Michael Snyder hopes new PTL Television Network show will inspire people in last days

In the past 10 years, Michael Snyder has risen from relative anonymity to economic authority.

He was an unheralded lawyer living in Washington who felt that God had more in store for him, so he started “The Economic Collapse Blog” and began writing about the economy and current events. He believes God has blessed his writing and allowed the blog to continue growing, and says it now receives more than 1 million pageviews a month. He’s become a regular guest on The Jim Bakker Show for all things economy, and frequently weighs in on current financial events.

Beginning today, however, our viewers have the chance to hear a lot more of Snyder’s keen analysis. He and his wife, Meranda, have launched a new show on The PTL Television Network.

“The Watch: With Michael and Meranda Snyder” will focus on Biblical prophecies and living in the last days, with a markedly more spiritual tone than his blog. Don’t worry, though. Snyder still expects to deliver the same news and analysis that people have come to expect from him.

Snyder recently sat down with The Jim Bakker Show news team to discuss his goals for the show, how it all came together and the importance of faith and hope in the end times.

The first part of his Q&A appears below.

Q: You and your wife have a new show on the PTL Television Network. Can you talk about how that came together and what you have planned for your viewers?

A: Yeah, it’s called “The Watch: With Michael and Meranda Snyder.” For a long time, my wife and I had been wanting to do some more with video. I’d made some YouTube videos years ago, which actually got a lot of views, but I kind of got away from it because I’m so focused on our websites and what we’re doing. I’ve been writing a new book, which is coming out very shortly. But it had been on our heart to do something more with video because you can reach so many people through video. We just kind of let it sit because we were so busy.

But then, Pastor Jim (Bakker) was really fired up about the idea of getting us on PTL Network and my information. I thought that was a really good idea and I was so honored that he wanted to do that, and I immediately thought I should get my wife involved in this. We have these great discussions all the time, why not share them with the world? And we’re doing this new show.

It’s going to be a lot more focused on Bible prophecy and the last days and things like that. Now, it’s still going to be very heavy news and information — the kind of stuff that people are used to getting on “The Economic Collapse Blog” and our other websites. It’s going to be more directly focused toward a Christian audience and more directly on spiritual things. And it’s going to be a way for us to speak directly and communicate directly to the people. I think this is such a critical time, as I believe that things are going to start moving a lot more rapidly as this year moves along and moving forward. This will be a way to have a voice to speak to people.

We’ve got kind of two halves to our message. One is a warning about what’s coming. To be a watchman on the wall and to tell people this is what we’re moving into. But, also, a message of hope. Because when things go crazy, people are going to be freaking out. They’re going to be giving into depression, despair. Some people are going to be angry and upset. But people are going to be looking for a rock in the storm. We want to deliver a message of hope. That people can get through what’s coming, that there is hope, that God is in control, He has a plan, and for people to understand what God is doing even in the midst of this.

My wife and I believe the greatest chapters of our lives are still ahead of us. We believe the greatest harvest of souls the world has ever seen is coming. The greatest move of God. And that God is going to do some absolutely unprecedented things. But we don’t believe that is necessarily going to be through man-made organizations. In fact, we think much of the institutional churches are in great danger of missing what God is going to be doing in these last days. Because they’re not proclaiming the warning message. They don’t want to hear about what’s coming. They don’t want to upset people. They don’t want to offend people. The watered-down, lukewarm religion that we call evangelical Christianity — that’s not going to make it in the times that are coming.

God is raising up a remnant. Yeah, there are some churches that are doing a great job. But, to a large degree, it’s happening outside of the institutional church. You’ve got home groups, you’ve got little fellowships here and there. You’ve got people scattered around the country. And God is doing extraordinary things, but it’s not within the confines of the denominations or organizations that man has created. And that’s a shame. I hope that they’ll wake up and be part of what God is moving, but like so many times throughout history, a lot of times tradition sets in, man-made religion sets in and God has to kind of do an end run around that. And it appears that’s what is happening now.

Q: The tagline on your blog is “Are you prepared for the coming economic collapse and the next Great Depression?” Obviously, there are some Bible verses that suggest economic troubles in the last days. For example, wheat gets very expensive. Are there any specific other scriptures that indicate, to you, that an economic collapse is an element of the last days? Any that really stick with you?

A: You mention the seals in Revelation where the food becomes so expensive, that’s reference to it there. But I actually believe, and this is a little different than some people, but I believe that America is going to fall before we even get to the Great Tribulation.

What’s coming to America, economic collapse is only a part of it. Now, “The Economic Collapse Blog” focuses a lot on the economic aspect of things, but in addition to economic collapse I believe that we’re going to see governmental shakings, civil unrest. Basically, society melting down. I believe at the same time, (we will see) natural disasters on a level that we haven’t seen since the days of Noah and plagues and outbreaks. Basically, so many things coming at us from hundreds of different directions.

It’s kind of what John Paul Jackson described when he described the perfect storm. I believe we’re coming to those days, and ultimately war is coming to America. And I believe America is going to fall, and that will set the stage for the rise of the 10-horned, one-world government and subsequently the antichrist to come on the scene. So, that’s a different perspective than a lot of people.

In my opinion, we’re going to be here a little bit longer than a lot of people believe. So this economic collapse, which has been happening for a long time — it’s not just something that’s future, but it has been happening, it’s happening right now, it continues to happen — is one element of this perfect storm that is arising.

Now, in terms of the fall of the United States and economic problems and all of these things I’ve described, there are dozens of men and women of God all over the United States — all over the world — that have seen these things coming to America in the last days. I believe God still speaks. Of course, there are false prophets out there, people who are just loosey-goosey, but there are also men and women of God who have track records, who have solid, who are proven. And when so many of them say the exact same thing, it’s not just one or two but you’ve got a multitude of voices all saying ‘This is coming to America.’ This is something I’ve studied over time. I’m a lawyer, I want to look at these things and study them in a systematic way. And when they all say that this is coming to America, well, economic collapse is one of those things that they have been given by God. That’s something that I take very seriously.

Now, when you look at the scripture, many Bible prophecy experts will agree that ‘Well, it looks like America is not the dominant player on the scene down the road.’ Because we’ve got the one-world government. We’ve got the antichrist. So something has to shift. Something has to change. Now, some people believe a U.S. president will be the antichrist or that America will be a big part of this one-world government. I take a differing view, based on the totality of what I’ve learned and researched and what these men and women of God have received over the years.

I believe America is going to completely fall, and it’s going to be dramatic. I believe the judgment of God has actually started, actually, but it’s going to get much, much worse. And what’s coming to America is going to be even worse than what most people imagine the great tribulation will be like. But it won’t be the tribulation.

Now, a lot of people will be saying it’s the tribulation. It will become very trendy to say ‘The tribulation has started!’ But, no, it won’t have started. It’s just the fall of America. And it’s going to be horrible. But after that comes the tribulation, I believe. So my perspective is a little bit different.

Q: You say that you want your new show to give people hope, and that God has a plan in the midst of all of these horrible things you feel will be happening. But it can be easy for people to get hung up on the idea of horrible things happening and lose hope. So, what do you say to those people, in order to give them that hope?

A: It is a challenge. But I felt, especially with my new book, God was saying ‘I want you to inspire people.’ I was like ‘Inspire them? I’m telling them that they’re going to have to go through the tribulation.’ Because not only do we have to go through the judgment on America, but then we’re going through the tribulation?

But in the midst of all the chaos and darkness, yeah, people are living for the pleasures of this world. Accumulating things, money, all these things, the standard of living we enjoy today. It’s going to be very traumatic for them. But if they’re living for the kingdom, if they’re living for winning souls, if they’re living for things that are eternal, the things that God says really matter? Well, the times ahead can be the greatest adventure that anyone ever dreamed.

Like I said, I believe we’re going to see the greatest harvest of souls the church has ever seen. So, in terms of bringing people into the kingdom. Because when the shaking comes, the purpose of the shaking is to turn people to God. And I believe that’s going to happen, tremendously.

So, if people want to live during the time of the Apostles, they want to bring in the multitudes and see the power of the Holy Spirit, signs, wonders, miracles, all of it, we’re truly going to be living in Biblical times. We look back through history and the greatest heroes that we admire rose during times of great crisis. It will be an opportunity for heroes to arise, to do great exploits, to do amazing things for God and truly love others, take care of others. To make a difference.

So many people may not feel like their daily lives are making a difference today. There’s going to be such (an opportunity) to make a difference. To stand up and to be the people that God created us to be.

I believe we’re going to write the end of the Book of Acts. We’re going to be the generation that finally gets things right, and we’re going to go through all these things that are written about in the Book of Revelation. And God’s going to make us into the kind of bride that his son deserves.

It’s going to be a very challenging time to be alive, but incredibly exciting too — if you value the things that are eternal and are in the kingdom of God.

***

Check back for Part 2 of this exclusive Q&A in the coming days. Snyder talks about the stock market, oil prices and recent economic events — and what they mean for you and your family.

Snyder also delivered the evening service at the 2016 Prophetic Conference on Thursday evening, and focused on the remnant he discussed in the Q&A. If you missed the event, it’s available on the 2016 Prophetic Conference DVD Set. The set also contains evening services delivered by Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, Joel Richardson and Hubie Synn, as well as all of The Jim Bakker Show tapings that were recorded during the conference.

Joel Richardson: Christians have a duty during global refugee crisis

Last December, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimated there were likely far more than 60 million displaced people living in the world. That record total included 20.2 million refugees, many of whom had fled violent conflicts and persecution in the Middle East.

The resulting crisis has become not just a humanitarian issue, but a political one as well. Countries, particularly in Europe, have been forced to decide how to handle the massive number of people looking to resettle within their borders, and any potential solution is often criticized.

Best-selling author and filmmaker Joel Richardson does not deny the situation is complex, or politically divisive, but he believes there are certain aspects of the crisis that should not be up for debate. Namely, he said Christians currently have “an endless opportunity to share the Gospel” with thousands of people searching for God — and they must capitalize on that opportunity.

“Whether we like the refugee crisis or not, it’s a crisis,” Richardson said. “The point is: Even if we’re opposed to it politically, that doesn’t excuse us from sharing the Gospel with them.”

Richardson visited Morningside this week to speak at the 2016 Prophetic Conference. Before giving his sermon, he sat down with The Jim Bakker Show news team to discuss his ministry work in the Middle East and Europe, the role of Christians in the refugee crisis and faith in the end times.

The first part of his Q&A appears below.

Q: Have you been to the Middle East recently, taken any trips over there? Or, do you have friends over there? What kind of things are you seeing on the ground?

A: The last time I was in Iraq was a year ago in Iraqi Kurdistan. I’ll be going back this year, but I’ve got very close friends and a few different ministries that we work with. One is called Frontier Alliance International, the other one is called The Refuge Project. They’re both up there in Kurdistan, northern Iraq, working with the refugees. I also have friends in the Balkans.

Q: Can you talk about that last ministry, antecessor.org, and its work in the Balkans?

A: You have as many as 10,000 migrants and refugees flowing through a day. They are doing the ministry of charging their cell phones and then asking them if they would like a free micro SD card that’s preloaded with the Bible in any potential language that they could need, as well as different Christian literature. They stick this little micro SD card in their phones, and we’ve just gotten the Bible into thousands of Muslims’ hands.

Q: What makes that kind of outreach important, particularly in today’s world?

A: What we’re primarily seeing in the news is all of the bad stuff with the refugees, and all of that is legitimate, but the truth is there is a chaotic nightmare of human catastrophe over there and as a result you have literally millions of people whose lives are in crisis, whose hearts are incredibly open, many of whom are actually quite turned off to Islam. What we’re kind of saying is we have to get them before they reject God entirely. They’re turning away from Islam, that’s good, but we want them to maintain a hunger for God. It’s just they’ve been brainwashed to think there are no other alternatives.

Q: There are millions of refugees in the world today. Not just in Europe, but in the Middle East as well. Many more are displaced. How can we help them?

A: There’s just an absolute, wide-open door, endless opportunity to share the Gospel. And in the midst of all of this preparing for all of the difficult times that are coming here, we have to be focused on saving as many as we can. Because it’s an opportunity. It’s like a wide-open opportunity. That’s a thing I always try to emphasize, because we can become a bit self-focused.

I kind of made the joke when I was here a couple times ago. I said ‘Look, I’m all for getting food and preparing, but I’m making a new rule.’ I hope I didn’t offend Jim or anybody, but I said ‘The new rule is this: For every hour that you spend preparing, for every dollar you spend on dehydrated food, make it a rule that you spend two dollars on evangelism and missions. For every hour you spend prepping, spend two hours sharing the Gospel.’ If you do that, you’ll be very balanced. But if you’re spending all of your time prepping, you can get into this sort of anxious, frenetic mode of panic and anxiety. We want to prepare out of wisdom, not out of fear.

Q: So what can the church here in America do for not just Christians, but people who possibly want to become Christians, overseas?

A: We have to empower the ministries that are there. Whether it’s the missionaries that are there or the native churches, the largest Arabic church in Northern Iraq is in Erbil, and to empower them and give them the resources so that they can become this hub for all of the need over there. Because, like I said, it’s a bottomless pit. People are searching, they’re looking for something. If there’s a church that has resources, literally by giving them money, food, whatever, that church becomes a resource hub and then it just opens the door for the Gospel in the process. It’s really just a matter of — and this is basically what I’m trying to do because I’m going over there — identifying and then networking the resources with those that are already there on the ground. I’m only in touch with a handful, but they know everybody that’s on the ground.

Q: Like you were talking about, sometimes something negative happens with migrants and that’s what gets covered. The New Year’s Eve assaults in Germany, for example. Now, Europe has been shutting down borders. Critics say some of the new proposals are immoral and possibly illegal. What’s your take on all of these new developments?

A: Here’s the thing. It’s a complete conundrum, because it doesn’t matter what your answer is. There are problems with it.

I think the Lord has sort of allowed this conundrum. There are literally hundreds of thousands of little kids, women who are in genuine crisis. People going over there with their families, fleeing the Taliban all the over way over to Afghanistan because radical Islam is exploding. And they’re fleeing. … We need to minister to them, period.

On the other hand, we need to be wise of serpents. What that means is up for debate. On the left, we get everybody saying ‘Welcome, look how wonderful we are.’ And then on the right, everyone’s saying ‘Shut the door. We have enough of our own poor to take care of.’ Every kind of self-righteous sort of excuse. Somewhere in the middle is we need to be actively trying to do our best to help, but also prioritizing the Gospel.

This is another issue that I’ll just say. A lot of church ministries now, what they do is it’s real hip and trendy to get into humanitarian stuff. And so if you’re ministering to the orphan or the widow, if you’re doing sustainable agriculture, digging wells, any of these things, everyone will give you money. But if you’re like ‘We’re planting churches, making disciples, winning the lost,’ you actually struggle to get funds. I hear this from every missionary I talk to. They’re like ‘The church doesn’t have a high priority on the Gospel, they have a high priority on humanitarianism.’ Why? Because we’re infected with the spirit of the world. You’re putting a Band Aid on temporal needs. And it’s important. It’s part of the Gospel. Part of being a disciple of Christ is ministering to the poor and the needy, but if you’re not prioritizing the Gospel then you’re failing in our most basic need to invite them and make them a priority.

It’s worth highlighting that on the right, we only hear the negative. We only hear the bad. And if we were to believe the picture painted by the right, we would think like 95 percent of them are terrorists or are about to be terrorists or are right on the edge. It’s not even close to that. There’s enough that it’s a big problem, but the problem is I have yet to hear anybody offer a solution that is legitimate. Most people say ‘We need to wipe out ISIS.’ I go, ‘Oh, cool, wipe out ISIS.’ 85 percent of the refugees aren’t fleeing ISIS, they’re fleeing (Syrian president) Bashar al-Assad.

Q: And there’s still al Qaeda, the Taliban, all those other organizations.

A: Exactly, and they’re all Sunni. Most of them that are fleeing are the more moderate Sunnis.

The point is: The Lord is allowing this divine conundrum. We’re trying to wrestle through what we need to do. No matter what we do, if we’re following Christ, we’re going to get attacked by the left and the right. The right are saying ‘How dare you love them when they’re coming to kill us?’ And you go, ‘No, I’m sure there are some that are in there to kill us.’ But the point is this: When has the Lord ever said ‘If there’s risk involved, don’t do it.’ He never says anything like that. He says ‘Do it, and it’s going to be filled with risk, lay down your life for your enemies.’

This is the thing. We have to be, as a church, wrestling through what it means to be a disciple of Christ in the midst of the chaos that is beginning to engulf the world. And it’s only going to become more chaotic. … I go to all these conferences, everyone goes ‘What’s the prophetic word, what’s the secret code?’ And we need to have discernment and understand what’s unfolding, that’s important. But the biggest warning in the midst of it all is Jesus said ‘At that time, because of the increase of lawlessness, the love of most will grow cold.’ We’re spending all this time trying to figure out what’s going to happen and we’re spending very little time guarding and preparing our hearts for the chaos.

Q: So it’s important to resist that and find a balance somewhere in the middle?

A: The point is: We need to resist the carnal spirit on the right — and there is a carnal spirit on the right — and we need to resist the naivety of the left and make laying down our lives for our enemies for the sake of seeing the lost get saved our highest priority. I don’t have all the answers.

Q: Right, there really is no easy solution. Like you’re saying, it’s not necessarily an unsolvable problem, but the Gospel is always a good answer.

A: Yeah, and this is the whole point. What do we focus on? The only weapon that the Lord has given us is change people from the inside out, one heart at a time. And maybe we won’t win. In fact, the scriptures say of the antichrist, multiple times, he will prosper in all he does. He’s going to win for a little bit. We as men and as conservatives, we’re like ‘Why won’t anyone listen to my answer?’ We want to fix it and have the answer. We have to come to terms with the fact that we actually lose for a little while. It says he’s given power to break the power of the holy people.

***

Check back for Part 2 of the Q&A in the coming days. It focuses on Syria and the Middle East.

Richardson’s evening service centered on Biblical prophecies concerning Israel, Jerusalem and the last days. If you missed the event, the 2016 Prophetic Conference DVD Set contains Richardson’s service, as well as those of Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, Michael Snyder and Hubie Synn.

The Jim Bakker Show is also giving our partners a chance to send buckets of our 20-year-shelf-life food to the Middle East, which will support Christian churches at this important time. Click here to learn how you can help these churches become a resource hub for those searching for the Gospel in the midst of these chaotic times.

Michael Snyder: God “raising up a remnant” for last days

Ten years ago, Michael Snyder never could have imagined he would be speaking at the 2016 Prophetic Conference. By his own admission, he was a relatively low-profile lawyer who was living in the nation’s capital — where attorneys are about as common as politicians.

His wife would drive him to the Metro station every morning, and he would hope there was a train seat waiting for him during the busy morning rush hour. Once he arrived at work, he would sometimes stay there for 10 to 12 hours, to help pay off the debts he and his wife had accrued.

It was far from the glamorous lifestyle people might imagine a lawyer in Washington may have.

“If there was a totem pole of lawyers, I was so low I was beneath the totem pole,” Snyder told those gathered at Morningside on Thursday evening. “I was the lowest of the low.”

Snyder and his wife were resigned to the idea this would be their life. He would keep working at a job that he didn’t particularly enjoy, in order to chip away at debts he wished he never acquired. But, in the back of their minds, he and his wife believed that God had something bigger planned for them. They did not quite understand what, exactly, but they kept believing it had to be there.

Eventually, Snyder turned to the Internet. He founded “The Economic Collapse Blog” in late 2009, and slowly built a following by penning articles about the economy and current events.

After praying on it, he and his wife eventually decided to move across the country — first to Washington state, and later to the mountains of Idaho where they now live. All the while, they felt God’s blessing on Snyder’s work and he saw his articles reaching more and more people.

Snyder says he now gets more than 1 million page views a month from all over the world.

And now here he was, standing on Grace Street and preaching an evening service that was being live-streamed to a global audience. It was a far cry from his relative anonymity of a decade ago.

“This is what a supernatural God can do. … God can use someone like me and He can take them from the most obscure circumstances, and He can take them and bring them to The Jim Bakker Show with a message for the world,” he said. “If He can do it for me, He can do it for anyone.”

That was the crux of Snyder’s message, in that he believes God is currently “raising up a remnant” for the last days. He calls it a global “organic move of God” that transcends all denominations and churches, and consists of people of a variety of backgrounds and faiths. Its members will be proclaiming warnings and Gospel messages at an important time.

“This remnant is going to keep the commandments of God. It’s going to bring in the greatest harvest of souls the world has ever seen. And it’s going to move in the power of the Holy Spirit like we haven’t seen since the Book of Acts,” Snyder said, drawing applause from the crowd.

Snyder believes that God is moving outside the institutional churches for this remnant because many of those churches have failed, having gradually moved away from the Word of God in favor of a prosperity gospel. He cited studies about dismal attendance during Sunday worship services, and said that the church hasn’t done a good job of attracting the younger generations.

“The church is losing. The church is failing. The church is dead,” Snyder said. “And it’s not just that we’re not appealing to people. You know what? The church is in sin.”

He delivered a spirited message to “dead churches” across the United States.

“You need to wake up. You need to repent,” Snyder declared, pointing directly into the camera. “You need to get out of the gutter. You need to become the bride that Jesus Christ deserves.”

Snyder said one of his readers recently alerted him to the fact that more than 40 years ago David Wilkerson gave a similar prophecy about the coming rise of a “supernatural church of true believers” that would involve many different denominations and emphasize the coming of Jesus.

Though Snyder believes God has played a major role in his life, transforming him from a lawyer into an unconventional preacher, he does not necessarily consider himself part of any remnant just yet. Snyder and his wife constantly pray God will factor them into His plans for the last days, and encouraged anyone else who wants to be a part of the remnant to “get right with God.”

“We can’t do it on our own, but with God’s help I believe that we can become the kind of bride that Jesus deserves,” Snyder said to end his service. “The half-hearted, lukewarm religion that we call Evangelical Christianity in America today has got to go. It’s not going to cut it anymore. We are going to be on fire for God!

“So my invitation is come and join with me. The remnant is rising. You don’t have to join an organization. You don’t have to send your money anywhere. All you have to do is listen to the call of God. It’s not complicated, but let’s do it. Let’s be the people that God created us to be! We’re going to write the end of the Book of Acts. It’s going to be the finest hour for the church, and I want to be there right on the front lines! Do you?”

Snyder’s inspirational service also touched on scriptures about the last day and the timing of the rapture. It can be seen on the Prophetic Week DVD Set, which is now available.

The set also contains evening services from Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, Joel Richardson and Hubie Synn along with all of The Jim Bakker Show tapings that were recorded during this week’s 2016 Prophetic Conference.

Rabbi Cahn kicks off 2016 Prophetic Conference with messages for America, Christians

Earlier this month, Rabbi Jonathan Cahn delivered a speech at the United Nations. His address centered on Israel, persecuted Christians and being the light of the world in the end times.

In a few weeks, the rabbi will speak at the Lincoln Memorial. He will address a gathering of Christian leaders who will pray for America’s future, asking God to bless and forgive the nation.

On Tuesday, Rabbi Cahn combined those messages during a special taping of The Jim Bakker Show.

The rabbi’s appearance marked the beginning of Morningside’s 2016 Prophetic Conference, a four-day event that gives prophets the opportunity to share their messages with the world during television tapings and evening worship services. Partners have traveled hundreds of miles from states like Florida, Michigan, New Mexico and North Carolina to be at the ministry this week, and hundreds packed the Grace Street studio to be a part of Rabbi Cahn’s kickoff taping.

Rabbi Cahn, the author of The Harbinger and The Mystery of the Shemitah, said he believes that recent political decisions on key religious issues have left the United States at a critical juncture.

“We’ve witnessed a continual move on all of these issues. From pro-life, abortion, to marriage, to Israel, every single one — and now we’re at a point where these things will get sealed,” Rabbi Cahn said during the taping. “The Supreme Court, what happens there is going to be major. That will affect churches. It will affect the education of your children. It will affect everything. This is crucial, I believe.”

Pastor Jim Bakker agreed the country was facing important choices in the coming days.

“We’re on the brink of either going to God or running as far away as we can,” he said during the taping. “I believe the point of no return is here. It’s decision time. … We have got to have a supernatural, Biblical intervention of almighty God.”

The audience heard excerpts from Rabbi Cahn’s speech at the United Nations, titled The Agenda of the Light. The rabbi implored believers to stay true to the Biblical message that followers of Jesus are to be the light of the world, particularly in times when that becomes more and more difficult.

“What is the agenda of the light? It is to stand against the darkness,” Rabbi Cahn said during his United Nations speech. “So we must speak the truth at all times, regardless of what is popular, regardless of what is fashionable, regardless of what is politically correct, regardless of pressure when it comes upon us, regardless of the opinion of the day, and regardless of the cost.”

Rabbi Cahn echoed his speech on Grace Street, saying it becomes increasingly important to take a stand for God and His principles in times of great darkness like the world is witnessing today.

“You light a candle in the daytime, you can barely see it,” Rabbi Cahn said during the taping. “You light a candle at night, you can see that candle for miles and miles. That’s the difference.”

The rabbi’s comments were only a sampling of the prophetic messages that will be delivered at Morningside this week, as daily television tapings and evening services continue through Friday.

There is no cost to attend the tapings or evening services, a schedule of which appears below.

TUESDAY, MARCH 15
Taping: Rabbi Jonathan Cahn (11:30 a.m.)
Evening Service: Joel Richardson (7 p.m.)

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 16
Taping: Rabbi Jonathan Cahn and Dino Kartsonakis (11:30 a.m.)
Evening Service: Rabbi Jonathan Cahn (7 p.m.)

THURSDAY, MARCH 17
Taping: James Rickards (11:30 a.m.)
Evening Service: Michael Snyder (7 p.m.)

FRIDAY, MARCH 18
Taping: Lt. General Jerry Boykin (11:30 a.m.)
Evening Service: Hubie Synn (7 p.m.)

For more information on the guests, visit the 2016 Prophetic Conference web page.

Evening services will be live-streamed on jimbakkershow.com and the PTL Television Network on Roku. Tapings will not be live-streamed, but the episodes will be uploaded to the Video on Demand section of jimbakkershow.com and the PTL Television Network before they air on TV.

Islamic State defector brings ‘goldmine’ of details on 22,000 supporters

LONDON (Reuters) – A disillusioned former member of Islamic State has passed a stolen memory stick of documents identifying 22,000 supporters in over 50 countries to a British journalist, a leak that could help the West target Islamist fighters planning attacks.

Leaks of such detailed information about Islamic State are rare and give Britain’s spies a potential trove of data that could help unmask militants who have threatened more attacks like those that killed 130 people in Paris last November.

A man calling himself Abu Hamed, a former member of Islamic State who became disillusioned with its leaders, passed the files to Britain’s Sky News on a memory stick he said he had stolen from the head of the group’s internal security force.

On it were enrolment forms containing the names of Islamic State supporters and of their relatives, telephone numbers, and other details such as the subjects’ areas of expertise and who had recommended them.

One of the files, marked “Martyrs”, detailed a group of IS members who were willing and trained to carry out suicide attacks, Sky said.

Richard Barrett, a former head of global counter-terrorism at Britain’s MI6 Secret Intelligence Service, said the cache was “a fantastic coup” in the fight against Islamic State.

“It will be an absolute goldmine of information of enormous significance and interest to very many people, particularly the security and intelligence services,” Barrett told Sky News.

Sky said it had informed the British authorities about the documents which were passed to its correspondent, Stuart Ramsay, at an undisclosed location in Turkey.

Western security sources said that if genuine, the files could be gold dust as they could help identify potential attackers and the networks of sympathizers behind them, and give insight on the structure of the group.

Reuters was not able to independently verify the documents, given their provenance. A selection of them was published in Arabic.

Islamic State militants claimed responsibility for the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris and the Oct. 31 downing of a Russian passenger plane over Egypt’s Sinai region that killed 224. They have promised more attacks on the West and Russia.

SUICIDE BOMBERS

Western leaders say Islamic State, which has proclaimed a caliphate in the parts of Syria and Iraq it controls, now poses a greater danger to the West than al Qaeda. It uses a militant interpretation of Islam to justify attacks on its foes and the use of extreme violence, including rape and beheadings, against those it sees as infidels.

The defector, a former Free Syrian Army fighter who switched to Islamic State, said the group had been taken over by former soldiers from the Iraqi Baath party of Saddam Hussein, who was ousted in 2003 after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

Some of the defector’s Arabic documents, posted on the Zaman Al Wasl Syrian news website, were forms issued by “Islamic State in Iraq and Sham, the General Directorate of Borders” and displayed personal details of each fighter, according to a review of some of the documents by Reuters.

The forms included answers to 23 questions such as assumed name, birthplace, education level, extent of Sharia learning and previous jobs, as well as details about the individuals’ journey to Islamic State and whether they were potential suicide bombers or more traditional fighters.

When asked for his view of the documents, Raffaello Pantucci, director of international security studies at London’s Royal United Services Institute, said in an emailed response: “It seems a bit dated.”

“Very interesting though and a real gift for researchers into understanding the group more,” he added. “The key for me in many ways is how this highlights the bureaucracy of the organization once again – kinda like al Qaeda in fact.”

(Additional reporting by Estelle Shirbon in London and Mark Hosenball in Washington; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

Syria air strikes target Islamic State in ancient Palmyra

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Russian warplanes were said to have launched heavy strikes on the Islamic State-held city of Palmyra on Thursday in what may be a prelude to a Syrian government bid to recapture the historic site lost to the jihadist group last May.

Dozens of Islamic State fighters were killed or wounded in the strikes that followed similarly heavy air raids in the Palmyra area on Wednesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group reported.

The attacks add to the pressure on a group that is losing ground to a separate, U.S.-backed campaign by Syrian militia in the northeast, and whose military commander was declared probably dead by U.S. officials on Tuesday.

The group’s tactics in Syria appear to reflect the strains, as it turns to suicide missions seemingly aimed at causing maximum casualties rather than sustainable territorial gains.

Islamic State is not included in a cessation of hostilities agreement that has brought about a lull in the war raging in western Syria between rebels aiming to topple President Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian army backed by the Russian air force.

Military operations against Islamic State in central and eastern Syria are continuing as both Damascus and its allies on one hand, and the United States and its allies on the other, seek to degrade Islamic State’s self-declared “caliphate” that stretches into Iraq.

The Observatory said Russian war planes carried out 150 raids in the Palmyra area on Wednesday, followed by further attacks on Thursday. “If they take Tadmur (Palmyra) and Qarayatain, the regime would have taken back a big geographic area of Syria,” said Observatory Director Rami Abdulrahman.

The loss of Qaraytain and Palmyra and the surrounding desert would reduce Islamic State’s hold to about 20 percent of Syria.

Qarayatain is 60 miles southwest of Palmyra. After capturing Palmyra, Islamic State blew up some of its ancient monuments in what the U.N. cultural agency UNESCO called a war crime.

Islamic State however appears well-entrenched in Palmyra, and while recovering the city would be a big boost for Damascus, its priority may be elsewhere for now, including the border with Turkey where it has been fighting rebels despite the truce.

FINANCES UNDER STRAIN

The momentum has turned against Islamic State since its rapid advances two years ago following the capture of the Iraqi city of Mosul. Its finances are also under strain, with fighters’ pay cut by up to a half.

In what would be another major blow to Islamic State, U.S. officials said on Tuesday that its “minister of war”, Abu Omar al-Shishani, was likely killed in a U.S. air strike near the town of al-Shadadi in northeastern Syria.

The militant, also known as Omar the Chechen, had a reputation as a close military adviser to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

The Pentagon believes Shishani was sent to bolster Islamic State troops after they suffered setbacks at the hands of U.S.-allied militias including the Kurdish YPG.

The Observatory, which says it gathers its information from sources on all sides of the war, said on Thursday that Shishani was badly wounded but still alive and being treated somewhere in the group’s Syrian stronghold of Raqqa province.

Recent Islamic State attacks have included suicide car bombings in the government-held cities of Damascus and Homs, and a determined but ultimately unsuccessful effort to sever the government’s only land supply route to Aleppo.

Dozens of its fighters were also killed in a Feb. 27 attack on the YPG-held town of Tel Abyad at the Turkish border. A YPG official sent Reuters a list of the names of 72 IS fighters he said had been sent there on a suicide mission.

The official said Shishani’s death, if true, would not be that significant because Islamic State “is being broken by the YPG and Syria Democratic Forces with or without him”. “It doesn’t change the equation at all as far as we are concerned.”

(Additional reporting by Omar Fahmy in Cairo; editing by Giles Elgood)

Flooding continues across South, more rain on the way

Heavy rains continued to pummel the South on Thursday morning, spurring concerns about more flash flooding in states that have already received more than nine inches of rain this week.

The National Weather Service had issued new flash flood warnings for portions of Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana, the four states hit the hardest by this week’s storms.

It also issued numerous other flood warnings and flash flood watches in the Mississippi and Ohio valleys as the storms threatened to bring multiple inches of rain today and tomorrow.

National Weather Service storm reports indicate that Northern Louisiana has seen the heaviest rains since Monday, with more than 17 inches falling at Monroe Regional Airport as of 9 a.m. Thursday. More than 14 inches fell in Bossier City, and Shreveport received more than 10.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency in 16 parishes affected by the severe weather. One of them was Bossier Parish, where the local sheriff’s office reported that a mandatory evacuation was ordered for at least 1,000 homes as the Red Chute Bayou rose.

The National Weather Service’s office in Shreveport said that evacuations also occurred in Haughton and Minden, and the floods led to “numerous” road closures and high-water rescues.

Texas, Mississippi and Arkansas also had at least one community where nine or more inches fell, and those states were all experiencing some degree of flooding on Thursday.

The National Weather Service website showed dozens of river gauges in those states were at flood stage, adding that “major flooding” in at least six locations in Texas and Louisiana. Dozens more were near flood stage, and the additional rainfall threatened to push water levels higher.

The heaviest rains are expected along the southern banks of the Mississippi River, and the service said parts of Mississippi and Louisiana could receive five or more additional inches.

Newark Public Schools turn off fountains after tests find lead in water

New Jersey’s largest public school system has shut off the drinking fountains at some of its schools after tests found elevated lead levels in the water there, officials said Wednesday.

The state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Newark Public Schools made the announcement in a joint news release, saying annual testing showed elevated levels of the contaminant in water collected from select taps in 30 of the district’s school buildings.

Roughly 300 samples were collected from those schools, the state DEP said, and 59 showed levels that were above a federally mandated threshold of 15 parts per billion. The Environmental Protection Agency now requires further action, including testing, monitoring and remediation.

The water fountains will remain off until more testing is performed.

Being exposed to lead can trigger a variety of health problems, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and children who have the element in their bodies may experience developmental delays and issues with their hearing, speech and learning.

But the severity of any adverse health effects depends on how much lead builds up in a person’s body over time, according to a New Jersey Department of Health fact sheet on lead in water.

“Typically, drinking water alone has not been associated with elevated blood lead levels,” the fact sheet states. “Combined with other sources, however, the amount of lead from drinking water may be enough to increase the chances of harmful health effects in sensitive individuals, such as infants and children.”

Newark Public Schools has 66 schools and more than 35,000 students, according to its website.

The system says it is sending out letters to parents that inform them of the test results, outline the steps being taken and assure that students will still have safe food and water while at school.

In a message on its website, the school system said it has begun placing bottled water in the affected schools “as a precautionary measure.” It has also posted signs in bathrooms that instruct people not to drink from the faucets, and supplied alternative water for cooking.

The state DEP said that the Newark Water Department, the school’s supplier, does not have lead in its water. The agency said that most cases of elevated lead levels in water involve the element leaching in through lead pipes, or other fixtures and solders that contain lead.

Heavy rains spur flash flooding in South, more rain on the way

Portions of three states were under flash flood warnings on Wednesday afternoon as a slow-moving storm brought more heavy rain and damage to the already-waterlogged South.

The National Weather Service issued the warnings for select counties in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas, indicating that flash flooding was already occurring in those regions.

The service also issued flash flood watches for other counties in those three states and portions of six others — Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Mississippi — cautioning that the inches of additional rain in the forecast could spur rapidly rising waters later this week.

The National Weather Service said Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas are still expected to see the worst of the storms, and could receive more than eight inches of additional rain by week’s end.

The service said each of those three states had at least one community where more than five inches of rain fell between Monday and Wednesday morning. That included more than one foot near Minden, Louisiana, which is located about 35 miles east of Bossier City in Webster Parish.

The Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office shared numerous photographs of flooding on its Facebook page, including a stretch of Interstate 20 that had been completely submerged. Another photo showed a stretch of Methodist Camp Road, which runs through Minden, had been washed out.

In Bossier Parish, authorities were calling for a voluntary evacuation in some flood-prone areas as waters of the Red Chute Bayou and Flat River continued to rise, according to a news release.

The severe weather prompted government offices in Webster, Bossier and four other Northern Louisiana parishes to close early on Wednesday, the state’s commissioner of administration said in a news release. Grambling State University and Louisiana Tech also cancelled classes.

The other areas in the flash flood watches were expected to see less rainfall, but multiple inches were possible. Residents of all of the affected states should monitor their local forecasts.

After alleged ban, “Jesus” reappears in Johnson Space Center newsletter

The name “Jesus” has reappeared in the Johnson Space Center newsletter, drawing celebration from a religious freedom advocacy group that claimed NASA banned the name from publication.

The First Liberty Institute made the announcement Tuesday, exactly one month after threatening the space agency with a federal lawsuit over what it claimed was “blatant religious discrimination” against Christian employees in a prayer club at the Johnson Space Center.

The issue stems from an announcement that ran in the JSC Today newsletter last May.

According to the First Liberty Institute, the newsletter is emailed to all employees who work at the Houston facility. The JSC Praise and Worship Club, like other groups, routinely submitted announcements to the newsletter as a way to spread the word about its upcoming gatherings.

On May 28, the newsletter published an club-written announcement that included the line “The theme for this session will be Jesus is our life!” and invited other JSC employees to attend.

The First Liberty Institute claims that attorneys from NASA subsequently contacted the club and told them that “Jesus” could not be used in any future announcements, as it could lead someone to believe that NASA was endorsing Christianity and therefore violating the Establishment Clause, which prevents government entities from promoting one religion over another.

The employees countered that their speech was private and NASA’s restrictions amounted to illegal censorship. The club stopped using “Jesus” in announcements as it sought legal advice.

On February 17, nine days after the First Liberty Institute contacted the space agency, the newsletter published a JSC Praise and Worship Club announcement that included the line “The theme for this session will be Jesus is our Victory!” showing the name did appear in the email.

NASA’s attorneys contacted the First Liberty Institute the following day, saying there is no ban.

“JSC does not prohibit the use of any specific religious names in employee newsletters or other internal communications,” Chief Counsel Bernard J. Roan wrote in a letter to the institute.

Roan added in his letter that some NASA employees had expressed concerns that the prayer club’s May 28 announcement “went beyond mere announcement of the time, place and general nature of an activity; was essentially proselytizing; and, and as such, was inappropriate.”

He said that attorneys reached out to the club to discuss those concerns, but did not mention what, exactly, those conversations entailed. He did note the newsletter has published several “religiously-oriented postings” from the prayer club and other groups in the past few months.

“It is clear from subsequent ‘JSC Today’ postings for the Club that JSC to this day continues to facilitate its employees’ right to freely exercise their religious beliefs,” Roan wrote.

First Liberty’s Senior Counsel, Jeremy Dys, welcomed the recent developments.

“Although NASA’s initial censorship of the name ‘Jesus’ gave the Praise & Worship Club cause for alarm, we are grateful NASA took subsequent corrective action, and now clarifies its policy permitting religious expression by its employees,” Dys said in a statement.