The Sign Gathering
Will Ford reports:
On August 16 -18, 2010, African American pastors and leaders are inviting everyone to fast and pray for America, with a targeted focus on the African American community. August 16th and 17th will be teaching and panel discussions, and on August 18th, we are crying out to God in an all day solemn assembly at Trinity Chapel, 4665 Macland Rd., Powder Springs, GA 30127 (just outside Atlanta, Georgia). We have chosen August 18th, (8-18), believing that it coincides with Isaiah 8:18, which says, “Behold, I and the children the Lord has given me are for signs and wonders in Israel…” Another translation says, “signs and symbols.” We are calling this event “The Sign Gathering,” because we believe that the Black community in America has been used of God as a sign of the spiritual and moral condition of this great nation. We believe that our current plight is a sign to America that is off course, and we need to fast and pray for a spiritual awakening. God began to confirm this for me in a most uncanny way.About two Wednesdays ago, I had fasting pangs while at the bank, though I’d been eating all day. I said “God if you want me to fast, speak to me,” thinking he’d confirm it in a few days. However, it was confirmed minutes later. As I was leaving the bank, I met the last customer who rushed in before it closed, and his name was Anthony Fast!
Perplexed, I told him about my prayer moments earlier, and he said he had a friend that fasted every Wednesday, the same day we were meeting, and also the day of the week of our solemn assembly, Wednesday, August 18th. Still trying to poke holes into the whole experience, I looked up the meaning of Anthony and went to the first website that came up on Google’s search list. It was a secular website which said that Anthony was the name of an Egyptian Christian, a saint who lived in the desert, who was known for prayer, fasting and his power over demons! He is one of the first desert fathers and walked in signs, wonders and the miraculous. It went on to say that Anthony means, flower, flourish and priceless. Anthony also means, “highly praiseworthy.” Could God be giving others and me an invitation to a priceless time of fasting to see new things flower or be birthed, as he causes his desire to flourish? Needless to say, I started the fast, focused on being thankful and being praiseworthy.
On the 10th day of my fast, I told the Is 8:18 team about the “Anthony” fast that I’m on, and Dehaviland Brown, who is heading up this event, was blown away. I was awestruck as well when she told us why. Dehaviland said, “I’ve told no one, but I’ve been in the middle of a 21 day Daniel Fast for our event, and had an uncanny God coincidence while I was in a church in Michigan. I was drawn to approach and pray for a little baby boy and his grandmother. The grandmother explained issues regarding the child’s upbringing, and that an evangelist had prophesied he would grow up to do great things for the Lord. She then told me that the little boy’s name was Will Ford III, not knowing that Will Ford III is also the name of one of the leaders for our Isaiah 8:18 gathering! When asked, they said they never had heard of him before!”
Dehaviland had no idea I was in the middle of a 21 day fast at the same time, neither did she know that God would affirm her fast for our Isaiah 8:18 gathering by meeting, at random, an African American baby boy who shared my name. What are the chances of that?! I feel that God is shouting to us, that this solemn assembly is His doing, and “I and the children the Lord has given me, are for signs and symbols” to America! This is not about us, but what God wants to do in America.
African Americans have been influential in music, fashion, arts and entertainment and pop culture, and have been used as a major catalyst in America. More importantly, God has used the Black community to be a barometer and sign of the spiritual health and moral climate in this nation. As we have cried out against injustices such as slavery and segregation, God has used us to subpoena the consciousness of America. Its been said that when Black America gets a cold, this nation gets the flu.
Consider the Civil War.
If you combine all the casualties of war from the Korean War, the Vietnam War, World War I and World War II, the combined casualty count amounts to 619,107. But in one war, the Civil War, 623,026 people died, more than all the casualties of these four wars combined. That number is especially intriguing when you consider that no fighter jets with bombs or any nuclear warheads were used in the Civil War, of course, they hadn’t been invented yet. Nevertheless, how could bayonet’s, muskets and cannons, wipe out 623,026 people? It’s because the Civil War was God’s divine judgment against America, for the injustice of slavery. Abraham Lincoln said it best when he said,
“Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”
In other words, Lincoln knew that the blood of the sword in the Civil War was repaying the blood of the lash from slavery. He knew it was divine judgment for the suffering of Blacks during slavery.
We feel it is a critical time to cry out for Black America and our nation again. If Lincoln is right, and the Civil War was divine judgment for the atrocity of slavery, how much more should we be concerned when 50 million babies have been aborted in this nation, especially when its been well documented that abortion began as a targeted attempt to eliminate the African American population?! Even now, according to the Bureau of Vital Statistics, in 2005 for African Americans, though there were 587,000 live births, there were also 452,000 induced abortions! That ratio is 77%. In other words, for every 100 Black children born, 77 were aborted! (http://www.protectingblacklife.org/abortion_stats/pdf/cdc_nvsr58_10-14-09.pdf)
That being said, we also know that much of our current plight in America today is much of our own undoing. Consider these alarming statistics:
Nearly 50% of Black teenagers have genital herpes
For African American women, the leading cause of death for those between ages 25 to 44 isn’t heart disease or cancer, its AIDS
40% of Black men drop out of high school. Of those, 72% are jobless, resulting in the likelihood of them being incarcerated jumping to 60%
Black America is in a socioeconomic and spiritual crisis, and our plight is a sign to America that is off course, and we need to fast and pray for a spiritual awakening! Our solemn assembly on August 18, 2010 is not a festival; it’s a fast! This generation must repent for how we’ve spurned the sacrifice of our forefathers who risked their lives for our freedoms. The Black church, once used to be the spiritual backbone for this nation, but now has gotten off track itself, and many preachers have comprised their sacred callings. As a result, many of our people have turned their backs on the God who delivered us from slavery, and have bowed down to the false god of Islam and other false religions. We need to cry out to God for a spiritual awakening, and for the next generation. We had one other confirmation about this prayer gathering that gives us hope.
Recently, Dehaviland met a 14-year-old girl, who is on fire for God. She told Dehaviland that she must attend this gathering. She said, “My mother was gonna abort me, but my grandmother was told by God of my mothers secret plans. She grabbed a phone book, and God showed her exactly which abortion clinic my mother was going to. She called and made the worker put my mother on the phone. Frightened, and yet assured that God had a plan for my life, she left the clinic.” She then told Dehaviland, “My birthday is on 8-18!” This young lady once preached the gospel at her school by standing on the lunchroom tables in the cafeteria. She got in trouble, but many people got saved! For such a time as this, God is using this young lady’s birthday and life as an Isaiah 8:18 witness to say, “I and the children the Lord has given me, are for signs and wonders” to America!
We are calling America to a 21-day fast, to pray for a spiritual awakening in the Black community and America. The fasts starts July 27th, 2010, and ends August 16th, the first day of The Sign gathering in Atlanta, GA. On Wednesday, August 18th, we will fast and pray together at Trinity Chapel in the solemn assembly. If you can, we are asking everyone who can make it to attend these three days, and especially the solemn assembly on August 18th. This is a critical hour for the Black community and our nation. Won’t you please join us?
Will Ford III