." But that was all just warm-up.
Now the season is here and soon, probably no later than this weekend, each state will have one or two threatened court cases to focus on. Everyone will wonder where Judge Alito will come down on these things, should he be confirmed.

For concerned parents, the ACLJ (not the ACLU) has a letter here explaining peoples' legal right to sing Christmas carols, etc., in schools. Let the games begin but let not your hearts be troubled.

We'll follow any Connecticut Christmas religious liberty stories that pop up, If you hear of any, please let us know at our e-mail address in the side column.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Thanking the Author of all that is good

We thought we would share with you the Thanksgiving Proclamation of our first President, and please take note of the language. Whatever arguments people may throw out to say that Washington was a Deist more than a Biblical Christian, the references to Providence, national trangressions, etc. are telling.

General Thanksgiving
By the PRESIDENT of the United States Of America

WHEREAS it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favour; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me "to recommend to the people of the United States a DAY OF PUBLICK THANSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"

NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and assign THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH DAY of NOVEMBER next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed;-- for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish Constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;-- for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge;-- and, in general, for all the great and various favours which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also, that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions;-- to enable us all, whether in publick or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us); and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

GIVEN under my hand, at the city of New-York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.

(signed) G. Washington

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Josh McDowell event stuns Meriden

Pastor Will Marotti of New Life Church in Meriden sends this report from Saturday night's event in Meriden with well-known Christian apologetics writer, speaker, and youth worker Josh McDowell:

Grace and Peace,

On Saturday night, November 19th more than 1,500 people packed O.H. Platt High School in Meriden to hear the music of Bradley, Seventh Day Slumber and the teaching of Josh McDowell. It was by all accounts an incredible night. Following the teaching more than two hundred adults and teens made documented decisions for Christ with nearly half of them indicating they were accepting Jesus for the very first time! More than 50 churches were represented from CT, MA, RI, NH and NY.

We want to thank those who collaborated with us to help make Saturday a great success!

Calvary Baptist Church – Meriden
Christ Community Church – Cheshire
Cornerstone Church – Cheshire
Colonial Chapel – Berlin
First Baptist Church - Meriden
WFIF – Milford
WIHS – Middletown
WVNE – Worchester, MA
Rock the Sound
The Cecil B. Day Foundation

and the more than other 50 churches and youth pastors who bought tickets and brought their kids!

Thanks to all and to everybody – Happy Thanksgiving!

Will and Ann Marotti
Staff and members of New Life Church

Let's give thanks for what the Lord is doing and continue to pray for this work of His grace!

Monday, November 21, 2005

New London spotlighted again (N. Y. Times)

The New York Times has follow up today on the Kelo v. City of New London eminent domain case.

Let's remember to pray for the economically struggling regions of our State. The Times notes that New London has:

...a high unemployment rate and fewer residents today than it had in 1920.

Are we really that cheap?

It's that time of year again, when the "most miserly state" in the Union is selected. Once again, New Hampshire has "won." But Connecticut is right up there, one of the six stingiest states. The AP report says:

Using the Catalogue of Philanthropy's standard, the 10 stingiest states, starting from the bottom, were New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Minnesota, Colorado, Hawaii and Michigan. Connecticut, with an average income of $67,136, had average contributions of $3,565, ranking 45th.

Still, this report is criticized because of its methodology, comparing what people give to what they have. (Sounds at least somewhat Biblical to me.) By these standards, New England residents will always appear stingiest for they have higher incomes.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Old media reeling - is it any wonder why?

Brian Brown is blogging about the newest round of layoffs at the Courant and he attributes it, rightly we think, to that paper's trashing of family values. Warning: excerpt is not for the faint of heart. Is it any wonder why Christians (and many others who have not yet gone insane) are deserting the newspapers, getting their news online and selling their cars on eBay instead of the good ol' classifieds?

Read this article called "The End of News?" for the big picture. It's written from a left-of-center perspective and charts the decline of the newspaper business, among other things.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Connecticut church leaders cry out for transformation

This past Thursday some 150 pastors and ministry leaders from around the State and from a host of different backgrounds gathered at Wellspring Church in Kensington to seek the Lord for the transformation of Connecticut. This was a powerful and, above all, encouraging time of prayer and fellowship.

One of the highlights of the day was the premiere of the video, "When Connecticut Prays," produced by Gerry and Barbara Lachance. This DVD featured numerous Connecticut leaders speaking on prayer and community transformation. Both the DVD and Pastor Rick McKinniss, our host, ably set forth the vision for a series of prayer meetings to be held in each of our eight counties, leading up to a great statewide meeting to be held in Hartford on Pentecost Sunday, 2006, the Global Day of Prayer.

Other significant elements included:

  • Anointed worship times led by Quigley Foran
  • Wonderful fellowship and new friends made
  • Times of free intercession where people cried out to the Lord for our State
  • Prophetic word concerning the coming together of dried bones and the breath of God coming into them according to Ezekiel chapter 37. It was prophesied that God would turn our State into a Garden of Eden.
  • Prophetic word concerning God coming into our State this year and 2006 like a fire and a hammer that breaks the rock. It was prophesied that He would come into churches like a fire and also come into certain places like a hammer, shattering foundations of evil and exposing it in Hartford, New Haven, Willimantic, Milford, Danbury, Litchfield, and throughout Litchfield County.
  • Much thanksgiving was made to God concerning how much change there had been in the spiritual atmosphere and in the level of cooperation between Christians in the last several decades. Clearly we are not the same as we have been.
  • The night before the meeting, one pastor had received the word "check," as in a game of chess. He shared how our nation was in a precarious position as though we were in "check" on a chessboard. Prayer, repentance, tears, and faith would be needed to avert trouble.
  • Corporate prayer was offered to eliminate the effect of an occultic ceremony that was taking place that day in Massachusetts and which would affect the Connecticut River. We later learned that an earthquake occurred that afternoon only a few miles south of Plymouth, Mass.
  • Another pastor received the message that it was time to go through the gate. Symbolically and prophetically, the attendees went through the gate and believed God for the beginning of the new season of advance which so many have been promised. This provided a powerful close to our time together, and participants committed to support the work of prayer leading up to the Day of Pentecost.
I don't think it would be any exaggeration to say that this meeting was a significant and, although we should always hesitate to use the word, historic event in the life of our State. Special thanks again to Pastor Rick McKinniss, his congregation, the Lachances, and many others for facilitating a great day of advance for the Kingdom of God in our State.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

When Connecticut Prays

Today from 9 am to 3 pm there will be a prayer gathering for pastors and leaders with a heart to see Connecticut transformed through the power of God. Please pray for those in attendance that they will hear the voice of God for the State of Connecticut. Pray that there will be a momentum of prayer building from now until the Global Day of Prayer, June 4, 2006. Pray that there will be a full house with leaders who desire to see transformation for the State of Connecticut. Pray for the successful completion of a special DVD designed to promote prayer for our State, called "When Connecticut Prays." This will be a powerful resource suitable for showing on community access TV.

Meeting Location:

Wellspring (formerly Kensington Baptist Church)
222 Lincoln Street
Kensington CT

Directions and More Info

Monday, November 14, 2005

One small step for a blog...

The Big News from the international headquarters of Pray Connecticut - we are mentioned in the Courant's Northeast Magazine dated 10/23/05. Well, linked to, actually. No discussion of our blog itself in the Courant's online edition, so I guess I am not annoying as many people as the Family Institute of Connecticut.

All kidding aside, it's OK by me if people stop by and are made to think and even pray about what goes on in these parts.

Fine, be that way...

Read this column in today's Courant, entitled "Don't End Up Like Connecticut." The author, Walter Ellis, is a former editor at the London Sunday Times. He writes this piece as an open letter to Brittany, in France, lamenting what the loss of farms has done to Connecticut, urging them to learn from our example and generally ripping our way of life to shreds.

The title is meant to shock, obviously, but it is probably true that there is a lot we can do to help our farmers, whom Ellis described as "sad, isolated figures."

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Weird Connecticut This Week (Vol. 7)

The Weird Connecticut column returns. A little levity is good for the soul, after all.

  • Identical twins allegedly try to fool a judge in New Britain. The reason: one had a final. (I wonder what she's studying.) I thought that stuff only happened on the Patty Duke Show.
  • Why haven't I known before today that our cute little State has not one, but two museums devoted to garbage?
  • And the kicker: Stamford police report that they arrested a man who sold his house for $670,000. That's no crime, and not even remarkable in Stamford. The criminal part came when he allegedly used the proceeds to set up a crack factory at the Stamford Suites on Bedford Street. Who knows? He might have gotten away with it if that address were not across the street from Stamford Police Headquarters.

Praying for another unknown people group

If you've been around evangelical circles for a while then you know that "unreached people groups" are often targeted for prayer, Bible translation, and evangelism. I'd like to propose we go to prayer for a despised and unwelcome group within American society which faces misunderstanding and even prejudice in our society. Who are these unfortunates? Parents!

Have a peek at this decision by the Ninth Circuit Court - easily the most frequently overturned court. However, you may judge for yourself when you read. If you live in the Ninth Circuit, you may no longer opt your public school children out of sex surveys, even if they are in elementary school. Quote from this opinion:

"... there is no fundamental right of parents to be the exclusive provider of information regarding sexual matters to their children."

This is beyond absurd, and in my opinion calls for civil disobedience. We have reached a level of animosity to religion and family similar to that of Soviet Russia, where, it is said, parents would sometimes stay up all night "unlearning" their children out of what they had "learned" that day in school. Thanks to the general collapse of morality in the Western world, parents have it hard enough as it is. Let's pray that our nation can recoup some sanity before we go right off the cliff.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Finding peace when conflict is everywhere

The Christian more than anyone is a person who can walk in confidence: confidence that God rules in the events of his life and that He is also the God of history. When we see great turmoil in the nations, we must turn to Him and recall the words of Psalm 46, where the Psalmist said the people of God would not fear "though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea." (Ps. 46:2)

Faith and perseverance are necessary in our current climate. One phenomenon Christians face in this country is a whipsaw effect. We know that righteousness exalts a nation, and so we rejoice when spiritual or temporal victories occur. However, our hearts are too easily crushed by outbreaks of wickedness and the deliberate denigration of Christ and His Church. Both can happen on the same day, and so if we are not careful our hearts can be rattled by the schizophrenia of modern America. For example, this week we saw Texas overwhelmingly approving a Constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman. In Maine, however, those supporting traditional families went down to defeat.

Keep a steadfast heart. Let's be sober-minded enough to realize that in any battle there are advances and setbacks. Continue to pray for all who are in authority, which Paul says we must do "first of all." (1 Tim. 2:1) As we remain faithful in prayer, God will do things we never thought possible!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Spam attacks blogs

Now that's a headline that couldn't have existed just a few years ago, although our moms might have thought it had something to do with Hormel. Anyway, because spammers are now stuffing blog comments as well as e-mail mailboxes, I am moving to a higher level of protection which will require people to enter word verifications when they make comments. You'll see something like this when you leave a comment:

You know how it works, I'm sure. Sorry for the inconvenience, but these things will continue to happen until the Spam Death Penalty Act of 2007 is passed and goes into effect.

Early and often... the real aftermath of Election Day

In Chicago the most famous political saying is "vote early and vote often," a reference to the many people who would "vote" in Windy City elections under false names, even the names of the dead. Our own elections yesterday probably didn't see that level of turnout, although there were a few surprises, including Mayor Jarjura returning to power in Waterbury on a write-in campaign, and a 22-year old ousting an incumbent to become mayor of Torrington.

What we
can do early and often in Connecticut is pray. In 2006 the political stakes will be much higher. The pro-family agenda, already battered, finds that its champions are few and far between. Still, I believe that prayer can make a difference, that healing the land is possible to a people who will arise with faith in their hearts. There are many hopeful signs, as Christians in various corners of the State are seeing a new vitality in their churches and there is a new season of cooperation between believers of all stripes.

Let's start praying early for the 2006 elections! It remains within our power as people of prayer to write history and not merely study it.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Family Institute of Connecticut profiled in Courant

The Family Institute of Connecticut (FIC) and its Executive Director, Brian Brown, have been featured in the Courant's weekend magazine, Northeast. The story is largely positive, or at least doesn't give Brian Brown horns and a pitchfork. (Still, the usual tactics may still be at work, such as questionable camera angles or a candid close-up of Brian with his lip sticking out. If you pay attention, you will see these sorts of photo techniques used against people of faith or whoever the story sees as the villain du jour.)

The FIC's blog now has an RSS feed, which I recommend to you. They keep abreast of the issues statewide and do comprehensive work in the pro-family field, naturally.

Praying for France

I think it's important even while we think about our own elections tomorrow to spend some time praying for France. There are new concerns that the riots there will spread to other nations in the region, and, more alarmingly, that they are being well directed by others. Technology is also helping the rioters, as mobs are being orchestrated by text-messaging and internet. While economic concerns have been giving rise to disturbances of this type for many years, certainly on a smaller scale, the danger now is that Islamists will take advantage, if they are not doing so already.

To see the mood, watch this video of French President Jacques Chirac. It's in French, and my French isn't so good anymore, but you should at least watch this for the body language. Many people think that President Bush is painful to watch on TV, but this performance will not inspire confidence over there.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Armed guards escort people out of church building in Bridgeport

This one you really have to read to believe. A Black Rock (Bridgeport) church closes abruptly, and at the conclusion of the final liturgy (which apparently no one realized they were attending), two armed guards emerge to make sure everyone knows where the exits are.

If there is another side to this story, please someone let me know.

I stopped running the weekly "Weird Connecticut" posts a little while ago, but this has inspired me to pick it up again.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Follow-up on Eminent Domain case

Interview here with the attorney who represented the homeowners in Kelo v. New London. I like the reference to the New London Tea Party!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Christian Music Rolling into Connecticut this Weekend

The press knows we're a "blue state," so it's a little curious to some of them perhaps that we will be hosting a major Christian event in Bridgeport this Saturday, the Rock the Sound concert. New York City public radio has this interesting bit about Contemporary Christian Music , including a sympathetic (non-slamming) interview with author Mark Joseph and Rock the Sound organizer Joel Stier, who is bringing Rock the Sound concert into Bridgeport. You will find it very interesting and worth your time to listen to this interview.

Federal law to attack Connecticut property decision?

Looks like the House of Representatives is getting ready to pass a law punishing governments which take private property for economic uses. A number of State legislatures have already reacted to the case of Kelo vs. City of New London, in which New London took people's homes for a development, including a marina.