Randal Cutter-Part 1-Whatever You Bind on Earth A Historical Record of How God Warned About Hurricane Irene. Incontrovertible Evidence That God Still Speaks Today.

 Whatever You Bind on Earth 

A Historical Record of  How God Warned About  Hurricane Irene.  

Incontrovertible Evidence  That God Still Speaks  Today.  

Randal L. Cutter

Copyright © 2014 Randal L. Cutter 

All rights reserved. 

ISBN: 0990904717 

ISBN-13: 978-0990904717 

Distributed by: New Dawn Ministries 

9335 W. Sample Road 

Coral Springs, FL 33065 

www.newdawn.org 

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture taken from the HOLY  BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used  by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. 

Cover Art: 123rf.com Used by permission.

DEDICATION 

To the One who initiated this story, Jesus the Christ; 

With appreciation to my incredibly gifted wife, Dawn, And my wonderful children, Alyssa, Linea, and Joshua; And to all my prophetic mentors. 

In Remembrance of Bob Jones, a mentor and friend, Who, after Irene, would often approach me and ask, “Have you seen it?” referring to a hurricane or storm that the Lord has shown to him, and over which Bob would challenge us to pray.

CONTENTS 

PREFACE.................................................................. 1 INTRODUCTION....................................................... 2 1. PREPARING A TEACHER ....................................... 5 2. PREPARING A PEOPLE........................................ 11 3. NEW DAWN....................................................... 21 4. STORM WARNINGS ........................................... 29 5. ENGAGING THE STORM ..................................... 38 6. VICTORY OVER THE STORM ............................... 48 7. AN IRREVOCABLE CALLING ................................ 59 8. CONCLUSIONS ................................................... 72 APPENDIX ............................................................. 77 ABOUT THE AUTHOR............................................. 83

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 

To the Members of 

New Dawn Community Church, past and present. Thank you for pursuing the Lord with me.

PREFACE 

On October 1, 1999, WPTV, the NBC affiliate in West Palm  Beach, Florida, aired a report on a church in Coral Springs,  Florida, which had predicted that a hurricane named Irene  would strike southeast Florida by surprise. 

That interview, broadcast twelve days before the storm  that would become Hurricane Irene had even formed, has  become eloquent testimony for the veracity of everything  contained in this book. 

You can read this book without watching the interview,  available at the link below. However, if you watch the video,  you will want to continue reading this book. 

The video is evidence that God still speaks. 

Video Links: 

HurricaneIrene.com 

YouTube Reference: JVsb6Pk-qm8

INTRODUCTION 

Not too long ago, I heard the voice of God in a dream. He  said, “I remember Irene. I remember Irene.” 

I immediately woke up, and wondered at what I had  heard. I knew who Irene was, or rather, I knew what Irene  was. She was a hurricane that had hit our area of South  Florida in 1999. She was also a major part of my history, and  the history of my congregation, New Dawn Community  Church. 

The Lord had told us about Irene a year before she came  to our area. He had told us her name, where she was going to  hit, and the area in most danger. He also told us that she  would confound forecasters and would hit our area by  surprise as a category four storm. If you can imagine what  Hurricane Katrina of 2005 would have done to the southern  gulf coast if she had hit by surprise, then you understand the  absolute catastrophe the Lord had described to us. But there  was a bright ray of hope. He also invited us to call area  Christians together to pray, and showed us that our prayers 

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could reduce the intensity of the storm and release much  protection to South Florida. 

We accepted his invitation, and called the churches of  Broward County, Florida to pray from March to October of  1999. The pastors of Broward County, at least the ones who  were here in 1999, remember those events. Even more people  remember because a local NBC affiliate heard of our prayer  efforts, interviewed me, and broadcast our call to prayer  before the storm even formed (you can still see the broadcast  at hurricaneirene.com). Much of South Florida’s attention was  on Irene months before she made her appearance. 

Irene hit us on October 15, 1999, as a category one  hurricane. Everything the Lord showed us about Irene was  exactly accurate. As he had promised, because we had prayed,  the storm’s intensity had diminished. He gave his Church in  Broward County a great victory by protecting us from a  category four storm. He also gave his Church a great victory  by publicly demonstrating that it was possible to hear from  God about something like this, and that it was possible to do  something about what God was showing us. We had bound  on earth what he had bound in heaven. 

Since that day, we have grown in our understanding of  intercessory authority, and the role God has given his Church  to play. God wants his Church to use the authority he has  given it to protect lives, to stop or reduce the intensity of  natural disasters, and to release blessing on the earth. These  are things that we now readily see, but that we didn’t  understand when God first issued the invitation. 

When the Lord told me that he remembered Irene, I  knew that it was time, once again, for me to remember Irene.  When the Lord repeats himself, it means that a matter is 

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firmly established; and when he remembers something, he  wants to do something about it. This book is part of what the  Lord wanted to do. 

You are holding an invitation in your hands. The facts of  the basic story are not in dispute. Over fifty pastors and  churches from across the theological spectrum were called as  witnesses to what God was doing in 1999. The Lord even  marshaled the resources of an NBC affiliate to document the  truth of this book. The Lord took such care to document the  facts for your sake. He is inviting you to participate in what  will become the greatest age of his Church. He is inviting you  to make a difference in this world for the age to come. He is  inviting you to remember Irene, and to then enter into your  destiny as you remember her. 

The Lord remembers Irene. Now you will, too.

PREPARING A TEACHER 

I remember the first time I heard God’s voice. Actually, I  should say that I remember the first time that God spoke to  me, and I knew it was the Lord who was speaking to me. It  wasn’t that his voice was audible. In fact, since I was mowing  the lawn at the time, if it had been audible, the Lord would  have been competing with the roar of the lawn mower.  Instead, the voice that I heard spoke clearly, with an  unmistakable resonance and meter into my spirit and my  conscious thoughts. The racket of the lawn mower faded  away as the sound of eternity permeated my soul. 

I had oft dreamed about what it might be like to have the  Lord speak to me. I would read the prophets or their histories  in the Bible, and I would wonder what it must have been like  to have the Creator share his thoughts with them. I assumed  that this line of thought would always remain a flight of fancy.  I was part of a denomination that had taught me that God  doesn’t speak to us anymore apart from the Bible. I was in  agreement with this theological perspective, so I certainly  wasn’t seeking an encounter with God when he spoke to me.  However, I was praying.

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Well, I like to call it praying. It was really more like  complaining. I was letting the Lord know some of the  injustice that was occurring in my life, and I’m absolutely certain that there was more than a touch of self-pity mixed  into my murmuring prayer. My finances were difficult, and I  was letting God know that he wasn’t treating his servant that  well. 

I had graduated from seminary in May of 1987. The  denomination to which I belonged sent me to South Florida  to work in a church plant under the auspices of their mission  board. I quickly found out that South Florida had a much  higher cost of living than Wisconsin, my home state. My  salary was such that I would have been very hard pressed to  make ends meet in Wisconsin. In Broward County, Florida, it  was impossible. 

When we first arrived in Florida we didn’t realize that we  were poor. Dawn, my wife, and I were married in the summer  of 1980, and I immediately started a seven year education  program in order to become a pastor in our denomination.  We were well aware of the fact that we were poor all through  college and seminary. We regularly saw the Lord meet our  financial needs in amazing, almost miraculous ways  throughout the years of education. However, when we came  to South Florida, I started to receive a salary as a church  planter, and Dawn began to work at a daycare. We felt  fabulously rich even though our relatively meager incomes  were far less than the average household income in our city.  

Our delusion about our financial welfare was shattered  when we had our first child in the spring of 1989. Dawn and I  had decided that when the Lord granted us children, she  would stay home in order to give them the best possible 

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launch into their life purposes. So, while Dawn had not been  making a great deal of money at the daycare, it had still helped  make ends meet. When she was forced to stop working earlier  than we expected because of a high-risk pregnancy, we  quickly found out that even without the extra costs of a high 

risk pregnancy, those ends didn’t meet anymore.  By the fall of 1989, I was stressed about our finances. I  did some of my best complaining—I called it praying—while  mowing the lawn. I was using an old push mower that had  been donated by a gracious family from our congregation  when they discovered I could not afford a mower. They were  not people of means, so they gave what they had.  Unfortunately for me, what they had was an old push mower  with wobbly wheels that caused the mower to sink into South  Florida’s spongy St. Augustine grass. As a result, the lawn  mower pushed like a tank. Add Florida’s high humidity and  high temperatures to this equation, and you can understand  why mowing brought out this Wisconsin boy’s most eloquent  financial prayers. 

So there I was, one warm day in 1989, having a one-sided  conversation with the Lord about how bad things were, and  how I needed some major help if things were going to turn  around. I remember right where I was on the yard when the  Lord spoke to me. I suspect he decided that this one-sided  conversation wasn’t going anywhere good, and so he  interrupted me. With volume loud enough to silence my  prayers and shake my being, he said, “It’s your fault.” 

I suspect that most of us have imagined what it would be  like to hear the voice of God. We probably fantasize about  the holiness of the moment, or the sacred nature of the  conversation. We might indulge in considering how that 

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moment would change us forever, and how everything would  be different after this divine encounter. That is not at all how  it seemed to me. I was so absolutely indignant about what the  Lord said, that I even forgot that I didn’t believe this type of  thing could happen. I wasn’t awed by the encounter; I was  aggravated. 

I responded to the Lord’s charge at once. I wasn’t going  to simply accept what the voice had said. With more than a  hint of anger and exasperation I asked, “What do you mean?”  I couldn’t imagine how the current state of affairs was my  fault. However, his answer cut through my anger, my delusion  about my situation, and all of my carefully constructed  arguments about why I was the victim in this situation.  

His clear, vibrant voice shook my being one more time as  he answered, “You are the teacher.” 

I learned at that moment, and have become more familiar  with it since, that when the Lord speaks to you like this, he  also opens up the eyes of your understanding so that you hear  everything he is communicating. When Jesus appeared to his  disciples after his resurrection, we are told that he “opened  their minds” (Luke 24:45 NIV). I believe that is exactly  what happened when the Lord spoke to me. My mind opened  and I understood exactly what he meant. I could instantly see  things from his perspective, and I did not like what I saw. 

I had been trained in a denomination that still believed  that God’s Word was vital. In order to gain entrance to their  seminary, you had to have three years of Greek language  education and two years of Hebrew language education. The  denomination believed that in order to correctly handle the  Word of God, you needed to read and understand the  grammar of the original Hebrew and Greek since the Holy 

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Spirit had chosen to use those languages. They wanted  students who were not only comfortable with the Hebrew  and Greek languages, but also were capable of having  scholarly debate about the nuances of the grammar in each  passage of scripture. 

I had excelled in these language studies, and prided  myself in being able to teach God’s truth from the original  languages. I had delved deeply into the Word since my  graduation, and had grown greatly in my understanding. But  there was one area of study I diligently avoided because it  held no interest for me. I chose to ignore any study of what  the Bible said about the stewardship of finances. 

To be absolutely honest, I hated talking about money in  church. I didn’t want to discuss giving, and I certainly didn’t  want to discuss my salary. In the two years I had been in  South Florida, I had only taught and preached on stewardship  topics a couple of times, and understood very little on the  topic. I had the tools at hand to do the study, provided by the  Lord through the training system I had attended, but I had  chosen not to use those tools to study about finances.  

When God told me I was the teacher, he was telling me I  had a responsibility to dig into the word, understand it, and  train my people in the whole counsel of God. If the members  of the congregation were not contributing at an appropriate  level, or if the salary that they were paying me was inadequate,  I could not complain. If I had done my job, if I had sought to  thoroughly understand God’s Word on those topics, and  imparted that truth to my congregation, then maybe I would  have had cause to be upset. As it stood, I was a teacher who  was not doing what he had been called to do on this 

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particular topic of study. I was guilty as charged; it was my  fault. 

It didn’t take long after that for me to dive into what the  Bible said about finances, and honestly, it did not take long  for that teaching to change the congregation and my own  personal circumstance. I will keep those details for a future  book on God’s supernatural economy. However, I can  mention that the giving patterns in my congregation changed  so drastically in such a short period of time, that some  officials from the denomination asked me to write a study on  stewardship for them. Though I never published the study,  the fact that I was asked to write it demonstrates the impact  that the brief encounter with the Lord unleashed in my life. 

As wonderful as this result was, and as fascinating as  Biblical finances can be, the Lord had far more in mind than  simply helping me understand about finances on that day in  1989. He was beginning the slow, patient process of shaping  my character and my heart so that I could hear him better,  and so that he could use me more fully. I didn’t fully  appreciate it at the time, but the Lord really loves South  Florida. He also knew something else that I did not know; a  catastrophe was headed toward South Florida, and he was  preparing me to help stop it.

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PREPARING A PEOPLE 

I do not understand everything about the Lord’s preparation  process; his thoughts really are not our thoughts. Most of our  lives we are being prepared for his purposes, but to us it feels  like normal life. I went about my job of leading my  congregation, never guessing that the Lord was preparing us  to release his protection over our area. Since this would not  be an easy job, the Lord needed to mold my congregation  into a team that he could use. That process did not happen  quickly, nor was it pain-free. 

After my encounter with the Lord, I added several things  to my study agenda. First, as the Lord had directed, I began to  study what the Bible had to say about finances. And second,  and even more important in the long term, I also began to  compare my experience with God to what the Bible taught on  that topic. I believed then, as I do now, that the Bible is the  inspired Word of God. I knew that the Lord would not  contradict the Bible by what he did or by what he said. As I  studied the Bible, it was easy to see that what the Lord had  said to me did not contradict his written Word. However, I  had to make certain that the experience itself was consistent 

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with what the Bible said. I had been taught that God no  longer spoke to individuals in this fashion. I now needed to  determine if the Bible clearly stated that God does not speak  to his people as he always had in the past. 

My studies lead me to realize that the Bible never says  that God will not speak to us as individuals. It clearly teaches  that he will never contradict his written word in these  communications. And since the Bible is complete, and those  who had been called to pen the Holy Writ have long since  passed into eternity, these communications would not be new  scriptures. They could, however, be words of strength,  comfort, encouragement, and personal direction. The Bible is  sufficient for our salvation, but his voice is important for  personal direction. 

I realize that there are many books and theologies that  have been written that say that God will not speak to  individuals today. I also realize that they do not use clear  statements of scripture to make their point. They build a  logical argument based upon other biblical truths, or what  they believe particular passages mean, and then they deduce  that God no longer speaks even though the Bible never says that he  has stopped speaking to us. I know one thing for certain; none of  these authors or theologians has had the Lord confront them  while they were mowing their lawn. A personal encounter  with the Almighty tends to knock one’s blinders off. 

It is difficult for us to envision things that we have not  experienced. God has to knock the scales off of our eyes in  order for us to begin to see. The Israelites are not the only  ones who can be described with the words, “though seeing,  they do not see, though hearing, they do not hear or  understand” (Matthew 13:13). We are all chained to our 

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experience and find it difficult to see or hear things outside  our experience. God has a habit of invading our lives and  opening our minds to his possibilities. He has done this  throughout history. 

By the time God interrupted me in 1989, I had already  preached a series of messages that outlined why he no longer  speaks to us personally today. I had already constructed my  fence around this truth using logical deductions rather than  clear statements of scripture. I had built the fence of my  theology and smugly locked the gate certain that God did not  speak today. That is the way things would have remained if  God had not impolitely careened through my fence and  knocked a giant hole in it. As I later examined the wreckage in  order to determine what had happened, I was able to see how  illogical and unsound the whole construct really was. I found  that I had built a theology to defend my experience of God’s  silence, rather than seeking to change my experience to align  with God’s Word. But I could not see that before he did me  the favor of crashing through my presuppositions. By his  grace he knocked my blinders off in such a radical way that I  could not put them back on again. 

Of course, this had implications for my continued tenure  in the denomination that had nurtured me and that I loved.  Within a couple of years, years in which I poured over the  Scriptures on this topic, I realized that I could not stay in the  denomination. I no longer agreed with them on this basic  issue, and if I wanted to teach others what I believed, I had to  separate from the denomination. This wasn’t easy; I had  grown up in this church body. I had learned to love my fellow  pastors and the church leaders. I also deeply loved the people 

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that God had brought to my congregation. But I realized I  could not stay. 

Leaving a Denomination 

I didn’t give any thought to taking the congregation with me  when I decided it was time to leave. The leaders of our  denomination taught us to believe that the people were the  denomination’s sheep. I had no thought of challenging this  teaching. In fact, this was so much a part of my worldview,  that when my congregation had added an associate pastor in  1991, I had specifically looked for someone to whom I could  entrust the congregation should my departure become  necessary. By the beginning of 1993, I knew that it was time  to go.  

I quietly began to make preparations to resign my  position. Once I had resigned, I planned to move to another  city across the United States where a friend of mine lived. I  had begun to develop a business plan for a small company so 

that I would have an income. My friend and I thought that we  could begin a home group, and see if it might eventually  become a new church plant. Things were moving along  according to plan, until the Lord’s voice interrupted me again. 

As with his first interruption, I remember where I was  and what I was doing when the Lord intervened. I had just  finished a telephone conversation with the man I was going  to hire as my sales manager for the new business. We were  putting the final touches on the compensations plans, and I  ended the phone call feeling that everything was going  exceedingly well. I was sitting in my church office, and had  just put the phone down on my desk, when the jarring but  wondrous voice of the Lord once again changed things. This 

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time he only spoke one sentence, “The good shepherd lays  down his life for the sheep.” 

The first time that the Lord’s voice broke into my  conscious world, I had been indignant. This time, as he  opened my mind to understand the nuances of his thought, I  was humbled. I instantly knew that I had accepted a false  premise. I had believed that the people of the congregation  were the denomination’s sheep. The Lord showed me that he  had used me to call the people into relationship in the  congregation. He had nurtured and raised them on my  teaching. They were his sheep, but I was the assigned  shepherd for this flock. He intervened because I was currently  a good shepherd, but if I deserted the sheep, I would no  longer be a good shepherd. He intervened so that I would not  miss my calling in South Florida, and so that the congregation  would not be harmed by my lack of understanding. 

I was grateful that the Lord explained things to me before  I had made any irreversible commitments. He saved me from  making an enormous mistake, but he didn’t save me from  some difficult choices. I don’t believe I can adequately convey  the difficulty that confronted me after he intervened. I had  decided to resign in order to keep the peace in my  congregation and in my denomination. I wanted to avoid  confrontation. After the Lord spoke to me, I knew my path  could only lead to confrontation. 

I now knew that I needed to prepare the congregation for  a difficult and very public split with the denomination. I had  no doubt that this path was filled with accusation, severed  relationships, and many other difficulties. But I wanted to be  a good shepherd; I shut down my business plans on that very 

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day because I needed to give my full attention to this new  direction.1 

We finally left the denomination in the fall of 1994. That  step was every bit as painful and difficult as I had imagined.  But the Lord continued to grant us grace through the entire  process. I wish that I could say that we left with good feelings  on all sides, but that would not be accurate. We did not leave  perfectly, and even if we had, the act of severing from a  denomination is most always an emotionally ragged affair. But  God’s grace was there for my congregation and for the  denomination, and he got us through this painful time. 

                                                             

1 Although this sounds that I made the irrevocable decision  to leave the denomination in 1993, I actually held out hope  that the relationship could be saved. I was in the process of  working with the denomination over several other areas of  

theology, and I hoped that I could persuade the leaders to  take a fresh look at some of scriptures that I believed they  had misapplied. I believed that if I could bring new light to  

minor issues, and they received it, that there was hope to  tackle even more major issues. This hope proved futile, and  we began to make preparations to leave in 1994. 

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Connecting with MorningStar 

By the beginning of 1995, we were a newly independent  congregation wondering what God had in store for us. We  had a variety of challenges yet to overcome, but we felt a new  freedom to follow the Lord’s leading. We were eager to  pursue him. We were also eager to connect with some  organization or denomination what would provide new  relationship, and would help us grow into the things of the  Lord. 

A friend had introduced me to MorningStar Ministries  and Rick Joyner’s teachings prior to our departure from the  denomination. I had begun to read The MorningStar Journal and  many of Rick’s books, and realized that many of the things  that I had learned in my study of the Bible, were truths that  Rick also affirmed. As I read Rick’s material, I began to  believe that we were working from the same biblical outline,  but I recognized that his outline was more detailed than mine.  So I began to explore the possibility of a relationship with  MorningStar. 

In May of 1995, Dawn and I rented a camper, packed up  our growing family, and travelled to Fort Mill, South Carolina  to experience a MorningStar conference together. I had  attended some conferences in 1994 without Dawn, and I  wanted to introduce her to this ministry. I was excited about  the biblical integrity that the MorningStar leaders displayed,  and the clear desire to pursue the Lord with all their might. I  wanted Dawn to be as excited as I was about MorningStar. I  wanted her to see what I saw in this ministry. 

When we arrived, I registered my family and received the  introductory packet of materials for the conference. While  reading through the material, I discovered a theological glitch 

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that I had not expected to discover in MorningStar’s material.  I was disturbed by it, but it didn’t diminish my interest in the  ministry. I deemed it an obvious enough problem that I  suspected the Lord could easily correct it. 

In my 1989 encounter with the Lord, he had challenged  me to study what the Bible said about finances and giving.  After five years of study, and having written a stewardship  program, I was pretty confident that I understood some basic  principles about giving. One of those basic principles is that  God wants people to give to him freely. That means that we  must do what we can to stay away from manipulation in order  that people can give freely and without compulsion. I had  noted a growing trend in Christian ministries to violate this  basic principle. Many ministries were beginning to manipulate  the people who supported them by giving incentives if they  gave a certain amount of money. Some ministries were giving  away items; some were giving away elite status. But it all  becomes a subtle manipulation intended to get donors to give  more money to the ministry. This type of giving is not about  freedom. It is about manipulation and compulsion. 

When I opened up the packet of MorningStar materials, I  saw that MorningStar had now done the same thing. They  offered status incentives for those who became financial  supporters of the ministry. If you gave a certain amount each  year, you could become a silver eagle, and if you gave more,  you could become a gold eagle giver. I don’t remember what  benefits were offered, or even what other levels there were. I  recognized that this was a departure for this ministry, and it  grieved me. I really wanted to connect to MorningStar, but I  also wanted to connect to a ministry from which I could 

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learn. I didn’t want to begin a relationship with disagreement  over such a basic issue. 

I am relating this story to show how firmly God  connected me to MorningStar Ministries and Rick Joyner, not  to discredit ministries who use this type of giving procedure. I  am sharing what I understand the Bible to say, and how  important it is to me. Because when the conference started,  God used this very issue to endear my heart to Rick Joyner. 

When the conference opened on Thursday morning, and  Rick stepped up to speak, the last thing I expected was any  discussion of the giving brochure that had bothered me. Yet  this is exactly where Rick started. He publicly repented for the  brochure, and explained that he had written it while he was  jet-lagged and dealing with too much or too little caffeine (I  can’t remember which). He clearly repudiated the brochure  and explained that it did not reflect God’s heart on the  matter. 

I sat in the audience awestruck. I had never seen such  integrity on display in such a public forum. I was enthralled  by the humility Rick displayed as he explained his mistake. At  that point, I was hooked. I wanted more of this type of  leadership and the life that flowed from it. It was as if God  had engineered this whole episode so that I could see into  Rick’s heart in a way that would normally have taken years of  relationship. In that moment, I was absolutely certain that this  was the place for our congregation. 

We soon connected with MorningStar through the  MorningStar Fellowship of Ministries (MFM), and several  years later we became the first MorningStar Fellowship  Church (MFC). This connection played a major role when  God began to speak to us about an approaching storm. He 

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was connecting us so that we had mature guidance when he  spoke to us about Satan’s plans for South Florida.

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Preparing For A New Dawn 

MorningStar Ministries became an important part of our  growth and development in the years immediately after our  departure from our former denomination. MorningStar’s  influence in our congregation’s life began in earnest at that  conference in May of 1995. God used that conference to  initiate a major change in our congregation. 

The conference had started on Thursday morning, but  because we had young children with us, Dawn and I could  not always be in the meetings together. However, on Friday  night, Dawn and I were able to attend the session together.  Thousands of people were packed into the auditorium on that  evening. A highly regarded prophetic minister was scheduled  to speak, and the atmosphere was electric with expectation.  We were caught up in the excitement, but did not really  understand its source. As the night wore on, we began to  understand. 

Near the end of the meeting, the prophetic minister  began to prophesy over some of the people in the audience.  He called people out of the audience by name, and gave them 

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insight or encouragement from the Lord. We were surprised  by how much detail the speaker shared about the lives of  these people he did not know. We had seen public ministry of  this type before, but never at this level of specific detail. The  thousands of us who were gathered in that auditorium knew  that the Lord was pouring out something special. It quickly  became something even more special for Dawn and I. 

As I think back on the moment that the speaker called  out our names, I am still a little awed. Thousands of people  were attending this conference. We knew no one. Yet the  Lord decided to use the prophetic minister to give us an  important message. He said, “Randal and Dawn, there is a  new dawn.”  

Dawn and I were so taken aback by being addressed; we  didn’t know what to do. We asked the people seated near us  for help. When they found out that we were the Randal and  Dawn who had been called, they told us that we had been  told to come to the front of the auditorium. So we walked to  the front, and those who were ministering prayed for us and  encouraged us. 

We did not have much of an idea what the speaker meant  by saying that there was a new dawn. We did know that he  had referred to Isaiah 60:1-3, but we did not know much else.  Isaiah 60:1-3 states, 

“Arise, shine, for your light has come,  

and the glory of the LORD rises upon  

you. See, darkness covers the earth and  

thick darkness is over the peoples, but  

the LORD rises upon you and his glory  

appears over you. Nations will come to 

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your light, and kings to the brightness of  

your dawn.” 

We understood that the new dawn had something to do with  Isaiah 60, and that this new dawn would be a marker  indicating that Isaiah 60 was coming to pass, but we did not  know much else. We knew God had given us direction, we  just didn’t know how to read the map yet. We didn’t have to  wait very long before the Lord sent someone to help us read  it. 

We left that conference convinced that we had found our  new ministry home, and excited for the future. We certainly  did not understand all the things that the Lord was doing, but  we knew he was up to something. We felt like we were  launching into something new with the Lord. 

When we got back to Coral Springs, we soon began to  wonder if our launch had been aborted. Within weeks of  returning home, our congregation began to go through a  sifting. I had been excitedly charging forward following the  direction that I believed God’s Spirit was leading. I had  assumed that our entire congregation felt the same way. I was  wrong. 

Several of our leaders began to question our direction and  focus. This cost us a great deal of momentum, and eventually  a number of families left the congregation. As I look back, I  can see that the Lord was clarifying our vision and focus.  However, when you are going through it, it is wrenching and  disheartening. Since I could still hear the echoes of my 1989 

encounter with the Lord, I didn’t whine about it. I knew I  needed to take what responsibility I could for any leadership  errors, and move on from there. But as a result of this “bump 

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in the road,” our congregation lost just enough members to  stretch our budget to the breaking point. Our future was not  looking good. We did not understand how the Lord was  preparing a new dawn. 

Just at that difficult juncture, a group of leaders from  another congregation in our city approached us and told us  that they were considering disbanding their congregation. We  had worked with this congregation during the previous years  on an effective youth outreach ministry in our city. As a  result, we had a good relationship with them. Their pastor  had resigned because of moral failure about six months  earlier. Since then, the remaining leaders had labored tirelessly  to keep things going, but they were being worn ragged. 

When they approached us, I felt one of those now  familiar nudges from the Lord that led me to do something  about the situation. I knew this was a good congregation.  They were from a Pentecostal background, but had pursued  independence from their denomination because of certain  doctrinal disagreements. I knew that we were compatible at  many levels, and felt we could work through the areas where  we did not mesh that well. So rather than agree that it might  be good for them to disband, I broached the topic of a  merger. They were pleased by the idea, and quickly warmed to  it. 

Anyone that has ever done a study of church mergers  knows that there is a right way to merge two churches, and  there is a wrong way to merge two churches. Those who have  done such studies would necessarily have concluded that ours  was the wrong way to merge a church. First, this should be a  slow and deliberate process. We moved quickly to schedule a  “worship together date” for the last Sunday in July, only 

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weeks later. Second, surveys and studies should be done to  make certain that congregational expectations and leadership  styles are merged in the best possible way. Discussions need  to center on the many needs of a merged congregation in  order to plan for a smooth transition. We did some of this,  but we took a couple weeks to discuss things that should have  taken a year. While our merger was not the most ill-conceived  idea in the history of the modern church, I believe that it  should at least receive honorable mention.  

It is easy to understand how bad an idea this was in  hindsight. We were a people forged through the unifying fire  of departing from a denomination. On top of that, our  congregation had just gone through the stress of seeing a  number of people leave because of doctrinal disagreement.  Those who remained were true believers in our mission and  purpose, and would not be moved from that path. Of course,  the other congregation had also gone through the same  unifying fire as they had departed from their denomination,  and the public fall of their pastor had unified those who  remained around their core values and purpose. We wanted to  merge the hardcore survivors from two different ministry  streams into something new. What could go wrong? 

The answer, of course, is that a lot could go wrong. The  recipe for conflict was built into both congregations’ DNA.  When you factor in the fact that the leadership of the other  congregation was exhausted, that they had been through  indescribable emotional turmoil and pain even as they had  faithfully carried out their duties, you can’t imagine that a  merger would work. Red flags of warning were waving over  this merger idea from the very beginning. In retrospect, it is 

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hard to imagine how this could have been part of God’s “new  dawn.” However, the Lord had some surprises in store. 

God Forges A New Dawn 

Our congregations met together to worship on the last  Sunday of July, 1995. The worship hall was filled with  excitement at the possibility of what could happen. People  from both congregations came early to see if God was up to  something. I don’t think that many us understood just how  audacious we were being, but that was probably a good thing.  

We came together on that Sunday not quite knowing  what to expect. We had called it a “worship date,” but we had  no clear plan on how to determine if this date should become  a marriage. We didn’t appreciate just how much the divine  matchmaker was working behind the scenes, and how  obvious he was about to make things. 

The Lord helped things along by bringing a prophetic  minister to our meeting that day. We had not met the man before this, and he did not know us. He was from the western United States, and had received his training from some  notable prophetic ministries there. He had come to our city  for business, and just happened to come to our meeting on  that Sunday morning. He was a veteran of prophetic ministry  who understood congregational life and protocol. When he  came into our meeting, and the worship started, the Lord  began to speak to him about his purposes for us. He quickly  wrote everything down on several pieces of paper, and  handed the papers to one of our leaders before the praise  songs had ended. He was making certain that it would be  apparent to everyone that what he had written was not  influenced by anything said or discussed in the meeting.

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Since I would be the pastor of a merged congregation, I  was scheduled to speak that morning. I shared a bit about  what God had been doing at my congregation. As part of the  message, I told everyone about the May conference, and how  we were checking to see if this merger was the “new dawn”  that God had promised. I shared Isaiah 60, and painted a  vision of a congregation formed by God as a sign that his  purposes in Isaiah 60 were being fulfilled. 

At the conclusion of my message, the prophetic minister  excitedly asked one of our leaders if he could speak to me.  That leader brought him to me and introduced him. They  briefly explained about the notes that he had written during  the praise songs, and told me I would want to see what was in  the notes. When I saw some of the things, I asked the  prophetic minister to read the notes to the congregation. He  shared several things, but one thing he had written that day  deserves special mention. He read from his paper, “The new  dawn is here. Isaiah 60—Arise shine for thy light has come,  and the glory of the Lord is risen in this place.”  

We had our new dawn. While the idea to merge the two  congregations did not appear the smartest thing to do, God  sealed it in such a profound way that we could not deny his  hand. New Dawn Community Church came into existence  three weekends later, on the third Sunday of August, 1995.  

Even with such a prophetic start, we still experienced the  normal bumps and bruises that are common to such mergers,  but the fact that God had so obviously confirmed our merger  helped us immensely. We were launching into our new dawn. 

The prophetic minister said many things on that Sunday  morning he was with us. One thing he said did not mean  much to us then, but it certainly makes sense now. He said, 

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“The Lord said that you are going to take this area by storm.”  With those words, the Lord foreshadowed a bit of our calling  and purpose as we entered into his new dawn. 

God had prepared a teacher. Now he brought a new  congregation into existence in order to carry out his purposes.  The Lord was forming a team that he would use to preserve  many lives. We didn’t know any of this yet, but he really was  going to use us to take the area by storm.

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STORM WARNINGS 

For the next three years after New Dawn was formed, the  Lord molded us into a team. He took the members of two  very different congregations and melded us together so that  we could have common vision. This did not happen without  the normal stress and tension of congregational life, but it did  happen.  

We were approaching our third anniversary as a  congregation when the Lord once again intervened in a way  that changed everything. This time, he not only changed how  we viewed ourselves, but also how we used our authority on  the earth. We knew he had given his Church the keys of the  Kingdom of Heaven, but like most Christians, we didn’t  understand the vast authority he intended to give us through  those keys. So he began to teach us. 

This storm odyssey began with a dream. Those of us who  are familiar with the Bible realize that dreams are one of the  Lord’s favorite forms of communications. That doesn’t mean  that every dream is from the Lord. In fact, many dreams  simply process the stresses of the day. Even so, the Lord still  uses this form of revelation to communicate to his people. 

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Since dreams are often metaphors, they need to be  interpreted. Both Joseph and Daniel needed to interpret  dreams for other people. In the same way, God’s people who  have the spiritual gift of interpretation are able to help  interpret the dreams of those who receive them today.  Because we were convinced that God still speaks through  dreams, we worked diligently to understand them. In those  first three years after we formed New Dawn, God developed  the gift of interpretation in our midst, so that we would be  prepared to take our area by storm. 

The Dreams 

During the early morning hours of August 11, 1998, I had a  vivid dream. It was so vivid that I can clearly remember it  today. In the dream, Dawn and I were standing outside of our  home. As I looked around, I saw that the sky was filled with  gray storm clouds. I knew that the clouds were from an  approaching hurricane. We had to decide whether to close  and lock our hurricane shutters or not. I had a strong  conviction that this hurricane was not going to hit, even  though the forecasters insisted that it would. In the end, I  closed the shutters out of prudence rather than conviction. I  didn’t believe that this storm was going to hit us. However, I  was convinced that there really was a hurricane coming to the  Fort Lauderdale area. 

When I awoke from the dream, I strongly suspected that  the dream had not been symbolic. I was certain that the  dream was about two literal hurricanes. The first hurricane  would appear such a threat that the weather forecasters would  advise us to prepare for it. However, this first storm would 

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not hit our area. But there was another storm coming that  would hit our area.  

I was so disturbed by the vividness of this dream, that I  didn’t attempt to fall back to sleep. Instead I got up to seek  the Lord about the dream. As I sought him, he gave me  confirmation that the dream was about literal hurricanes.  Since that was all the information I had, and it wasn’t much, I  asked the Lord to provide more information. I knew that if  this were important, he would certainly show us more.  

By 1998, we had lived in South Florida for over a decade.  Even though the Miami area just to our south had witnessed  Hurricane Andrew’s ferocity back in 1992, we still didn’t view  hurricanes as much of a threat. We just did not see many of  them. Of course, that would change during the next decade as  storms such as Charlie, Ivan, Jeanne, Dennis, Katrina, Rita,  and Wilma taught us a newfound respect. But back in 1998,  the Lord not only had to send us a warning about a hurricane,  he had to educate us about why this warning was important. 

He continued that education on August 20th, 1998, just  nine days after I had asked him for more insight into what he  was telling us about hurricanes. On that day, a tropical storm  named Bonnie formed in the Atlantic Ocean. Also on that  day, the Lord gave Dawn a dream about the two hurricanes  that he had shown to me. She didn’t realize that she had  dreamed about two hurricanes. She thought she had dreamed  about her two sisters.  

Dawn’s two sisters are Bonnie and Irene. Both of Dawn’s  sisters live in the Midwest. Dawn dreamed that her sister  Bonnie was going to come for a visit. However, at the last  minute she could not come. Instead, Dawn’s sister Irene came  to visit by surprise.

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There was a bit more to the dream than this, but I’ve  captured the pertinent points. As Dawn told me the dream, I  understood parts of what it meant. I knew that a storm  named Bonnie had just developed in the Atlantic. The  National Hurricane Center had begun providing alerts, and  the news stations were urging Floridians to pay close  attention to this storm. Based upon Dawn’s dream, I  concluded that it might appear that tropical storm Bonnie  wanted to visit, but that it would not. I did not have a lot of  time to do further interpretation, since I was in North  Carolina at a conference when she told me the dream. I  simply told her to tell the congregation that Bonnie might  threaten South Florida, but it would not hit us. 

We didn’t realize the significance of this bit of  information until several days later. By then, tropical storm  Bonnie had become a hurricane, and had swelled to  monstrous proportions. As it began to meander close to  Florida, South Florida’s population began to get nervous.  Because of Dawn’s dream, we were able to encourage our  congregation and tell them that we did not believe this storm  would hit us. Of course, we also encouraged them to be  prepared in case we misunderstood the meaning of the  dream. When Bonnie turned away from us, we rejoiced that  we had understood the dream correctly, and we took one step  closer to understanding what God was saying to us about the  storm that would hit.  

Since Hurricane Bonnie had looked like she wanted to  come for a visit, but she had not, we realized that we needed  to understand the rest of Dawn’s dream. Was there an Irene  in our near future?

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The National Hurricane Center posts the list of future  hurricane names on its web page. I didn’t realize this at first,  but as I began to research the rest of Dawn’s dream, I found  that list of names. As I looked through the names scheduled  for 1998 storms, I was relieved to see that there was no Irene.  I didn’t quite know what the rest of Dawn’s dream might  mean, but I realized it did not mean that we would see a  storm named Irene in 1998. 

As I left the list of 1998 storm names, I noticed that there  was also a list for 1999. When I checked this list, I was less  than happy to find out that there was an Irene in the list for  1999. Based upon my understanding of the two dreams so far,  I was almost certain that there would be a Hurricane Irene in  1999. I also knew that it would visit our area unexpectedly,  since Dawn’s sister of the same name had visited  unexpectedly in her dream. 

Since God was directing my attention to it a year in  advance, I knew we had time to gather more information.  Even though I believed that I had found a significant piece of  information, and even though I believed that the Lord might  be warning us that a hurricane named Irene could be hitting  us by surprise in 1999, I didn’t tell anyone. I didn’t believe I  had enough information to do much about it. Both dreams  had spoken in a way that let me know that a first storm would  miss, and a second storm would hit. Dawn’s dream had given  me a name, and the National Hurricane Center directed me to  the year for that second storm. But I needed a lot more than  this in order to do something about it. So I began to ask the  Lord to give us more information, and without telling my  congregation why, I asked them to forward any dreams that  might have to do with storms. I was hoping that the Lord 

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would speak to some of our congregation members in order  to give us more clarity. He met that hope beyond all my  expectations. 

The Lord began to pour out many dreams to the  members of our congregation. On October 2, 1998, a twelve year-old member of our congregation had an amazing dream.  She did not know that we were seeking information about  storms, but when she told her mother the dream, her mother  forwarded it to me. 

In the dream, the young lady and a friend were walking  along a road in Deerfield Beach, a small city in the northeast  corner of Broward County about ten miles to the northeast of  our city. As she and her friend were walking, they surveyed  the damage that a hurricane had done to that area. They saw  many houses that were torn apart. Everywhere they walked 

they saw extreme damage. As they passed a hotel near the  ocean, they saw beds and other things from the hotel in the  street and on the beach. The damage was overwhelming.  

When they walked back to the friend’s home, she noted  that it was painted yellow, a strange detail since her friend’s  home was not yellow in waki


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