Wouldn’t you know my accountant talked me into liquidating all my investments—401k and all—last spring when the Dow was around 8,000. Good thing I hardly had anything left to bother with anyway.

 

As the stock market approaches 10,000 again, I wonder, “How long?” Just this past July Jordan warned us in his series of “Winter” seminars that with the economy “there will be a little dead-cat bounce—we’re going through it right  now—and then in the Fall of ’09 there will be the real the dead-cat bounce when the dead cat goes back down and doesn’t bounce back up.”

 

Jordan had started this particular study by giving us a synopsis of sorts on demographic trends guru Harry S. Dent’s latest book, “The Great Depression Ahead; How to Prosper in the Crash Following the Greatest Boom in History.”

 

“In the year 2000, Dent took this generational cycle we’ve been talking about and applied it to economics, wrote a book he called ‘The Roaring 2000s’, and said the decade of the 2000s is going to be just like the decade of the ’20s.

 

“In 2000, he predicted the economic collapse in the Fall of ’08. He’s predicting that this is going be the biggest decade in any of our memories economically. He’s saying the current economic distresses won’t be over until 2019. Why? Because it took it that long before to get over. He said there’ll be an Oct. 1929 crash—we had that—and there will be massive government intervention that will do no good.

 

“We’re going to see that that’s true. Employment back then was 25%; he’s predicting it will be 12% this time. Dent takes that kind of understanding and says, ‘Okay, this is what it was like then—the massive infusement of government money, massive infusement of government takeover of the economy, the massive infusement of the social welfare program.’

 

“In the ’30s, the big government takeover was Social Security. ‘We’re going to take care of your retirement!’ Now what are they going to take over? Health care! You can beat your chest all you want to about how, ‘We won’t let it happen!’ and you’ll just be like the birds back there. I’m sorry. You can expect it to repeat itself.”

 

*****

 

Throughout the Bible are verses indicative of the fact that the way God set things up to operate is cyclical. Life is to function in cycles that are designed to be seasonal.

 

As Genesis 8:22 guarantees, “While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

 

In one of Solomon’s most oft-quoted passages—lifted wholesale for the Byrds rock classic “Turn! Turn! Turn!”—the Old Testament’s great sage of wisdom writes in his unparalleled masterpiece on philosophy, the Book of Ecclesiastes, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
[2] A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
[3] A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
[4] A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
[5] A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
[6] A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
[7] A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
[8] A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.”

 

Jordan explains, “The basic fundamental cycle of life lasts for about 80-100 years and it’s going to match the phases of humans life. Your life goes through certain seasons—childhood, young adult, mid-life, eldership—and the seasons of your life are what cause the culture around you to have a seasonal impact. Within your life of a season and in the culture around you, there are other cycles that get involved there.

 

“For years I looked at the verse in Genesis 8: 22 about ‘summer and winter, hot and cold,’ and thought, ‘Well, that’s saying the same thing isn’t it?’ and I tried to figure out why in the world he would repeat himself that way. Finally it dawned on me he’s telling you there’s going to be more than one cycle inside of another cycle. In other words, you’re going to have cycles that work inside of other cycles.”

 

*****

 

When looking at the seasons of a nation, the key to remember is that when the season begins, it develops a personality based on the particular generation coming into adulthood or “coming of age.”

 

Jordan explains, “When you get over into wintertime, the wars are all decisive—they’re fought to a massive conclusion—and the conclusion changes everything in the nation, and when you come of age in that time of spiritual upheaval, that’s what gives your generation its personality.

 

“We older folks like to say, ‘If things keep going the way they’re going, we’re going to hell in a hand basket,’ but they don’t. If one generation goes along like this, what does the next generation do? How do your kids respond when you tell them to do something? They go, ‘You said do A; I think I’ll try B.’ ”

 

*****

 

The catalyst for our current move from summer to winter was 9/11 and the event immediately changed the psyche of the nation, if not so much the overall economy.

 

Jordan says, “It was a change like Dec. 7, 1941. It was a change like Oct. 9, 1929. It was a change like a day in November, 1860. It was like a day in July of 1776. We’ve been here before.

 

“The key to understanding what’s ahead is to understand what’s behind and the reason the cycles are important is because time isn’t made up of a dot or a line; it’s made up of a dot and a line that’s drawn in a circle.

 

“If you lose the dot, you lose the moment. You lose personal accountability for your life. But if you lose the line, you’re not going anywhere, because if you’re in the dot, you’re just there—you got no goals, you got no movement, no cause, no effect. It’s just existence.

 

“You put a lot of dots together and you’ve got a line. But if all you have is a line, you go from here to there. That’s the way the Western world thinks. That’s the way Gentiles think. From here to there we make progression.

 

“You get value systems from that. That’s where you get the idea of ownership of property and so forth. People who live in the chaotic point of a dot, they have no concept of property ownership. There are whole cultures that live in that pattern of time.

 

“The generation in the summer is going to respond in an opposite direction from the generation in the spring. That’s going to make the line bend. The generation in the fall is going to respond to the generation in the summer the same way.

 

“If you keep bending the line, you get a circle. The key to the circle thing is it helps you perceive where you are. If I’m in the spring here, then the fall, then the winter, what comes after winter? Spring. If I want to know what spring is like, do I look at the season I just got out of? I look at the season I’m in.

 

“If everything that’s ever gonna happen is like in wintertime, or what’s like in summer, which is what we just got out of and it’s what you’re most familiar with because you just lived through 20 years of it . . .  some of you have never lived in any season but summer in your conscious memory. Now, a few of you have lived through a winter before but you have to be over 75 years old.

 

“When they were last in the winter, they were in childhood, but now in their eldership they will have some memory. You see, the way it works is we get to go through each season once in our life.

 

“The most exciting, the most decisive, the most powerful season of the whole cycle is winter. It changes everything. It’s where everything is determined for the next cycle. That’s why winter is so critical and so wonderful.

 

“And my own personal, private, subjective, personal prejudice is I’m glad I’ll be in my eldership when I go through it. I’m glad I won’t be a child. I’d be happy if I was in mid-life, but I’m really satisfied to be moving into eldership because there’s a ‘constellation’ of where people are in wintertime that allows the people in eldership to have really the real impact that elders are designed to have. Every other season fights them.”

 

*****

 

Jordan continues, “What makes winter is the arrangement of the ‘cohort constellations.’ If I want to know what winter’s going to be like, I don’t want to make the mistake of looking at summer or at fall. That’s what everybody’s doing today! It’s that mentality of, ‘Except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved.’ (Matt. 24:22)

 

“There’s not a politician I can find—I don’t find sociologists, only one or two economists, nobody in the church, and, God help us, nobody in what we call ‘evangelical fundamentalism’! You know where evangelicalism gets their ideas? Contemporary Christian music. It’s the 1980s version of rock music. They’re 25 years late. They’re so yesterday. They’re so last century!

 

“If I want to know what winter is going to be like, I need to go look at the last wintertime, not the last season or the season I’m in! Our tendency naturally is to think everything’s going to be like the season we’re in, especially when you’re at the end of a season, because for 20 years it’s been this way and we have a short attention span.

 

“I actually hear people on the radio pining for Ronald Reagan. That was the last turning; the early ’80s, when we turned from summer to fall. And it’s what’s called ‘an American high.’ People have absolutely no idea why—they think it was Ronnie and his Reaganomics or whatever it was he did. That had nothing to do with it! He could have been blind and couldn’t see out of the other and the same things were going to happen that happened!

 

“Every fall season is identified as ‘culture wars.’ You know that? The greatest culture wars in our history didn’t take place in the ’80s and ’90s; they took place in the 1800s.

 

“If you look at the events that sparked previous winters—the American Revolution, the Civil War, WW II—what element is the same in all three of those titles? War. The wintertime is a dangerous time.

 

“Wars are fought in every season, but wars fought in springtime are generally fought to a standoff and don’t come to any resolution. Look at the Korean War or the War of 1812.

 

“Wars in the summertime are wars that are pointless. After their fought, you can’t figure out what you were fighting for. Vietnam. The Spanish-American War. Why did we need the Philippines? You don’t even remember that’s what the Spanish-American War was about, do you?”

 

*****

 

What is most inspiring to me when looking at my church’s future ministry potential in Chicago is that Jordan’s predecessor, J.C. O’Hair, made his mark as a national figure—complete with a daily radio show that still stands as the longest-running radio program next to Amos and Andy!—during the last winter.

 

O’Hair came to Chicago around 1920 and was made the leader of North Shore Church at the corner of Wilson Avenue and Sheridan Road in 1923. The heyday of the O’Hair Era was from 1929-1946 and he died in 1958 at 82 years old. Shorewood Bible Church is the inheritor of the North Shore legacy at gets its name from the merging of North Shore and Norwood Bible Church.

 

“People say, ‘Boy, there’s never been a day for the Grace Movement in America like the O’Hair era,’ but do you realize his ministry was in the last winter?” says Jordan.