Scripture Reading: James 4:13–14
Key Verse: Proverbs 27:1
Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.
The older we grow, the more security conscious we become. The prospects of putting kids through college and providing for retirement, savings, and investments take on disproportionate significance.
In reality, however, our sense of well-being is never assured. Economic collapse, sickness, political or environmental fluctuations, or any number of unknown factors could seriously jeopardize our best-laid plans.
That is possible at any stage of life. That is the disquieting point of Proverbs 27:1: “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.”
Our only genuine security lies in our relationship with Jesus Christ. That is universally applicable because God is sovereign, which means that God is in control. He “guides and governs all events, circumstances, and free acts of angels and men and directs everything to its appointed goal for His own glory” (The New Bible Dictionary). Your security lies in His power to work everything for your good and His glory.
That is also eternally relevant because God is immutable. That means God is always the same and operates on unchanging principles.
Almighty God, I praise You that every detail of my life is directed by Your sovereign hand. I rest in the assurance that You govern each event and circumstance. I am secure in the knowledge that Your power weaves the dark and rough threads of life into a pattern for my good and Your glory.
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Courage and Godspeed,
Isaiah’s call to be a prophet was a traumatic experience. In his vision of the divine throne room, he saw angels hide their faces and heard them cry out, “Holy, holy, holy!” In that moment, he understood that God is holy and he was not, and he trembled in awe and terror.
The Israelites should have been trembling, too. They had become prideful, selfish, and idolatrous, a far cry from the righteousness the holy God demands. So God sent Isaiah on a dreadful mission: Isaiah would prophesy God’s wrath, but the people would not listen. Instead, they would be hardened for the coming judgment.
Yet there remained a glimmer of hope in Isaiah’s prophecies, for he saw far beyond the imminent war and exile to the future promise of redemption.
In today’s message from his video teaching series Dust to Glory, R.C. Sproul takes an in-depth look at these prophecies and explains why the church has long treasured them. In Isaiah, we find staggering predictions about the Messiah who will bear the sins of His people and redeem them—filling the earth with God’s glory much like His throne room in heaven.
Watch today’s message
Scripture reading: Matthew 11:28–30
Key verse: Psalm 116:7
Return to your rest, O my soul,
For the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.
It marked a turning point in Jesus’ ministry. He preached to great crowds, His words convicting and startling. He healed many, to their wonder and amazement. Yet up to that point, only the disciples had experienced personal intimacy with the Savior. Following a stinging rebuke to those who refused His message, Jesus issued a compassionate invitation: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).
“I’m here,” Jesus in essence said to His listeners, “to lift the burdens of life from your shoulders. I’ll take them on Me if you will let Me.”
If you are oppressed and bent under the accumulation of too many demands and concerns, Jesus stands ready to lighten your load. If you are exhausted from juggling bills, kids, work, and other pressing problems, Jesus can restore your weary spirit.
He invites you to come to Him. There are no strings attached, no restrictions, no fine print. He won’t condemn you for past failures. His arms are open wide to take you as you are and give you the help you need.
What a relief! What a Savior! Accept His personal invitation, and get out of the pressure cooker and into His rest. In the shadow of His wings you will find unconditional love and acceptance. Whatever you are facing, let the Savior face it with you.
I accept Your invitation, Lord. I enter into Your rest and hide myself in the shadow of Your wings.
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In Part I of our series we discussed the Clinton Foundation and the donations to the Foundation from the COB (Martin L. Edelman) and CEO (Mati Kochavi) of AGT International as well as from Sheikhs in the UAE. These donations in the millions of dollars were for favors from the Clintons, in return the Clintons helped promote AGT.
In Part II of our series we discussed the illegal actions that AGT International took to generate revenues around the globe. Highly sensitive US defense technology and ITAR classified products were provided to China, Russia and other countries in the name of sales growth. These actions were beyond criminal, they were treasonous.
(Below is an AGT article about its premier defense software from its company 4D Security Solutions.)
In Part III of our series we discussed the investigation that the FBI/DOJ started into AGT and the Clinton Foundation but then terminated and covered up before the 2016 Presidential election despite irrefutable crimes!
In Part IV of our series we discussed the activities by individuals associated with AGT in obtaining entrance to a highly sensitive US Intel facility circumventing the controls in place that prevent illegal entries to the facility.
In Part V of our series we discussed the efforts by AGT to obtain top secret US Intel for the sole purpose of selling to the Russians. AGT personnel used the information as a means to entice sales from US adversaries. AGT offered Russians the ability to conduct counter-Intel operations (e.g. cell phone intercepts, object and vehicle tracking, etc.). All of this information provided to the Russians was highly classified and never should have been placed in their hands. This information was provided by AGT senior managers like Gadi Lenz, a US national who also held a key executive position at the US based defense contractor 4D Security Solutions.
The image below shows an AGT C4I system deployed in Liaoyuan China. The system among other things was designed to automatically track and create a detailed pattern of motion of vehicles belonging to western embassies.
In Part VI of our series we showed the shady efforts AGT took to obtain contracts in the US and abroad. AGT utilized its COB (Martin Edelman) and the Clintons to gain access to highly placed Law Enforcement Agents (LEA’s) and former Federal and political figures in in the US and used bribes around the world to initiate contracts.
In Part VII of our series we provided evidence that AGT hid its employees identities in the US market by using aliases for all its employees at 3i-MIND.
AGT management sent an email to the employees at 3i-MIND and noted that “since the blog will be used in the US as well, we are and we will not be allowed identifying ourselves using our real names.” This poorly written comment provides evidence that the company encouraged its employees to hide their identities in the US.
Today in Part VIII of our series we’ll provide evidence that AGT assisted a group of Chinese citizens to inconspicuously enter the US without properly identifying their purpose, which was to obtain highly sensitive and classified US Homeland security information and devices.
On June 5, 2012, AGT announced in its company newsletter that it had just signed an agreement in Guangzhou, China, with a group of Chinese and Singapore individuals to implement its highly classified and sophisticated ‘safe city’ system in the world’s largest metropolitan area.
A month later the top leadership at AGT discussed a visit to NYT by a group of Chinese individuals to the AGT location in New York City on Park Avenue.
There is no way the individuals from China would have been allowed into the US to obtain information on the company’s ITAR regulated product called ‘Wisdom’ which was renamed around the world as an alias such as ‘Safe City’, if US authorities knew the product was being provided to the Chinese. Therefore it is also very probable that these individuals coming to the US were somehow allowed into the US on a visa that mischaracterized their visit purpose. These individuals also were then moved to the AGT Headquarters on some sort of underhanded move unbeknownst to law enforcement authorities.
The individual who set up the meeting with top executives at AGT was Rami Kirshblum –
Then in December 2012 a group of Chinese individuals visited the AGT location in the Netherlands and this was promoted through the company’s newsletter –
This company was so corrupt it had to be involved with the Clinton Foundation!
I want to recommend to everyone a famous book about how socialism leads to mass murder by government. The book is written by Nobel prize winner F. A. Hayek. This is one of my favorite books on economics. The full PDF of the book is available for download on archive.org.
The audio version is available FOR FREE on YouTube:
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In 2015, James MacDonald went on a worldwide missions trip that was so stressful, he needed a safari in South Africa to help him recover from it. At least, that’s what MacDonald, the recently-fired founder of Harvest Bible Chapel, claimed to justify the church paying for the safari for him and two others, according to his bodyguard at the time, Jacob Ross.
But that’s not all.
In a letter Ross submitted to Harvest leadership in late January and was recently leaked to me, Ross writes that MacDonald wasn’t satisfied with his initial budget of $5,000 for the safari. “James decided he wanted to shoot a high value animal,” Ross writes, “a sable to be specific, which cost $15,000 to $20,000.”
So, Ross writes that MacDonald called Fred Adams, former Harvest CFO, and got him to wire additional money from the church to the safari company, “citing his stress from the trip and need for a relaxing vacation doing something he enjoyed.”
“’James decided he wanted to shoot a high value animal . . . a sable to be specific, which cost $15,000 to $20,000.’ So, Ross writes that MacDonald called Fred Adams, former Harvest CFO, and got him to wire additional money from the church.”
Ross also writes that on the same missions trip, Harvest paid for a three- to four-day stay at a resort in the Dominican Republic for MacDonald, Ross, and Harvest Executive Pastor Jeff Donaldson. (Both Donaldson and Ross had also joined MacDonald on the safari.)
Not only did Harvest pay for the three men, Ross wrote, the church also paid for their wives to fly out and join them. “Again, James justified this expense as the result of the extreme stress he was under on the trip.”
These are just two of numerous incidents in Ross’ letter, showing that MacDonald lived large on the church’s dime. Plus, Ross is not the only former Harvest employee alleging these things. A letter by another former employee alleges that while Harvest was imposing “austerity measures” like removing the coffee and water dispensers, MacDonald was remodeling his office for $150,000 and authorizing a $40,000 fence for a whitetail trophy deer herd at Camp Harvest.
These expenditures were in addition to MacDonald’s salary, which the church continues to keep private. However, Dave Corning, a founding elder who chaired the elder board for 21 years, told me that in 2009, MacDonald was making a combined $550,000 from both the church and Walk in the Word, MacDonald’s broadcast ministry.
Ross’ letter was one of six letters by former and present staff that were presented to Harvest elders about five weeks ago, according to Elder Dan George and former Elder Mike Dunwoody.
These letters are devastating, documenting scores of incidents where MacDonald mocked, threatened, and belittled staff, contractors, and other Christian leaders; lied and reneged on promises; raged at those around him; and prospered financially at the church’s expense. I reached out to the church and MacDonald for comment about these letters, but they did not respond.
“Dunwoody and George said when the elder board met on February 5th, Harvest Assistant Senior Pastor Rick Donald . . . adamantly opposed releasing the letters. So they were withheld.”
I have read all six of the letters, though only five were given to me to publish. I am releasing information today from two of them, which relate to finances—Ross’ letter and a letter by Dean Butters, former executive director of business operations at Harvest. Both Ross and Butters authenticated their letters with me but declined to comment due to non-disclosure agreements.
Dunwoody and George said these six letters were key in the board’s decision to fire MacDonald. (The final straw was MacDonald’s vile recorded comments that were aired on Mancow Muller’s Chicago radio show.)
But Dunwoody and George added that the full board almost didn’t get to see the letters. They said most of the letters initially were sent to Campus Pastor Greg Bradshaw, who had been asked by the board to review the letters with three other elders. Dunwoody and George said when the elder board met on February 5th, Harvest Assistant Senior Pastor Rick Donald, who was on the board at the time but has since stepped down, adamantly opposed releasing the letters. So they were withheld. I reached out to Donald for comment, but he did not respond.
Then on February 6th, George said he and several elders met with MacDonald at Harvest’s Elgin campus. And at that meeting, George said MacDonald argued that the letters should go to Crossroads Resolution Group, the company Harvest had hired to manage their “reconciliation process” with aggrieved parties. George said Donald and Elder Steve Huston, who chaired the elder executive committee before it was dissolved, argued strongly in favor of MacDonald’s suggestion.
However, George said he was able to obtain all the letters independently soon after that meeting. He then distributed the letters to other elders—the last of them going to elders on February 12th, the same day MacDonald was fired.
Like Ross, Butters’ letter documents numerous incidents where MacDonald spent the church’s money to support his lavish lifestyle. And apparently, MacDonald’s African safari was not an isolated incident. Butters writes that MacDonald “led various hunting trips throughout the U.S. and Africa for his friends and couched them as a business expense.”
Butters also said that when MacDonald moved from his Inverness home to his Elgin home, the church paid $50,000 to move and store his personal possessions. Butters added that MacDonald also donated a broken hot tub to the church that cost more to fix than to replace. Yet according to Butters, MacDonald took an $8,000 tax write-off for the donation.
Butters letter also reveals that MacDonald and other executives at Harvest were given bonuses when the church hit certain “revenue target(s).” He adds that one year, someone manipulated the books, attributing income from Camp Harvest to the general fund so church executives would qualify for bonuses.
Butters also writes that MacDonald:
Bought more than $500 in cigars with church funds
Tipped a waitress $400 with church funds
Spent more than $50,000 of church money on his camp site the first year of “Act Like Men Palooza.”
Demanded that fiber optic cable be installed at Camp Harvest so the internet service would be faster, costing $20,000 per month on a three-year contract.
Demanded that the church pay to repair his truck after he scraped and dented it on one of the columns in the Elgin church parking garage, blaming security for “setting the cones up wrong.”
Demanded that his office be remodeled in 2013 for about $150,000, while all senior and middle management, and their direct reports, took a 10-percent pay cut. The church had also removed coffee/water for employees as “austerity measures” due to low giving. (Ross also writes about the remodel, noting that many expenses “exceeded reasonable,” including Ross’ “custom built in hardwood desk that cost several thousand dollars.”)
During the same time period, the church bought fencing for the new deer herd at Camp Harvest for over $40,000.
It’s not clear how the church justified paying for MacDonald’s lavish personal expenses, or how these expenses were budgeted. I sent emails this week to the elder board, as well as Harvest CFO Jeff Sharda, but no one responded.
However, as I reported earlier in WORLD Magazine, two former Harvest executives said the church hid about 20-percent of its budget from all but top church staffers and the executive committee (EC). Both said this so-called “black budget” was controlled by Fred Adams.
Also, this week, Bill Sperling—a former member of the EC and a current elder and church treasurer—gave some insight to MacDonald’s spending at a question and answer meeting. According to Sperling, the church maintained an “executive checkbook” that amounted to one-percent of the annual income of the church—about $250,000. Sperling admitted that this “checkbook” was “too liberal” and “not dotting i’s and crossing t’s.” He added that members of the former executive committee knew about this checkbook, as well as the auditors. (Capin Crouse conducts annual audits of Harvest.)
“According to Sperling, the church maintained an ‘executive checkbook’ that amounted to one-percent of the annual income of the church—about $250,000. . . . He added that members of the former executive committee knew about this checkbook, as well as the auditors.”
Four of the five members of the former executive committee remain on Harvest’s elder board. They are Bill Sperling, Steve Huston, Jeff Smith, and Sam Booras. Former EC member Ron Duitsman resigned in February.
Sperling’s account seems consistent with what Ross wrote in his letter. Ross said that MacDonald had a church credit card “that was given outside of normal church protocol—set up directly through Fred (Adams).” Ross said he and MacDonald’s former assistant, Chiquita Brown, were also issued credit cards tied to that account.
Ross said he was instructed to put “anything related to James on James’ card.” At the end of each month, Ross said he would give the card statements directly to Adams with descriptions of each charge. Ross said these monthly charges were “regularly in excess of $10,000,” and occasionally as high as “$20,000 to over $30,000.”
Ross said in 2015, MacDonald instructed him to book a vacation at a resort in Naples, Florida, for MacDonald and his wife, Kathy, and to charge it to his church-issued credit card. Ross said MacDonald authorized him to spend “whatever was necessary.” Ross added, “(MacDonald) told me he’d call Fred and his friends on the elder board to justify the expense as necessary due to the tough year he had and the toll it took on him.” Ross said the vacation cost more than $20,000.
According to Rusty Leonard of the watchdog group, Ministry Watch, using church funds for personal use normally qualifies as embezzlement. However, if MacDonald’s spending was approved by the executive committee, it’s not legally embezzlement because the board gave MacDonald the cover he needed to take the money.
However, Leonard said he suspects the IRS might view some of MacDonald’s expenditures as income. So, if MacDonald didn’t pay tax on that income, it could be considered tax evasion.
Ross said he left his position after continued berating by MacDonald, calling him “stupid,” “incompetent,” “worthless,” and “of no use to him,” proved too much. Ross said he remained silent until now because of a mixture of fear and a desire to not “harm my church.”
He said he finally broke his silence because he believed the vast majority of staff, elders, and members of Harvest are “not privy to many of the situations” he highlighted in his letter. Ross added, “Those who are seeking to make the correct decision regarding the future of Harvest Bible Chapel simply can’t without the correct information.”
Similarly, Butters writes that he left the church because his “ability to continue believing the best about (the leaders over him) diminished.” He added that the “things I was seeing with my eyes, hearing with my ears, and feeling in my soul became more convincing than the narrative that was continually being spun.”
Butters said he wrote his letter “with the hope that it will help to prevent others from being spiritually manipulated and brutalized by James MacDonald and others at Harvest Bible Chapel who carry out his commands.”