Greg Laurie’s Harvest Festival Carries Tradition of Texas Revivals, Historian Says

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Pastor Greg Laurie’s annual Harvest festival is part of a long history of revival events in the southern state of Texas, historian Larry Eskridge says ahead of the stadium event in March.

Laurie, who heads Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California, is currently preparing to host the 25th annual Harvest Crusade at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on March 6.

As the megachurch pastor prepares for the massive Christian conference, historian and revival expert Larry Eskridge has stressed the historic importance of holding this year’s crusade event in Texas, which has a long history of evangelical awakenings.

Posting on his personal blog on Wednesday, Laurie shared a recent article written by Eskridge for Worship Leader Magazine that connects Texas’ rich evangelical history with the Harvest Crusades.

In his article, Eskridge notes several historic evangelical revivals that took place in Texas, including early Camp Meetings, in which families would camp out in the same area for a week and meet with preachers, and EXPLO in 1972 that attracted thousands of young evangelicals who gathered for music, training and worship.

Eskridge writes in his article that Laurie’s Harvest festival is an important 21st century representation of the many revival periods Texas has experienced in the past.

Laurie’s festival reminds Christians of the importance of Jesus in the modern world, Eskridge asserts, writing: “But the questions about life and God’s ultimate purpose for mankind that will echo through the minds of those in attendance are surely not so different from the ones their forbears asked in those Texas camp meetings, brush arbors, and revivals in days past.”

The California pastor has preached about the importance of revival in the past, calling on Christians to seek out God and ask for forgiveness during a National Day of Prayer event in Washington, D.C. in 2013.

During his speech, Laurie said that now more than ever revival is needed in the United States, pointing to “trouble in our culture today” that includes the “breakdown of the family, crippling addictions, and random acts of horrific violence.”

Laurie added at the event that he prays that America experience another great spiritual awakening so it may change its course.

“Lord, in Your mercy, we ask that You would exalt our country again. We have had a number of great awakenings in America. We have experienced times of refreshing, and revivals that changed not only the spiritual but also the moral landscape,” Laurie told the audience.

“That is our prayer for America today, Lord. Send a mighty spiritual awakening that will turn the hearts of men and women, boys and girls back to you. You have told us if we will humble ourselves and pray, and seek Your face and turn from our wicked ways, that You will forgive our sins and heal our land,” the pastor added.
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If MY people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. ~2 Chronicles 7:14

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Planned Parenthood Board Member Works in Office of D.A. Who Indicted David Daleiden

As LifeNews reported Monday, a Texas grand jury has ignored the videos exposing a Houston-based Planned Parenthood abortion clinic caught selling aborted baby body partsand has instead indicted the man behind producing the expose’ videos.

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The Texas grand jury indicted David Daleiden and another pro-life activist, Sandra Merritt, behind the videos. Instead of prosecuting Planned Parenthood for selling aborted baby parts, Daleiden was indicted for buying them.

Daleiden and Merritt were charged with one felony related to tampering with a governmental record and a misdemeanor count related to buying human tissue. The felony charge was in reference to the use of a fake ID. If convicted, Daleiden faces 20 years in prison while Planned Parenthood officials face no legal consequences for their actions.

SIGN THE PETITION: Drop the Charges Against David Daleiden and Charge Planned Parenthood

At the same time, Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson (pictured) announced that Harris County’s investigation into the criminal conduct at Houston’s Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast has ended.  Anderson said that the case is closed and that she has no further recourse.

The announcement of the closure of the Planned Parenthood investigation and indictment of Daldiden is very concerning for pro-life advocates — in part because a Planned Parenthood board member works as a prosecutor in the district attorney’s office.

The pro-life group Operation Rescue informed LifeNews.com that a prosecutor in the Harris County District Attorney’s office serves on the Board of Directors for Planned Parenthood.

Lauren Reeder is a prosecutor in the Harris County District Attorney’s criminal family law division. She apparently notified District Attorney Devon Anderson of her role with Planned Parenthood last week. Reeder is listed as a non-compensated “Director” on the 990 Tax Form for 2014 filed by Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast.

Anderson told the Houston Chronicle that Reeder “will not be involved in any manner in this investigation. If at any time in the future, reliable and credible information is brought to my attention that would question our ability to continue to perform a fair, thorough and independent investigation of this matter due to her board membership, I will revisit the issue of seeking the appointment of an independent prosecutor and act accordingly.”

Before yesterday’s announcement of the indictment, Operation Rescue President Troy Newman, who also serves on the Board of the Center for Medical Progress, which released videotaped evidence against Planned Parenthood, told LifeNews.com a special prosecutor is needed because of the clear conflict of interest at the D.A.’s office.

“Today, we renew our call to Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and District Attorney Devon Anderson to appoint an independent special prosecutor to investigate Planned Parenthood,” Newman told LifeNews. “There are too many questions about the independence of the Harris County District Attorney’s office with a Planned Parenthood board member on hand and given the failure of a previous grand jury under Anderson to indict a Houston abortion provider despite ample photographic evidence and eye-witness testimony of late-term babies being born alive and intentionally killed. The public needs to be assured that an impartial investigation will be conducted on the facts and not on a personal political agenda.”

Today, Cheryl Sullenger, Senior Vice President of Operation Rescue is incensed that Daleiden was charged and that the grand jury’s work was politically motivated. Here is her statement to LifeNews:

We were disappointed, to say the least, by the news that a grand jury chose to indict the investigative journalists who were trying to expose and report crimes in Houston, Texas. This has the effect of chilling the First Amendment freedom of the press and could scare crime witnesses away from coming forward for fear that they might suffer similar retaliatory prosecution.

Because of the secrecy surrounding the grand jury process, it is susceptible to manipulation by a prosecutor with a personal or political agenda. In Kansas, abortion-related grand juries were so influenced by unscrupulous prosecutors who sought to cover up abortion crimes that the State Legislature is now attempting to change the laws to make the process more transparent and accountable to the people.

In Daleiden’s case, once the facts are allowed to come out, which Planned Parenthood and the NAF have worked night and day to conceal or misrepresent, we have every confidence that Daleiden and Merritt will be completely exonerated. In the meantime, Planned Parenthood remains under investigation by other state agencies in Texas, which we believe will reach different conclusions than that of the Anderson-influenced grand jury in Houston.

Meanwhile, a top pro-life attorney finds the conflict of interest very concerning.

“What happened in Texas is very troubling,” said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ, which is involved in defending human life. “By giving Planned Parenthood a pass and indicting two pro-life journalists who merely revealed this horrific practice through their undercover work, the action of this local grand jury raises serious questions about the appropriate use of our legal system.”

Sekulow added: “When you consider the fact that one of the prosecutors in the Harris County district attorney’s office is deeply involved with Planned Parenthood – serving as a board member for the local Planned Parenthood affiliate in Texas where the undercover investigation took place – along with the fact that she has served as an active fundraiser for Planned Parenthood for years – you have to ask the question – was this probe tainted? Was there a conflict of interest that produced a biased result?”

Other investigations into Planned Parenthood’s actions are still underway and officials in Texas say the grand jury action will have no bearing on their probe as it continues to move forward.

“The fact remains that the videos exposed the horrific nature of abortion and the shameful disregard for human life of the abortion industry,” said Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

 

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BREAKING: Grand jury indicts pro-life investigator behind baby part videos, clears Planned Parenthood

Updated at 7:54 p.m. EST to include a statement from the Center for Medical Progress.

HOUSTON, January 25, 2016 LifeSiteNews – The lead investigator behind the undercover Planned Parenthood videos faces up to 20 years in prison after a Houston grand jury decided on Monday not to charge Planned Parenthood with any wrongdoing – and instead indicted him for offering to purchase human organs from the abortion provider.

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Center for Medical Progress lead investigator David Daleiden faces a second-degree felony charge of “tampering with a governmental record,” and a misdemeanor charge for violating the state’s “prohibition of the purchase and sale of human organs.”

That is, jurors in the state of Texas are accusing David Daleiden of trying to illegally traffic in aborted babies’ body parts.

The jurors pressed the same charges against Sandra Merritt, who claimed to be “Susan Tennenbaum,” the CEO of BioMax, on its incorporation papers.

Texas state law only allows someone to be charged with such a serious felony “if the actor’s intent in committing the offense was to defraud or harm another.”

That felony charge alone carries a punishment of not less than two, and not more than 20 years in prison, and a fine of up to $10,000.

Ironically, the investigation began after Daleiden and Merritt posed as business associates eager to pay Planned Parenthood to furnish human body parts that its fictitious company would use in scientific experiments – something they hoped would expose the abortion industry’s criminal wrongdoing.

URGENT: Sign the petition to the Harris County Grand Jury urging them to drop the charges against David Daleiden and his associates. Click here.

Their cameras caught the director of research for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, Melissa Farrell, seemingly admitting to multiple felonies and ethics violations, including making a profit from human organ trafficking and altering the abortion process unnecessarily in order to get “the best specimens.”

“If we alter our process, and we are able to obtain intact fetal cadavers,” she said in the fifth CMP video, which also featured the dissection of a 20-week-old aborted baby inside its Houston abortion facility. “We bake that into our contract, and our protocol, that…we deviate from our standard [of care] in order to do that.”

Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick demanded officials launch an investigation into the “appalling” footage last July.

Governor Greg Abbott moved to expel the abortion provider from the state Medicaid system last October. Officials from the Office of Inspector General raided multiple Planned Parenthood offices statewide, as well.

Instead, jurors turned their guns on Daleiden.

Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson, who was appointed to her position in 2013 by Governor Rick Perry after her husband’s death, said she supported the grand jury’s decision.

“We were called upon to investigate allegations of criminal conduct by Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast,” Anderson said in a medial statement. “As I stated at the outset of this investigation, we must go where the evidence leads us. All the evidence uncovered in the course of this investigation was presented to the grand jury.”

“I respect their decision on this difficult case,” Anderson said.

Planned Parenthood officials in the Lone Star State said the Houston grand jury had vindicated them. “The people behind this fraud lied and broke the law in order to spread malicious lies about Planned Parenthood to advance their extreme anti-abortion political agenda,” said Melaney Linton, the CEO of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast. “As the dust settles and the truth comes out, it’s become totally clear that the only people who engaged in wrongdoing are the criminals behind this fraud, and we’re glad they are being held accountable.”

Notwithstanding the Harris County indictment, the state investigation into Planned Parenthood will continue, officials say.

“The Health and Human Service Commission’s Inspector General and the Attorney General’s office have an ongoing investigation into Planned Parenthood’s actions,” said Gov. Abbott in a press release Monday. “Nothing about today’s announcement in Harris County impacts the state’s ongoing investigation.”

“The state of Texas will continue to protect life, and I will continue to support legislation prohibiting the sale or transfer of fetal tissue,” he vowed.

CMP defended itself from the allegations Monday evening. “We respect the processes of the Harris County District Attorney, and note that buying fetal tissue requires a seller, as well,” the group said. “Planned Parenthood still cannot deny the admissions from their leadership about fetal organ sales captured on video for all the world to see.”

Pro-life advocates said the decision to indict someone for the very practice he exposed turned reality on its head. Sean Davis, the co-founder of The Federalist website, tweeted:

https://twitter.com/seanmdav/status/691743556483047424?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

His reference is to Kafka’s work The Trial, a legal dystopian story in which the accused is assumed to be guilty from the outset.

URGENT: Sign the petition to the Harris County Grand Jury urging them to drop the charges against David Daleiden and his associates. Click here.

Contact:

Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson
E-mail: da@dao.hctx.net
Phone: (713) 274-5800

 

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Texas Defunds Planned Parenthood

By Heather Clark

Officials in Texas have decided to defund the abortion giant Planned Parenthood, declaring that the state is pulling its Medicaid funding out of belief that the organization is “no longer capable of performing medical services in a professionally competent, safe, legal, and ethical manner.”

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission sent a letter to Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast on Monday, providing the entity with a notice of termination.

“There is reliable information indicating a pattern of illegal billing practices by Planned Parenthood affiliates, including you, across the state,” the letter reads. “Our prima facie case of fraud is supported by related cases involving fraudulent practices identified by whistleblowers from inside the Texas Planned Parenthood network.”

It points to two federal lawsuits that had been settled for millions after whistleblowers came forward about false Medicaid claims that had been filed.

Without specifically mentioning the Center for Medical Progress, the Commission also references undercover video footage showing representatives from a Texas Planned Parenthood facility discussing its willingness to alter abortion procedures to remove deceased children whole.

“The videos indicate that you follow a policy of agreeing to procure fetal tissue even if it means altering the timing or method of an abortion. These practices violate accepted medical standards, as reflected in federal law, and are Medicaid program violations that justify termination,” the letter reads.

It further notes that the organization violated safety protocols surrounding the spread of infectious diseases.

“Specifically, you allowed individuals posing as commercial buyers of fetal body parts to handle bloody fetal tissue while wearing only gloves,” the Commission outlines.

Planned Parenthood has 30 days to request a resolution meeting before the termination becomes final.

“Texas has stepped forward and shown its unyielding commitment to both protecting life and providing women’s health services,” said Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Roman Catholic, in a statement following the issuance of the letter.

“The gruesome harvesting of baby body parts by Planned Parenthood will not be allowed in Texas and the barbaric practice must be brought to an end,” he said. “As such, ending the Medicaid participation of Planned Parenthood affiliates in the State of Texas is another step in providing greater access to safe healthcare for women while protecting our most vulnerable—the unborn.”

As previously reported, a video released in August by the Center for Medical Progress captured Melissa Farrell, director of research for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, discussing with undercover investigators the “diversification of the revenue stream” over dinner along with a visit to the organization’s pathology lab, where workers sort through the remains of aborted babies.

“If we alter our process and we are able to obtain intact fetal cadavers, then we can make it part of the budget, that any dissections are this, and splitting the specimens into different shipments is this,” she explained. “I mean, it’s all just a matter of line items.”

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