Mike Guglielmucci News

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Many of you will of heard the recent news that Mike Guglielmucci has confessed that his so-called battle with terminal illness was a fraud. This is a mind-boggling turn of events that is sending shock waves throughout the Christian community here in Australia and beyond. Michael is apparently seeking professional help, while his family and the rest of us are left to figure out why and how all of this happened.

A whole range of emotions emerge when something such as this comes to the surface - from anger to compassion.

For some insightful comments from Mal Fletcher on this issue, click here.

In the mean time, let's pray especially for Mike, for his family, and for the churches where he has had a highly profiled role.

P.S. To read the media statement from the National Executive of the Assemblies of God in Australia, click here. Mike is the composer of the recent best-selling song Healer.

The news that Mike Guglielmucci has recently confessed to faking his terminal sickness is a shock to everyone. Like myself, most people who talk to me are in disbelief and bewilderment. Lots of questions are flying around ... "How did this happen? What are we supposed to think and feel about this? Where do we go from here?"

There are a variety of responses to any situation such as this, all of them appropriate:

ANGER. It is totally normal to feel very angry about this. People have been lied to, betrayed, deceived, and they feel ripped off. Leadership is a gift from God, as is influence, and when anyone uses that platform for personal gain it is an abuse. When you have prayed for someone, supported someone, and even given financially to help them in their time of need, it's natural to feel very upset when you find out that they have been a fraud. Yes, we are to look to God rather than leaders but church leaders are representatives of God and when they fail to do so in an honorable way, even God himself is angry. Lying is a serious sin (read Acts 5 if you don't believe me).

COMPASSION. You can't help but feel some pity for Mike and his situation. You feel sympathy for what must be going on in his inner world and the unmet needs that have driven him to this life of deception. He has shattered his personal reputation, endangered his future, and embarrassed not only himself, but his family and friends. The guilt and shame must be incredible.

FEAR OF GOD. Moments such as this remind us all that personal integrity is one of the most important qualities to develop. Integrity means that there is an integration between what people see on the outside (when everyone is looking) and who you really are on the inside (when no one is looking). When we fail to live in integrity, God usually gives us some space or time to repent (see Revelation 2:20-22). If we abuse God's grace during this time, there will be an inevitable exposure of our duplicity (see Proverbs 28:13). What we build with our charisma (the gifts and talents God has given us) we can destroy in an instant through lack of character. The sobering thing is that we are all vulnerable to deception and have the potential for great evil inside of us. How desperately we need to live in the fear of the Lord, which is the awareness that he is always with us, and which is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10). We reap what we sow - not immediately but eventually.

DISAPPOINTMENT. We live in a generation that longs for heroes and that needs models - people who walk the talk and who live lives worth following. Mike was a role model - a voice to this generation, an incredible talent. What potential and what a platform of influence he had. His fall is a loss for everyone. Yes, we all have feet of clay but, even so, it's very disappointing.

PRAYER. I hope your heart cries out like mine does. We need to turn afresh to God and pray ... for ourselves (that we will walk in the light, living in authenticity and truth), for Mike (that he will experience genuine repentance, deep heart change, and restoration), for his family (for healing grace and consolation), for church leaders world wide (they we will avoid the pursuit of superstar status, an intoxicating state, that we will walk in truth, and that we will build the appropriate accountability processes around us that we all need), and the watching world (that they will see God in our humble repentance and broken hearts).

Maybe you identify with one or more of these responses. As I said, all of them are appropriate. I pray that you will be able to process your thoughts and feelings with some safe friends. It's not time for gossip but it is a good time to debrief this situation so that we all can learn from it.

How will this incident affect the Christian church? Only time will tell. Thankfully, we have the testimony of the church in the first century who battled through challenges such as false doctrine, fraudulent leaders, and intense persecution. With God's grace and wisdom, we can do the same.

Hungary lifter out of the Games with horrific injury

BEIJING (AFP) - Hungarian strongman Janos Baranyai tore his right elbow on Wednesday as the Beijing Olympics weightlifting competition took a terrifying twist.

As the lone Hungarian lifter in the Games hoisted 148kg for his final snatch attempt, his right arm buckled and got caught out of position behind him as the weight came crashing back down on his limb.

The 24-year-old, ranked 33rd in the world in the 77kg category, cried out in pain and lay on the floor as medics rushed onto the platform and carried him off in a stretcher.
"He was taken to hospital," International Weightlifting Federation technical official Rock Huh told AFP.

Baranyai's condition was not immediately known.

Here's the video. Not for the weak.

Essential Olympic Munchies

Here's what we've got to help the whole Olympic watching experience better:
Only two things are missing: Vegemite and Tim Tams. FYI, we are watching the Beijing on a TV made in China. I wonder if the Australian Olympic Team uniform is made in China too?

The Dream Highlights

The Olympics are here! Now that channel seven decided not to have 'The Dream with Roy & HG' for the Beijing Olympics I thought that I would show some highlights here. Enjoy... and Go Aussies!

P.S I predict Australia bringing home a swag of medals by beating the Americans in the pool! Go Aussies!

Aussies caught up in Olympic ticket scam

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Olympic officials will ask a judge in California on Monday to shut down an online Beijing Olympics ticket seller accused of scamming Australian, US and European sports fans and travel agents out of tens of thousands of dollars.
The slick, professional-looking website, www.beijingticketing.com, boasts offices in Sydney, London and New York.
It is believed the offices do not exist.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has received complaints from hundreds of alleged victims in Australia and the rest of the world who fear they have been duped.
Some customers handed over more than $US57,000 ($A60,600) each for tickets, but received nothing back.
The people behind the website appear to have vanished just days before the opening ceremony in Beijing.
The only address on the website leads to an office in Phoenix, Arizona, but desperate fans hoping to travel to Beijing discovered another dead end when they visited the office.
The office was empty.
When AAP repeatedly called the phone number on the website, it rang out.
Texas-based travel agent, Jolanta Sochacka, is one of the scam's biggest victims.
Sochacka told the Los Angeles Times newspaper she purchased $US57,000 ($A60,600) worth of tickets for a family of seven but has not sighted the tickets.
When Sochacka asked a friend in Phoenix to check out the address, the friend found an empty office and no sign the company ever resided there.
"I've been in business for 18 years, I'm aware that there's fraud out there," Sochacka told the LA Times.
"But they looked so legitimate, their website was so elaborate."
The IOC and the US Olympic Committee (USOC) have had success in shutting another suspected Beijing Olympics ticket website scam down.
On July 23 they won a restraining order in Phoenix to close www.beijing-tickets2008.com.
On Monday, the IOC and USOC will ask a federal judge in San Francisco for an order to shutdown beijingticketing.com
The FBI may become involved in the investigation.
Other apparent victims of beijingticketing.com include internet entrepreneurs and software developers, who say despite their own expertise and experience with the internet, they were fooled by the elaborate website.
The site boasts: "We manage our extensive network of ticket agents through our three international offices - London, New York and Sydney".
David Boctor, a Los Angeles Internet entrepreneur who runs his own online retail store, paid beijingticketing.com $US11,505 ($A12,230) for hard-to-get tickets to the Olympic opening ceremony, swimming and diving.
He told the LA Times he became suspicious when the company stopped answering his phone calls in April and his credit card was charged for airline tickets he did not buy.
"If I failed to recognise this internet scam, very few other individuals with less of an e-commerce background would have had a chance," Boctor said.
"So I can empathise with others in the same position."
Another computer savvy victim California-based victim, Jonathan Murray, bought $US4,950 ($A5,260) for Olympic equestrian events.
"I work for a fairly large software company, and the team I manage is responsible for dealing with Internet crime," Murray, originally from Britain, told the newspaper.
"So it was quite amusing to everyone at work that I had been scammed on the internet.
"The important point I'm making by talking about this is that this was a bloody good scam."
Meanwhile in Beijing, Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) deputy chef de mission Lynne Bates said everyone involved in the Olympic family had been encouraged to purchase tickets through the official CoSport agency to avoid such problems.
"Of course it's disappointing," she told reporters in Beijing.
"We realise and understand that the IOC are looking to shut down and take further action on that website.
"But we at the Australian Olympic Committee of course have encouraged everyone, all our shadow team members, everybody that's part of the Olympic family, and advertised it very very widely, that CoSport are our official ticket agent and encouraged all enquiries and everybody to go that way.
"So hopefully there's not too many (affected), but as I say all the people that have followed the co-sport line will be fine."