Earlier this month on October 5th and 6th, the Officers and Directors of FGBMFA met in Dallas, Texas for our Fall Director’s Meeting.
Near the beginning of the meeting I shared a word of encouragement that the Lord had given me from the book of Haggai concerning the rebuilding of the Fellowship in America. I began by reading aloud the second chapter of Haggai verses 1 thru 9.
In the seventh month, on the twenty-first of the month, the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet, saying: “Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of the people, saying: ‘Who is left among you who saw this temple in its former glory? And how do you see it now? In comparison with it, is this not in your eyes as nothing? Yet now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ says the Lord; ‘and be strong, Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest; and be strong, all you people of the land,’ says the Lord, ‘and work; for I am with you,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘According to the word that I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt, so My Spirit remains among you; do not fear!’ Haggai 2:1-9
“For thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Once more (it is a little while) I will shake Heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘And in this place I will give peace,’ says the Lord of hosts.”
As soon as I finished reading that passage of scripture from the book of Haggai Peter Reding our FGBMFA National Treasurer said “I have never seen this before, but the seventh month and the twenty-first day of the month was the day in 2006 that the Lord woke me up at 4 am and told me to incorporate the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship in America!” While I was familiar with Peter’s testimony concerning the Lord waking Peter at 4 am on the morning of July 21st of 2006 and directing him to incorporate FGBMFA, I had never connected the day and month that the Lord spoke to Peter in 2006 AD, with the twenty first day and seventh month that the Lord had spoken to Haggai in the year 520 BC, which you will discover latter in this newsletter has great significance to our Fellowship.
Douglas Raine, FGBMFA National Director from Greenville, Texas upon hearing Peter’s testimony said that is “amazing”, Bob you should write this story for others to read.
In this month’s newsletter I have decided to heed Doug’s advice and write the story of FGBMFA as the Lord has brought it to pass over the last twenty years. In the story of FGBMFA below you will see that the Lord has on several occasions spoken a prophetic word to me, but He is in reality speaking to me, as a representative of the Fellowship. Keep this truth in mind as you read the following words.
I CAME INTO THE FELLOWSHIP AT THE HEIGHT OF THE MOVEMENT
Like many of you older men I came into the Fellowship at the height of the Charismatic movement. The Fellowship was exploding; our Greater Seattle Chapter of which I was a member, had over 600 members, and at the direction of the Holy Spirit they were sending over 100 members a year on airlifts to start chapters in other nations. Other areas of the nation were doing the same. Then in March of 1984 the Fellowship’s Founder Demos Shakarian experienced a crippling stroke which left him physically incapacitated and incapable of directing the day to day activities of the Fellowship for several years. During Demos absence, Tom Ashcraft, International Executive Vice President of the Fellowship, and the International Executive Board took over the management of the Fellowship.
When the Executive Board began to manage the Fellowship, the Shakarian Family became fearful that the Fellowship, which they considered their legacy, was slipping from their grasp. One member of the family began to write disparagingly of the actions of the Executive Board and soon strife broke out between the Shakarian Family and some of the elected members of the International Executive Board. By the 1988 International Convention in Ontario, Canada the disagreement between the Shakarian family and the International Board had broken out into an open conflict. In the 1989 Delegates Meeting in Nashville, Tennessee seven members of the Executive Board were removed by the International Delegates. In reaction, a large number of USA Directors resigned from the Fellowship and started the International Fellowship of Christian Business Men.
MY SPIRIT WAS TROUBLED
By the early 1990s two of the men who had been in the forefront of this great move of God, men who had been my mentors, International Directors who had been instrumental in establishing the Fellowship in Europe, Africa, and Central America had left the Fellowship. I loved these men; I became troubled in my spirit by their decision to leave the Fellowship. But I also loved the Fellowship, it had given me an opportunity as a young Christian, as a businessman, to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ to the nations of the world. Now I saw it faltering… I began to cry out to God, “Father are you through with the Fellowship? What is happening? Is the glory that You released upon ordinary men like me lifting?” I did this each day for weeks.
Then one day in the spring of 1993, I awoke at two in the morning, went to my prayer room, and began to cry out to God, “Father I need to know, are You through with the Fellowship? Should I also leave the Fellowship?” I prayed earnestly in the spirit, I prayed for hours… soon it was time to go to my office, but I had received no answer… I asked my wife Barbara to call my office and tell them I would not be in today. I was determined to hear from God! I continued to pray in the spirit, my heart was weeping before the Lord, “Father, are You through with the Fellowship…?” Then after more than eight hours of prayer, deep down in my spirit I heard the word “Haggai”, I ignored that word at first, I didn’t realize that it was the Holy Spirit speaking to me. But as I continued to pray in the spirit, again and again down in my spirit, I heard the word “Haggai”. Then after another hour or so I picked up my Bible and began to read the book of Haggai.
As I read the book of Haggai MY SPIRITUAL EYES WERE OPENED!
I had never spent much time in the book of Haggai before, I had read through its two chapters, but it had never seemed relevant to my life. But now it was like a veil had been removed from my spiritual eyes. I saw clearly that the message spoken by the prophet Haggai to the remnant of the Israelites who had returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple of God was also relevant to the remnant of men who had remained in the Fellowship. The Holy Spirit showed me that morning in early 1993 that the Fellowship was like Solomon’s Temple at the time the Israelites had returned from captivity in 536 BC. The walls of the Fellowship were broken down; it was only a ghost of its former self. Zerubbabel (the Jewish leader) and the Israelites had begun to rebuild the Temple, they had laid the foundation, but when opposition arose from the non-Jewish residents of Jerusalem, the work was stopped for nearly 15 years. The Israelites had started well but when opposition arose, they quickly abandoned the work of God to pursue their own interests.
Then, at the proper time God sent the Israelites two prophets, Haggai and Zechariah, to encourage and inspire them to return to the work of rebuilding the Temple of God. The prophet, Haggai, proclaimed, “The Glory of the latter house shall be greater than the former says the Lord of hosts” (Haggai 2:9); and several months later the prophet Zechariah prophesied one of the most inspiring words in the entire Bible that the Temple of God would be rebuilt “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord of Hosts” (Zechariah 4:6)
GOD GAVE ME A REVELATION THAT THE LATTER DAYS WOULD BE GREATER
Thus in the winter of 1993, God gave me the revelation in my heart that the latter years of the Fellowship would be greater than the former. I was excited; thinking that God would begin to rebuild the Fellowship immediately. I began to share this revelation with several other directors. Then at the USA Directors meeting in the 1993 Boston World Convention Si Rickman, one of the men with whom I had shared the Haggai Vision, asked me to share it again with Demos, and the rest of the USA National Directors. But less than a month after the Boston convention our founder Demos Shakarian went to be with the Lord and his son Richard took over the leadership of the International Fellowship.
Following Demos’ death I joined wholeheartedly with Richard and the other International Directors to rebuild the Fellowship. But things did not go well; many Members and Directors including some members of the Shakarian Family questioned the legitimacy of the letter appointing Richard as International President. Within days the strife that had entered the Fellowship in the mid-nineteen eighties began to threaten the very existence of the Fellowship in the USA. When Richard was required by the new By-laws to run for re-election, a major conflict erupted among the Directors and Delegates during the Election process resulting in a large number of Chapters leaving the Fellowship. These chapters formed an international Christian Business Men’s group called “Business Men’s Fellowship” (BMF).
IF GOD SPEAKS A PROPHETIC WORD CAN IT BE DELAYED?
I was convinced that the rebuilding of the Temple (the Fellowship) was at hand, and my wife Barbara and I joined wholeheartedly with the new leadership to rebuild the Fellowship. But sadly within a few years I saw that the Fellowship was continuing to drift farther from our earlier spiritual roots. The freedom of the Holy Spirit which had epitomized the early days of the Fellowship was replaced by centralized control, instead of our leaders looking to the Holy Spirit for guidance in evangelizing the nations, now those decisions were being made by human leadership.
Then in February of 2002, as the Chairmen of the Fellowship’s Financial Oversight Committee, I authored a report to the International Presidents Cabinet, which recommended that the USA Fellowship be separated from the International Fellowship. The report entitled “Need to reorganize the USA Fellowship” included a five page summary and sixty-six pages of supporting documents. It cited numerous incidents of financial missteps by the International Office and was signed by myself as chairman, and Jimmy Rogers and Leonard Riebold as members of the Committee. It was met by a firestorm of Objections by the International President. Several weeks later I received a telephone call from Richard Shakarian, at 10 AM on a Sunday morning, in which he attempted, illegally to remove me as an International Director of the Fellowship. Later when the reports of my removal as International Director reached the men of the Fellowship, Richard was forced to rescind his action.
GOD USED THE BOOK OF HAGGAI A SECOND TIME TO ENCOURAGE ME
Then on February 18, 2002, while I was dealing with my first removal as an International Director, Ivan Sisk, a prophetic man who lived in Central Oregon, upon hearing of my removal as an International Director, emailed to me a vision which he had received several months earlier in September of 2001. Ivan Sisk’s Vision reminded me of the word of the Lord I had received in the winter of 1993 concerning the rebuilding of the Fellowship, just as God had done to the Jewish Temple in the book of Haggai, and it held me steady during this obviously traumatic time in my life. Below is the vision Ivan Sisk received in his own words.
VISION OF THE FELLOWSHIP IN THE FORM OF A TEMPLE
“On Sept. 22, 2001 the Lord gave me the following vision concerning the Fellowship. I saw the old Fellowship, in the form of a temple which had been leveled to the ground, to the basic foundation on which the Fellowship had been built; the vision which God had given to Demos was all that remained.
Then I saw new stones being brought in to construct a new Temple. These new stones looked to be about 18″x 24″ square and about 4 feet long. They were Pure white, in fact they even glistened, the craftsmanship of the stones was perfect, and there were no flaws. The stones represented new men that the Lord had prepared out in the quarry, so that when the temple was being rebuilt there would not be heard the sound of iron or hammer, even as it was when the temple of Solomon was being built. These new men were men of integrity and honesty, they were men of the word, and they moved in the power of the Holy Spirit, no more works of the flesh. The Lord also said to me that there would be a change in the top levels of leadership, and there would come unity, no more strife, no more envy over who gets the credit. These men, who have been proven in the quarry, are men who have a proven track record of being led by the Holy Spirit.”
Email sent February 18, 2002 – 11:16 AM
I had nearly forgotten the words of the prophet Haggai which the Lord had spoken to me in early 1993, frankly with all the strife that had occurred over the last nine years I had concluded that I had missed God concerning the revelation that He was going to rebuild the Fellowship. But now God used the vision that he had given to Ivan Sisk to rekindle the vision of the rebuilding of the Fellowship in my spirit.
Over the next several years I survived in the Fellowship like David did with Saul, by dodging the Javelins thrown at me.
VANCOUVER BC CONVENTION OCTOBER 1, 2004 – MORNING MEETING
In the early part of October of 2004 my wife Barbara and I attended a Regional FGBMFI Convention in Vancouver, British Columbia. In the first meeting of the Convention as the speaker finished her message she came to the table that Barbara and I were sitting and proclaimed “God is telling me to tell you brother – new ideas, new insight, new revelation is coming to you. I see a puzzle and the pieces of the puzzle are scattered, because the puzzle is a representation of how do I do it Lord? What’s the best way of doing this to do that? “I am going to show you all the pieces and parts and I am going to show you that you can do it, because I put the vision in you. I have put it in you and I am going to show you how to carry it out. Like Sampson I am going to give you the strength; I am going to give you the arms of others to hold yours up”…
Change and Great change! Change and Great change! And great responsibility with the change – an enormous amount of responsibility. But the Lord says, I brought you up through the ranks to be able to handle the responsibility that’s about to be released in your life. I brought you up son, through the ranks. There is nothing that’s been avoided. There is nothing that hasn’t been carried out that God hasn’t wanted carried out… Now, the season is change! That coat is coming on you, my brother.
Then she turned to my wife Barbara and said “I don’t understand this but I know I ‘am hearing from God. I don’t understand this at all!! I hear the word “First Lady” and I hear the word “Humility”… And the Lord says you have walked in humility… and the Lord says because of that humility you will walk in greater authority in the Spirit and the authority of the Spirit is increasing.
VANCOUVER B.C. CONVENTION OCTOBER 1, 2004 – EVENING MEETING
That evening the Speaker, a man from Ghana, Africa called me forward and spoke the following word …”I see the American flag in your left hand and I see the scepter of authority in the right hand saith the Lord, ‘You are in a new season… with a greater mandate, a new season with greater authority, a new season with a clearer voice. I have raised you as clarion voice unto the land. Yes, you will begin to be stirred up by My Spirit – quickened like Samson was quickened. I will move you to the length and breathe of your nation and I will open doors for you in high places on the corridors of power. You will not just go with My Words but you shall go with signs for I have put on you My glory – My presence is with you and men will not see you but will see My presence and they will know that I, the Lord, have sent you… Prominent Office… Prominent Office…Prominent Office…
EXPOSING CORRUPTION IN THE INTERNATIONAL OFFICE
Then in early summer of 2005, I became the recipient of information regarding a number of improprieties in the International Office. As I probed deeper I found this information to be credible, and the Lord began to lead me in a series of actions to expose that corruption. I also initiated action to change the Fellowship’s 1992 bylaws back to the original bylaws on which the Fellowship had been founded. In a meeting of Directors in Dallas Texas in early June of 2006 Richard Shakarian agreed a forensic financial audit of Fellowship’s Financial Records, including four Non-profit companies controlled by him and his family. Several days later however he changed his mind and refused to allow the audit.
As a result of my efforts to bring change to the Fellowship, the International President in the 2006 Fort Lauderdale World Convention suspended my membership and subjected me to a three hour trial (1-1/2 hours in the USA Fellowship meeting and 1-1/2 hours in the International Delegates Meeting) a trial in which I was not allowed to testify on my behalf. It is interesting that during the above trial it seemed as if a protective cocoon of God’s Spirit enveloped me.
Frankly being removed as an International Director of the International Fellowship was a blessing’, both Barbara and I had had quite enough of the strife and intrigue that surrounds the International Office of the Fellowship.
The same type of mock trial occurred several years later in another Fort Lauderdale World Convention when ten additional USA FGBMFI Directors, had their membership suspended for the same reason. What was the reason? They requested the International Office of the Fellowship to submit itself to a Certified Independent Financial Audit.
INCORPORATION OF THE FGBMFA
These illegal actions by the International President resulted in the Lord waking National Director Peter Reding at 4 AM on July 21, 2006 and telling him to incorporate the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship in America, as I reported earlier in this Newsletter.
Peter Reding didn’t stop there however, he used his administrative skills to write a new set of bylaws (following the format of the Fellowships original 1952 Bylaws) and he produced all the other organizational documents required for the New Fellowship. In the spring of 2007 FGBMFA held its first National Convention in Portland, Oregon. In that convention I was elected as the first National President of FGBMFA.
MENTORING THE JOSHUA GENERATION
In November of 2006, several months after Peter Reding Incorporated the Fellowship, Barbara and I attended a Regional Fellowship Convention in Boston, Massachusetts. During the last meeting of the convention the Lord spoke the following prophetic word to Barbara and me.
“The Lord shows me that the last two years have been very difficult for the two of you. But the Lord says the loss you have experienced is going to turn into the greatest victory you have ever received. Because of what you have gone through in the last two years, you will stand one day at the podium to lead a whole generation because you have what it takes… you have the tenacity and perseverance to lead a generation like us… God has lifted you and set you apart to equip, train, and lead many youth and young adults to fulfill their destiny.
This prophetic word began to open my eyes toward the need to reach the Joshua Generation. While the Lord had spoken to me earlier about mentoring certain young men, it was not until I heard James Lévesque (a young twenty-six year old prophetic man from New London Connecticut) speak in the Boston convention, that the Lord began to impress upon me that He was calling the men of our Fellowship, the Moses Generation (those men born before 1960), to become spiritual fathers to the Joshua Generation, (those men born after 1960).
JOSHUA CHAPTER MEETING JANUARY 2009
On January 17, 2009, near the end of an FGBMFA Joshua Chapter Meeting in Seattle, Joshua Alvarez the young speaker turned to me and said “When I first came into this room the Lord told me to tell you, “Strengthen the foundation, for I have given you the keys of David, and the glory of the latter house shall be greater than the former house – the best is yet to come.”
Here were the words of the book of Haggai being spoken by the Spirit again, I couldn’t miss it, and God was encouraging us once again that “the Glory of the latter Fellowship would be greater than the Former…
Then three months later in our 2009 National Convention the same young speaker proclaimed ‘I see four angels posted at the four corners of this ballroom,and I see a cloud of glory hovering over your heads… and then he suddenly turned to the head table and prophesied “This organization will be the catalyst to the greatest move of God to ever be poured out on this nation…”
Like the Virgin Mary when the angel Gabriel announced that she would conceive a child born of the Holy Spirit, (Luke 1:34) I thought, “How can this be?” As I pondered these prophetic words, the first given in a Joshua Chapter meeting in Seattle, and the second in the 2009 FGBMFA National Convention in Portland Oregon, again I was reminded of the revelation that He had given me from the book of Haggai back in the spring of 1993, “The Glory of this Latter House shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts.” (Haggai 2:9). Then my thoughts moved again to the vision of the Fellowship given to Ivan Sisk in September of 2001, he saw the Fellowship in the form of a temple in which the walls had been taken down to its very foundation, (all that remained was the vision that God had given to Demos) then new walls were being constructed of new men, men of integrity and honesty, men fashioned out in the quarry, men who were led by the Holy Spirit.
Then in our 2012 National Convention in Atlanta last July the lord spoke the following words to our Fellowship at the close of the opening nights ministry:
“The Lord God Says, I put the “Vision” given to my servant Demos’ in your heart six years ago, this Convention is the beginning of what I am about to do. In the seventh year this Fellowship will explode, and many chapters will rise up across America, and expand across the world. Many from the Joshua Generation will come into this Fellowship, and I will do a great work through them, and many shall come into my Kingdom.”
Some will say, Bob, if God has given these prophetic words, then He will bring them to pass… Yes, He will bring them to pass if we pray… prayer and confession is nearly always the requirement to seeing a Prophetic word fulfilled.
“If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves, and Pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways then I will hear from heaven, and forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
Will you join with me in fervent prayer in the Spirit, asking God to bring His Prophetic Word to pass, so that FGBMFA chapters will explode in this seventh year?
In Jesus Name,
Robert W. Bignold
Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship in America