Sunday, April 27, 2008

Revival Breaking Out Across America

If you're not tuned into GodTV or one of the major prophetic ministries in America you might have missed the news. Revival - real healing and spiritual revival - is breaking out all across America right now.

Rick Joyner of MorningStar Church in Charlotte, NC (technically Fort Mill, SC) received a word from the Lord which prompted a conference called Honoring the Fathers earlier last quarter. The word was that if we would honor the spiritual fathers who came in previous generations, the Lord would pour out an unparalleled revival across the nation.

In early April, a Canadian evangelist and prophetic healing minister named Todd Bentley went to Lakeland, FL to minister there at a church called Ignited Church. During their meetings the Lord powerfully visited the church and miracles of healing and deliverance became common.

Bentley and Ignited Church continued the meetings on through April. On Monday of this week, April 21, GodTV started carrying the revival meetings live on the television channel via satellite uplink.

Along the way, word spread through the evangelical and prophetic communities about the revival happening in Lakeland and many visited it with the intent of bringing it back to their own home towns.

One of the places where it has broken out is in MorningStar Church in Charlotte where Joyner had held the Honoring the Father's Conference. It started this past Monday in quite an unusual way.

MorningStar's CSCL (K-12 Christian Private School) had 2 students who had been down to Lakeland, FL to Bentley's meetings. During a religion class, they gathered on one side of the room and started praying. What precipitated throughout the day was a full-scale revival in the school. Class was canceled and everyone moved into worship and release down in the conference center on-site.

Here is a video from that day:

Throughout the week, every day has seen a bigger and bigger annointing, presence and glory of the Lord building in the facilities and meetings. 250 people showed up on Wednesday night for a spontaneous worship event... 450 people showed up on Thursday for a youth service. And Friday night's School of the Spirit service was packed.

MorningStar's leadership has committed to continue the breakthrough meetings right into next week's Business in the Kingdom Conference. The services are available through their webstream and I highly recommend tuning in.

Now is the time for revival in our nation. The economy is tanking. We're in a crisis of real leadership. And husbands and wives across the country find themselves faced with challenging financial and personal decisions thanks to the credit woes, bad choices in a booming economy and a tightening in the employment sector.

If you need a miracle, need your faith rebuilt, or just want to see the Lord moving like this generation has never seen, get to one of these meetings. MorningStar will be chronicling its holy spirit breakout on the web here - Holy Spirit Breakout. Bentley's Fresh Fire ministry chronicles the Lakeland events here on their blog.

This is truly a revolutionary time for revival. We are sitting in the middle of a fire beginning to burn across our nation... and it will be the first move ever chronicled live on the web, broadcast around the world and documented fully on film and by media.

My personal thanks go out to the Media and Audio-Visual Teams at Fresh Fire, Ignited, MorningStar, GodTV and every other ministry experiencing this outpouring. These guys behind the scenes are making it possible for people all around the world to participate in, receive miracles and transfer the outpouring to their own towns and areas.

In one month, the Lord has used multimedia to shrink time and space. An omnipresent and omniscient God just needs us to connect with Him. And He can build all the connections we need - whether they're via satellite, TV, internet streaming, someone laying on physical hands or being in a meeting.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Why I stopped watching Oprah... And won't vote for Obama

Almost 6 years ago, I stopped watching Oprah. My spirit detected a change in her that completely turned me off. I couldn't stand to even pass by her on the TV. Fast forward 6 years... the reality of Oprah's real beliefs is being seen in her fruits. She has become what amounts to the Queen of the New Age Movement.

I am a democrat. A conservative, religious democrat. Yes, I'm aware of the contradictions in that statement but they are no more contradictory than "compassionate conservatism" espoused by the radical Replican left.

It appears that Obama worships at the Temple of Oprah. Just as he would not condemn the character of his own pastor who spewed racially charged pseudo-doctrine, hate and malcontent from the pulpit for over 20 years, you will not see Obama condemn Oprah for her New Age pseudo-religio babble.

Watch for yourself... hear in her own words. Then carefully consider the people she supports and the people who support her.

The Church of Oprah Exposed. Consider yourselves warned.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

When $1 stands between you and a customer

Over the past two weeks, I have watched a large national communications carrier - who shall remain nameless to protect the guilty... for now - fall all over itself within its order processing and legal groups.

Those of you who know and and know the frequency with which I touch telecommunications contracts can safely assume it's not the first time I have seen it happen. And it certainly won't be the last.

In this particular instance, however, the idiocy of the processes and people involved traveled to new stratospheric heights. So high, I'm surprised the oxygen masks didn't deploy.

What did they do? They refused to process an order because it was $1 (yes, 1 dollar) short of the revenue required to be able to send the customer a bill. Somewhere along the way, some corporate idiotog implemented a process whereby only customers billing $200 or more per month are entitled to invoice billing. And they did so in a way that completely eliminated all flexibility, sense and reason of the part of their provisioning staff.

My client had ordered services totaling $199 - which with tax would be well in excess of $200. (To the tune of ~$214 per month.) But... Thanks to the idiostratespheric policy in place, the legal department of said carrier refused said order because the billing amount was under $200. That's right, they outright denied an order because it was, on paper, $1 too small an order to qualify for invoice billing.

I'm all for processes and procedures... until they cause a company who is struggling in the marketplace to lose a new customer over $1 in revenue.

When did the telecommunications world - especially the CLEC world - grow so stupid that it would willingly turn down a paying customer who would generate profit for the company? We're not talking about $25/mo DSL service here with no margins. This is real business service with real margins.

Maybe somewhere along the way I missed the class all these MBA graduates apparently take on "How to screw your customer and trash your business' reputation."

In this particular case, I was able to have a "come to Jesus" meeting with all of the management involved and force them to fix their flawed policy.

What's unfair however is the fact that most normal customers wouldn't have had ready access to all the decision makers required to fix the problem. Instead, they would simply have been steamrolled by an inflexible policy, stupid management and a company who refuses to admit it's so screwed up someone needs to hit the "reboot" button and start all over. Somewhere along the way, this CLEC forgot who it was and has, as such, forsaken its customers.

We are in an economic downturn. All the CLECs had better be listening: LEARN TO LOVE YOUR CUSTOMERS AGAIN! Those who fail to heed the message will find themselves sitting in bankruptcy liquidation or being sold off to some vulture capital firm who will milk as much money out as possible and then close down the company.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

BusinessWeek ViewPoint: There Is No Gas Shortage

But Washington, Wall Street, and ethanol and oil and gas companies want you to think there is, says automotive expert Ed Wallace

"They see speculation in the market, I see decline in global inventories. I don't think this is a big surprise, that we've had a jump in price when there has been a decrease in crude inventories."— Energy Secretary Sam Bodman, Bloomberg News, Mar. 5, 2008

"It should be obvious to you all that the [gasoline] demand is outstripping supply, which causes prices to go up." — President George W. Bush, Associated Press, Mar. 5, 2008

One wonders if verifiable facts ever get in the way of this administration's statements on issues that are critical to the average American's wellbeing. After all, last time I checked, when politicians are elected to public office, or appointed, as is Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman, they must take an oath to the American people before assuming their new positions. How can they forget a sacred oath so quickly? Were they daydreaming when they took it, so it never meant anything to begin with? Maybe it's just another promise you have to make to get into office: When you're securely incumbent you can ignore even solemn oaths you took.

Obviously, the two quotes that led this article came from discussions concerning the current high price for oil on the futures market. Bodman appears to be protecting the speculators in oil, as opposed to looking after the interests of all Americans. President Bush, apparently, has never talked to the Energy Dept.'s Energy Information Agency to see whether gasoline demand is actually up. More troubling, the writer of that particular Associated Press article obviously didn't look up the EIA's numbers to verify the President's assertions. They weren't accurate.

1. There Is No Shortage

Gasoline reserves on hand are at the highest levels since the early 1990s, which is remarkable considering the nation's refineries have been cutting back on the production of gasoline because their margins have declined. In fact, average gasoline reserves on hand have risen since this past October, while oil reserves in this country have gone up virtually every week this year—and only fog in the Houston Ship Channel that kept oil tankers from unloading their crude one week kept it from being every week.

In the same Bloomberg article that quotes from Bodman's CNBC appearance on Mar. 4, he also said that it was thanks to ethanol that the gasoline problem isn't even worse. He then added that the fact that making ethanol is forcing up prices of other farm commodities, including hog and chicken feed, is "nowhere near as important as trying to relieve pressure on [gasoline] supplies."

Of course, there is no pressure on gasoline supplies in this country as of today, but Bodman's statement must have made eyes roll among the executives at Pilgrim's Pride PPC; the Pittsburg, (Tex.) poultry producer announced 1,100 layoffs on Mar. 13, closing one processing plant and 6 of their 13 distribution centers because their company's outlay for chicken feed went up $600 million last fiscal year and was on track to increase by another $700 million this year.

Here's the scorecard, in case you missed it. There's no shortage of gasoline or oil in the U.S. today, and we have near-record reserves on hand. Meanwhile the Congressional mandate for ethanol has jacked up the price of chicken feed for Pilgrim's Pride, which is the U.S.'s largest processor of chickens and turkeys—by $1.3 billion. And that's for just one company processing chicken. This is what passes for acceptable to our Energy Secretary?

2. Demand Is DOWN, Yet Prices Are UP

Just so we can all get on the same page, here are the verifiable facts on oil supplies, production, and gasoline demand.

In January of this year, the U.S. used 4% less petroleum than we did a year ago. (Oil demand was down 3.2% in February.) Furthermore, demand has been falling slowly since July of last year. Ronald Bailey of Reason Online has pointed out that worldwide production of oil has risen 2.5% in the first quarter, while worldwide demand has grown by only 2%. Production is expected to increase by 3.3% in the second quarter, and by as much as 4.1% by the third quarter. The net result is that the U.S. daily buffer for oil production against demand, which was a paltry 1.5 million barrels as recently as 2005, is now up to 3 million barrels in excess capacity today.

So what is going on here? Why would our Energy Secretary say there's a supply and demand problem when none exists? Why would he say that speculators have little or nothing to do with the incredibly high price of oil and gasoline, when it's clear they do? President Bush—a former oilman—gives the ever-growing demand for gasoline as the primary reason prices are so high, yet that notion can be dispelled with one minute of research. That's the problem with rhetoric; it rarely matches the facts.

3. Speculation is Up, and the Dollar Is Down

On the same day the President and our Energy Secretary made those foolish comments, no less an authority than ExxonMobil (XOM) Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson was quoted by Marketwatch as saying, "The record run in oil prices is related more to speculation and a weakening dollar than supply and demand in the market." He added, "In terms of fundamentals, fear of supply reliability is overblown."

As for the speculators, in 2000 approximately $9 billion was invested in oil futures, while today that number has gone up to $250 billion. Now, if any publicly traded company had an additional $241 billion put into its stock in the same period, its stock would rise out of sight too—even if the company was not worth anywhere near that amount of market capitalization.

Moving on to the weak U.S. dollar as a primary cause for skyrocketing oil prices—there is "some" truth in that statement. But consider this: The dollar has depreciated 30% against the world's currencies since 2002, while the price of oil has gone up 500%. So is it the weak dollar that has caused a 500% increase in the price of oil, or is it the extra $241 billion worth of speculation? You can make the call on that one.

Possibly just to ensure oil prices don't respond to real-world market conditions, Goldman Sachs (GS) forecast on Mar. 7 that turbulence in the oil market could cause oil to spike as high as $200 a barrel. This flies in the face of all known information—but then again, Goldman Sachs is the world's biggest trader of energy derivatives, and its Goldman Sachs Commodities Index is a widely watched barometer of energy and commodities prices.

What Is Washington Thinking?

Rounding out the list of experts discussing our oil and gasoline situation is Bill Klesse, head of San Antonio (Tex.) Valero Energy (VLO). He spoke in San Diego a week after those comments from Goldman Sachs, the President, and Secretary Bodman. Believe it or not, Klesse said poor margins may cause Valero to sell one-third of its refinery operations; he stated that poor margins in recent months had caused planned refinery expansions—which would have produced 500,000 more barrels per day—to be canceled. Moreover, according to a report from Reuters on Mar. 11, 2008, Klesse recently released the information that gasoline production has been curtailed in response to slowing demand.

Imagine that: Refiners cut gasoline production, yet gasoline reserves have grown to their largest since late 1992. So much for "surging demand."

Klesse also called for the government to start imposing a tariff on imported gasoline to protect U.S. refiners' profits. Protectionism? As famed economist John Kenneth Galbraith correctly said, "In America, the only respectable form of socialism is socialism for the rich."

Which takes us back to the original question: Why is Washington doing everything it can to convince us there is a shortage when there isn't one? After all, the only people they're protecting are those heavily invested in oil futures—and that's to the detriment of all other Americans.

We're Paying for What?

When it became undeniable that poor decision-making by company executives had put a respected 85-year-old U.S. institution in financial peril, why did the Federal Reserve rush in to save investment bank Bear Stearns (BSC)? Of course, we need to restore confidence in our financial institutions, but why protect the personal assets of those who were responsible for the mess? Both the corporation's officers and its board members should contribute their personal assets toward saving the bank they put in the ditch—the bank all of us are going to pay to bail out.

Instead, the Bush administration is protecting those responsible for creating yet another speculative bubble in oil futures, and is protecting investors in the ethanol industry—much to the detriment of food-processing companies such as Pilgrim's Pride. And the net result of all this is that the prices of crude and gasoline rise ever higher thanks to a "shortage" that does not exist, while food costs are soaring thanks in part to the ethanol mandate.

The Federal Reserve lowers interest rates, but the cost of mortgages goes up six weeks in a row—and last month Bank of America (BAC) credit-card holders started being charged more than 24% interest on new purchases.

This is what they call "Republican Prosperity?" Ronald Reagan was both right and wrong when he said, "Government is not the solution, government is the problem." And government is still the problem. Instead of a fair and open market they gave us a free-for-all marketplace with no regulations at all, which lately these "bubble boys" have sent south for all of us.

One would guess that Washington missed the obvious: Protect all U.S. consumers and you're also protecting business expansion.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Solidarity. Pantone solidarity: T-Mobile Threatens Engadget For Use Of Magenta

No it's not an April Fool's joke. T-Mobile has decided to give well known techno-blog Engadget the riot act because they're using the color magenta for the phone related reviews.

Maybe I should give T-Mobile the riot act for using magenta since I was using magenta in my personal business logo 10 years before T-Mobile became an international company! Magenta, purple and lime green no less. So I definitely have first use rights on them... and I have the real USPTO copyright on my logo so they can't claim ignorant.

I mean "P" sounds like "T" after all. I think that's confusing to people. They might mistake T-Mobile for me.

Mean while, Engadget has released a helpful comparison chart for those who might become confused by the similarities between Engadget and T-Mobile.

So fellow bloggers out there, if you'd like to help take a stand against oppressive lawyers who are simply being asshats, Ryan Block posted a solidarity glyph that you can use on your own website. Feel free to snag it below or on his website.

No company should be able to trademark a color. Maybe the use of a color in a certain logo. Definitely not the color as it relates to a specific topic, broad concept or business segment. Colors are simply expressions of wavelengths of light. God created them all. HE holds the sole patents and trademarks on them then you very much. Who do these crazy lawyers think they're going to sue next? Prisms and the sun? The nerve.