Repentance is greatly under valued in the modern church world. Identificational repentance even more so and yet repentance was the message that laid the foundation for the operation of the power of God in the New Testament.
The message of John the Baptist was “repent for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.”Jesus message was the same, repent for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Both of these messages were accompanied by open displays of the power of God.
Peter continued the call to repentance in the book of Acts chapter 2 when he said “Repent… and save yourselves from this perverse generation,” hardly a message that would see him invited to speak in many modern day churches, and yet this message released the power of God for the salvation of 3,000 souls.
In the Book of Revelation Jesus Christ called five of the seven churches to repentance, which would indicate, looking at statistical odds, that you and I need to activate repentance in our lives 71% of the time. Certainly a sobering thought to say the least. Repentance literally means in the Greek to ‘have a change of mind and turn around’. But it is not just a state of the mind but a state of the heart. It has a lot to do with humility.
Nowhere is this more exemplified than when the prophet Isaiah, who we understand was a righteous man, prophesying against the evil of his day, spoke out regarding his own state: “Woe is me for I am ruined, I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell amongst a people with unclean lips.” In doing so he at the least identified with sinfulness of the people of his own generation and asked God for cleansing.
The prophet Daniel who is one of the few bible characters who had no known sin recorded against him took it one step further in identificational repentance when he prayed to God in Daniel 9:5 “We have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled.”
This was the thought at the forefront of my mind when I learned of the evil behaviour of Australian citizens in San Francisco who arguably laid the foundation of evil that San Francisco was built on in the early days of the gold rush in the 1850’s. I learned this from two Australian prayer warriors Merv and Sharon Stevenson who had spent several weeks in July 2015 researching and repenting for Australia’s contribution to organised crime, prostitution, sex trafficking, murder and mayhem in the early days of San Francisco.
The port area which was the hub of the city of San Francisco and the vice capital for the city was known as Sydney Town from 1850 -1865. It later became known as the Barbary Coast, but the continuing predominance of Australian immigrants in the criminal activities was a well known fact.
In the book “The Barbary Coast – An Informal History of the San Francisco Underworld”, USA crime historian Herbert Asbury said “The villainous inhabitants of Sydney-Town were popularly called Sydney Ducks or Sydney Coves, but more often the former. It was a common saying in early San Francisco whenever a particularly atrocious crime was committed, that ‘the Sydney Ducks were cackling in the pond’. Unquestionably, these foreign felons gave San Francisco’s underworld its initial flavour; they were the pioneers in the viciousness and depravity for which the Barbary Coast became famous, and the echo of their unholy cackling was not stilled for more than half a century.”
I was shocked, to say the least, as I had been one of those who had pointed my finger in judgement at San Francisco, but typically I now found three fingers of my hand pointing back at me and my forbears. I was born in Sydney Australia and I had always thought that Sydney, being a sister city of San Francisco since 1967, had influenced us in a bad way.
Imagine my surprise to learn that it was us in Australia that had laid the foundation for San Francisco to become the immorality capital of the world in the sixties and seventies. Knowing that we were on our way to speak at the World Congress of Families in Utah, Alison and I felt it was time to ask the people of San Francisco for forgiveness and repent on behalf of our fathers and say sorry for their sins, not to mention my own spiritual pride.
On 31st October another Australian, my wife Alison and I gathered with seven other local intercessors from the San Francisco House of Prayer, led by Anne Trumbo. We also had Ps Jeff Daly from the USA Day of Repentance and David Bereit the Director of 40 Days for Life representing Christian ministries from all over the USA.
We prayer-walked the downtown area and then met on the 11th floor of the Trans America Pyramid, overlooking San Francisco. A kind Christian businessman gave us access to an ‘upper room’. We conducted a communion service together and we declared the forgiveness found in and through the blood of Jesus Christ the Lamb of God and jointly blessed San Francisco.
Our Australian brother, with Alison and I, washed an American brother’s feet in heartfelt repentance and asked and received forgiveness from those present on behalf of Australia. We expected God to do something but we were truly caught by surprise by what God was about to do.
San Francisco, and California, has been gripped in a record breaking four year drought, but I did not have the faith to pray for an end to the drought. My belief in the unmerited favour found in the blood of Jesus Christ and the supernatural implication of true repentance was far too limited. Thankfully God’s grace is bigger than my own judgemental attitudes.
We were to witness the first part of the miracle first hand when rain began to fall within 24 hours of our repentance service in what turned out to be the largest fall of rain in San Francisco for 9 months. The good news is that San Francisco has had several more showers of rain that would appear to herald the end of one of the worst droughts on record.
Even more amazing is that at exactly the same date we were having our combined repentance service in San Francisco, Saturday 31st October, rain began to fall at Barcaldine in central Queensland in the northern part of Australia. This area was also the centre of a record breaking four year drought which has gripped central Queensland.
Over the next two days Barcaldine recorded its greatest monthly rainfall on record. Better still more rain has fallen since and more is forecast in short term forecasts. The same is the case in northern California. It would seem that in both areas the weather patterns have changed and all things point to better days ahead in both locations.
We cannot yet say the drought is over as we need 6-12 months of good soaking rain for that to occur. What we can say authoritatively is that both regional areas of our respective nations received an extraordinary outpouring of the grace of God within 24 hours of a combined Australian and USA repentance service being held in San Francisco. The scripture says that we serve a merciful God who sends the rain on the just and the unjust. God is Good!!!!!
It is our conviction that this rain is a miraculous display of the power of God’s love released as a consequence of heartfelt repentance between our respective nations as found in 2 Chronicles 7:14 As the scripture says, “Where sin abounds there does much more Grace bound.”
We pray that this natural rain is a sign of the supernatural rains of revival that the USA and Australia so desperately need. Let’s continue to pray for more rain which is still desperately needed.
Lets continue to pray and agree to covenant together to pray for revival and reformation for the USA and Australia. Soli Deo Gloria!
Much love Warwick & Alison Marsh
Season’s first storm brings hope to drought-weary California
By Kurtis Alexander
November 2, 2015
The biggest rainstorm in more than six months put a stranglehold on the Bay Area’s commute Monday, but the slippery roads were a welcome site for Californians eager to see wildfire warnings and sprinkler bans replaced with wet skies and reports of snow on Tahoe mountains.
As much as 1½ inches of rain fell in parts of the East Bay and South Bay. Drivers performed as if they hadn’t been on slick roads in awhile, and freeways backed up behind a dizzying number of fender-benders in the morning.
One truck overturned and spilled frozen chickens across Interstate 580 in Livermore, while another dumped lumber onto Highway 101 in San Rafael. A third sprayed about 4,000 nails into traffic on the Dumbarton Bridge.
In parts of the Sierra, nearly a foot of snow fell and stuck to the arid slopes. Forecasters said skies were likely to clear up by Tuesday, but not before the storm provided at least a little relief for a state exhausted by four years of drought.
The historic fire season that destroyed hundreds of homes this year lost some of its punch in the downpour that began Sunday, officials said, prompting many California counties to lift bans on controlled burns. At least one drought-stricken city even cast aside its water restrictions for the year, though regulators say conservation must from now on be ever-present and not seasonal.
“This is a good start to November,” said Bob Benjamin, a forecaster for the National Weather Service. “It was sort of a typical winter weather pattern but it had a little bit more rain than we anticipated. We just need to keep it up.”
With a strong El Niño brewing in the Pacific Ocean, California is expected to see wetter-than-average weather this winter, starting sometime in December. But few forecasters are counting on drought-busting rains before then — and even a big rain year likely won’t erase the water-supply deficit wrought by the drought.
The Tri-Valley communities of Pleasanton, Dublin and San Ramon, which have enacted some of the state’s strictest water policies because of scarce supplies, said they have no plans yet to relax their rules.
“We’re so far behind in terms of drought that a good rainstorm is great, but it’s not going to solve the problem,” said Sue Stephenson, spokeswoman for the Dublin San Ramon Services District.
But the city of Santa Cruz, which has also experienced severe water shortages, said last week that residents were conserving enough to allow it to suspend its water rationing policy, which included limiting customers to 249 gallons a day and issuing stiff fines to violators.
State firefighting officials said the rains were helpful. Cal Fire is beginning to look at reducing staffing levels for the season, though only by a matter of degree. After four dry years, fire season has become a virtually year-round affair.
“We’re looking a lot better than we were a month ago, but we still have significant drought conditions,” said Scott McLean, a Cal Fire spokesman. “We’re still not out of the woods.”
Many firefighters have shifted into preparing the fire-ravaged landscape for winter storms. Lake County’s Valley Fire and the Butte Fire in Amador and Calaveras counties, which destroyed a cumulative 1,800 homes in September, left roads and neighborhoods vulnerable to mudslides. Crews have been working to stabilize hillsides and clear creeks and culverts in these areas.
On Monday, a flash flood warning was issued for Lake County.
This week’s storm is expected to give way to sunny skies for the foreseeable future. Forecasters, though, expect slightly cooler temperatures to linger in the wake of the system that plowed in out of the Gulf of Alaska.
As of Monday afternoon, Livermore had reported 1.39 inches of rain, while San Jose saw 1.14 inches and Monterey logged 1.7 inches, according to the National Weather Service. San Francisco reported 0.53 inches.
Daniel Swain, a climate researcher at Stanford University, said the big impact of El Niño won’t likely be felt for at least another month.
“Today’s rain notwithstanding, the outlook for November is actually pretty dry,” Swain said. “That’s not a cause for concern.”
California’s storm cycle doesn’t typically kick in until December, Swain said, but he and others expect it to be strengthened by the record-warm equatorial waters that have come with El Niño.
Hopes are running high all over for precipitation. At the ski resort at Squaw Valley, Monday’s storm fueled optimism about the mountain’s scheduled opening the day before Thanksgiving.
“People are really started to be excited again about ski season,” said Michael Radlick, a spokesman for the resort. “It’s an el Niño year. People have been keeping their eye on the weather. With the last couple of season’s being less than ideal, people are thinking this will be a really good opportunity to get back on track.”
San Francisco Chroni c le staff writer Evan Sernoffsky contributed to this story.
Kurtis Alexander is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: email@example.com Twitter: @kurtisalexander
Livermore: 1.39 inches
Monterey: 1.70 inches
Napa: 0.47 inches
San Francisco: 0.53 inches
San Jose: 1.14 inches
San Rafael: 0.38 inches
(Totals for Monday as of 3 p.m.)
EDitors NOte: THe follwing LEtter wass sent out to praying friends both in Australia and the USA.
We request your prayers for a reconciliation/repentance/prayer/sorry gathering in San Francisco USA on the Saturday 31st of October 2015.
My good friends Merv and Sharon Stevenson compiled a report of their prayer and repentance journey to San Francisco in July/August 2015. Their report inspired me to read several historical accounts, talk to two local historians in San Francisco and purchase three books about the history of San Francisco.
My research has proved to me conclusively that Australia represented by Australian criminals (the gang was known as the Sydney Ducks) played a significant part in the moral demise of San Francisco in the early 1850s and their evil influence continued on into the early 1900s and arguably right up to the present time.
Herbert Albury author of “The Barbary Coast” which was a book about the history of crime in San Francisco argued that the initial influx of Sydney criminals in 1850 “gave the San Francisco underworld its initial flavour” and were the “pioneers in the viciousness and depravity for which the Barbary Coast (known as Sydney Town from 1850- 1865) became famous and this (evil) influence lasted for more than half a century.”
The Sydney Ducks were not the first criminal gang in San Francisco but the “Hounds” we’re. They were made up of ex Mexican war veterans from New York. They were particularly brutal and vicious towards Spanish Americans.
The reign of the Hounds terror only lasted a little over a year and then the Sydney Ducks too over. It might be noted that Spanish Americans and chinese people suffered persecution and ill treatment for the best part of the next 50 years from all quarters. Both groups also had elements of organised crime but the Australian criminals were the most influential group during this period.
Most of their evil work ended up perpetuating the civic and moral corruption for which San Francisco as the gateway to the west and the so called jewel of the South Pacific became famous for all the wrong reasons.
Jesus said, “The love of money is the root of all evil.” No doubt the preponderance of Gold was the trigger for the moral decadence and explosion of murder and violent crime but it was the criminal element from Australia who perfected the pioneering of this criminal depravity and organised it so well. The murder rate in San Francisco at the height of the influence of criminals from Australia was 200 times the national average in America today.
It is our prayer and hope in coming to San Francisco for this act of saying sorry and building apon the pioneering work of Merv and Sharon Stevenson from Melbourne, Australia that San Francisco and even the USA would experience a level of breakthrough that God might be glorified.
It is also hoped that some level of breakthrough would occur in Australia as well. The act of saying sorry can help both the receiver and the initiator. Both America and Australia desperately need a heaven sent revival and reformation. Our goal in coming is to remove any stumbling blocks towards this end. Repentance is always a starting point for a move of God.
Such a move of God is a work of grace and is more to do with the finished work of Calvary through the blood of Jesus Christ than anything else.
The good news is that repentant humble hearts and repentant humble acts are precursors to true revival and reformation. We are excited and confident that our pilgrimage and your prayers will result in an “Appeal to Heaven”.
Thank you for your prayers for this joint repentance gathering by American and Australian intercessors on Saturday the 31st October in San Francisco.
Yours for Revival and Reformation for the USA and Australia
Warwick and Alison Marsh
PS: for more information about this gathering ring Anne Trombo from the San Francisco House of Prayer.