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In England, most radio and television stations are run by the government-operated British Broadcasting Service (the BBC). There are some independent stations today, but 40 years ago, the BBC ruled the airwaves alone in England. In 1965, a free-spirit named Roy Bates, decided to set up his own, independent, illegal, pirate alternative – Radio Essex. Operating a radio transmitter on English soil was clearly against the law, and he was quickly arrested and fined £100.
Not willing to give up his radio voice, Mr. Bates moved his operation offshore. England’s territorial waters at the time extended only 3 miles off the coastline. Roy Bates, once a commercial fisherman, knew of an old abandoned fort six miles off the coast, just far enough to lie within international waters. Rough’s tower, as it was known, was a military platform built during WWII to protect the Thames Estuary – the harbor at the mouth of the Thames river, where large and vulnerable convoys of shipping were assembled. It housed up to 200 men, and had a helipad. These sea forts were equipped with radar and heavy armaments, and housed enough troops to man and maintain artillery designed to shoot down German aircraft and missiles. The fort, built on a barge which was later intentionally sunk, was originally intended to be built within English waters, but was moved to it’s current location at the last minute to take advantage of shallow waters in the area. After the war, the platform had been abandoned and had lain derelict ever since. Roy set up his radio station on Rough’s Tower, safely in international waters, and broadcast his own brand of entertainment over much of England.
Were this all there was to the story, it would still be quite interesting, but what happened next makes it truly epic. In 1967, realizing that his home was in international waters claimed by no country, Roy Bates decided that he could, in fact, claim it as his own sovereign realm. He and his wife Joan declared the tower to be the “Principality of Sealand,” and a independent country. They crafted a constitution, named themselves Prince Roy and Princess Joan of Sealand, and swore loyalty to their new country, using their newly created flag and national anthem. They designed their own passports, postage stamps, and minted coins (about 25 coins of each denomination). The official language is English, and the currency exchange rate is fixed at one Sealand dollar equal to one US dollar. The Sealand national motto is E Mare Libertas, or "From the Sea, Freedom".
Sealand offerred to join the coalition of nations supporting both the first and second Gulf Wars, and issued statements of condolences and offers of assistance to the United States after 9/11. In 2003, Sealand also appointed its first official athlete - Darren Blackburn of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Blackburn has represented the Principality at a number of sporting events, including marathons and off-trail races.
By late 1968, the British navy had become aware of the new situation and dispatched a naval cruiser to quietly resolve the situation. Prince Roy took exception to this invasion of his territorial waters and fired warning shots – basically plinking the side of the naval warship with a shotgun loaded with bird shot. Since Prince Roy was still an English citizen, he was accused of several serious crimes against England and was summoned to a British court. In this widely publicized lawsuit, the court decided that it could not exert any jurisdiction outside of British national territory, which many interpret as the first de facto recognition of the Principality of Sealand. English law had ruled that Sealand was not part of the United Kingdom, nor did any other nation claim it, hence Prince Roy’s declaration of a new Sovereign State was upheld. Prince Roy has been called to British courts several times since to face charges ranging from more incidents between his shotgun and British warships to not paying taxes. In each case the Court ruled that they had no jurisdiction in international waters, strengthening Sealand’s claim to statehood. A well-recognized international precedent known as the Montevideo Convention states that one test of the legitimacy of a nation is when it is recognized by other states. England, by specifically NOT claiming it, was recognizing it.
Prince Roy now claimed Sealand as his own based on de jure (based on law – because the fort was abandoned in international waters) and de facto (based on facts – recognition by other states) precedent.
What would you do with a country of your own. What laws would you pass?
Sealand instituted an international ferry service consisting of a rubber Zodiac. In order to board the Sealand vessel at the dock in England, you had to present your Sealand passport and submit to customs inspection. Smoking and swearing were both subject to banishment, as was taking more than three five-minute showers per week. Sealand printed international postage stamps and used them to post letters in England, which the British postal service subsequently delivered, again recognizing Sealand’s existence and rights.
But dark days soon fell on the brave new country…
SEALAND GOES TO WAR (AND WINS)
In August of 1978, a number of Dutch men invited Roy to continental Europe. It was later found that the men represented organized crime families interested in the possibilities of owning a country beyond the reach of other nations. They stated their purpose was to discuss the possibilities of paying Prince Roy a large amount of money to relinquish Sealand to their control. Roy left Sealand under the control of his Prime Minister (the German night shift disc jockey, who was later discovered to be in league with the Dutch criminals. While Roy was away in Britain, armed men boarded Sealand and staged a coupe, imprisoning Prince Roy’s son the His Royal Highness Prince Michael in the toilet. Prince Roy became suspicious of the delaying tactics employed by the “business men” and returned to his country. Discovering what had happened, Prince Roy declared war on both Germany and the Netherlands, went back to Europe and hired a mercenary unit, and led the helicopter assault to retake his country. They were quite successful. No lives were lost, and the traiters were declared prisoners of war and imprisoned.
During the time that he held the prisoners, the Governments of the Netherlands and Germany petitioned for their release. First they asked England to intervene in the matter, but the British government cited their earlier court decision as evidence that they made no claim to the territory of Sealand. Then, in the most definitive recognition of Sealand’s sovereignty, Germany sent a diplomat directly to Sealand to negotiate for the release of their citizen.
Roy first released the Dutch citizens, as the war was over, and the Geneva Convention requires the release of all prisoners. The German disc jockey was held longer, as he had accepted a Sealand Passport, and therefore was guilty of treason, but was later released as well. He claims to this day that his government was entirely legal, and now claims to be the ruler in exile of Sealand, living in Spain.
On 1 October, 1987, Britain extended its territorial waters from 3 to 12 nautical miles. The previous day, Prince Roy declared the extension of Sealand’s territorial waters to be a like 12 nautical miles, so that right of way from the open sea to Sealand would not be blocked by British claimed waters. No treaty has been signed between Britain and Sealand to divide up the overlapping areas, but a general policy of dividing the area between the two countries down the middle can be assumed. International law does not allow the claim of new land during the extension of sea rights, so Sealand’s sovereignty was safely "grandfathered" in. Britain has no more right to Sealand’s territory than Sealand has to the territory of the British coastline that falls within its claimed 12 nautical mile arc.
In 1997, forged Sealand passports started tuning up around the world. Some of these were used to open bank accounts under false names in various countries. Since few people have ever seen a legitimate Sealand passport (less than 300 exist today) it was difficult for these to be easily detected as forgeries. The source of these forgeries was traced back to the same German disc jockey who was involved in the earlier attempt to take Sealand by force. His Minister of Finance had created a fake Sealand Business Foundation and boasts that he has sold over 150 000 fake Sealand Passports to all comers. Thus there are now unfortunately 500 times more forged Sealand Passports in circulation than real ones. Many of the forged passports were apparently sold to people leaving Hong Kong at the time of Chinese reoccupation for USD 1 000 each. These passports, which were not authorized by the Bates family, were involved in several high-profile crimes, including the murder of Gianni Versace.
Whilst Sealand has been the pride and joy of Prince Roy and his family for well over 30 years, his recent poor health has caused him fundamentally to review the arrangements which have been in place for decades and to look to the future of his Principality. Consequently, his son Prince Michael was appointed Prince Regent as Sovereign pro tempore by Royal Decree in 1999. Since that time, the Royal Family has struck a deal with HavenCo Limited, and that company now leases exclusively its offices in Sealand, where it offers, and is able to offer, unparalleled security and independence to users who wish to take advantage of its Internet services. The presence of an active and rapidly growing high-tech internet industry in Sealand has changed the character of the Principality; once more, Sealand rings with the sound of voices, boasts regular support ferry services, and is host to a growing and dynamic population.
The point of all this? Roy Bates is an extreme example of a man who set up a kingdom for himself here on earth. As cool as that sounds, the Bible tells us that we have a kingdom in Heaven. We are citizens of that country, not this. We are just strangers here.
There was a single mother who had heard a Biblical financial teacher say, “Quit looking at your job as the source of your income. Look at your job as only one avenue, one channel the Source, El Shaddai, uses to bring finances into your life. Begin to teach your children to look to their heavenly Father as their Source, not the parents.” Her little daughter, one day told her that she wanted a bike, like all the other children. Her mother, at first was about to reply, “Honey, momma does not have extra money,” because this was her typical response. However, she remembered what the teacher said in the seminar, so she told her daughter, "Let’s ask the Lord for a bike". They prayed together and thanked God for hearing their prayer. A few days later, the little received a check in the mail, payable to her personally. On the way to town to cash the check, they noticed a man placing a bicycle out by the side of the road. The mother stopped the car and asked the man what he was going to do with that bike. The man replied that his daughter had quickly outgrown the use of it and he was going to sell it. The little asked the man how much he wanted and he replied, “For you, $25.00.” which was exactly the amount of the CHECK the received in the mail!”
The little grew up not remembering a mother who worked hard to buy a bike, but thankful for a mother who taught her about her Heavenly Father, who cared about an eight years old ’s need.
• Practice openness and accountability.
This is the one thing we desperately need the most, and the one thing we most resist. We need support. Some things in life are just too hard to do on your own. We need people to come along side of us and encourage us. Whether you are dieting, or exercising, or trying to change a bad habit in your life—we all need people in our lives to support us, encourage us, and to ask us some hard questions about whether we are really following
through on our commitment to change. This is going to be hard when it comes to our finances.
• 82% of us have never discussed our income with another soul.
• 89% of us have never discussed our family budget with another person.
• 92% have never discussed what we have given to the church.
Get this: The people who are least likely in this country to talk about their personal financial matters are Christians.
People who rarely go to church—1 out of 4 of them admit that they have talked to their friends about how much money they make. Do you know how many Christians have done that? 1 out of every 8.
Christians don’t talk about this. In fact, we don’t talk about a lot of stuff that really matters in our day to day lives: Sex, money, parenting, jobs. Let’s pop the top off our dirty little secrets and start holding each other accountable. Let’s start encouraging and edifying one another; life and money troubles are just to hard to go at it
Does anyone know what that piece in the middle of the washer is called? The part in the middle that moves back and forth and shakes the clothes back and forth? What is that called? I’m going to call it an Agitator…. What is the purpose of the Agitator?
As far as I can tell, it sole purpose is to cause havoc for the dirty clothes… it’s there to shake and separate the clothes from all the dirt and grime and money that may be in or on the clothes, right?
As soon as we are saved, the Holy Spirit moves into our hearts, but He doesn’t have our heart to himself… there’s still a lot of things in there… the main one being our own selfish desires…even though we have been saved from our past sins, there still remains some things of the world that we are still fond of… these things of the world have a way of attaching themselves to us like dirt on clothes… they can stain us, they seemingly won’t come out.
The Holy Spirit, being Holy….His nature doesn’t allow Him to live in a dirty environment, so He begins to gently and lovingly, He begins to agitate, to shake… to convict us of the things that need to leave our heart…. You see God wants us to be filled with His Spirit… and only when we come to a place in our lives where we are willing to remove all the dirt…can we truly be Filled with His Spirit. Until then, many times our spiritual life fills like we are in ...
Imagine you are on your way to church one Sunday morning. You have had a more difficult week than normal. You are physically, emotionally and spiritually drained. You realize that you are running on fumes and are looking forward to getting your tank filled up so you can face the world again Monday morning. You are particularly excited about the worship service because you know we will be observing the Lord’s Supper, which is always a special service. But when you pull into the parking lot you quickly notice that it is already full, and you have a difficult time finding a place to park. But even though you have to park over in the field you are still excited about being here and are looking forward to what God has in store for you today. You notice that there are a lot of people standing outside on the steps and you wonder what is going on. When you get a little closer you realize that a couple of tables have been set up outside and that people are waiting in line for some reason. You also notice that people are writing checks and converting them and the paper money they have into silver coins. You wonder what is going on and ask the person in front of you what up. They inform you that the members of the Finance Committee recently made the decision to have everyone start using a new type of Church currency for the tithes and offerings. You wait patiently in line and sure enough when you finally make it to the table you are told that you need the new church currency in order to make an offering. So you take out a $20 bill and lay it down on the table and the person at the table takes your money and gives you a $10 church coin in return. When you finally get through the front door you immediately notice more tables and more lines. At one table you notice some people are buying hymnbooks, while others are simply renting them. At another table you discover that they are selling communion bread for $5.00 and a cup of grape juice for $7.50. The longer you stand there the madder you get. You make a vow right then and there to never miss another business meeting again and to do your best to see that heads would roll over this. If you can imagine an experience like this and how frustrating it would be, then you can relate to how Jesus must have felt when he entered the temple courts during Passover to worship the Heavenly Father. Let’s read this passage of Scripture together.
Two men were flying to Orlando from California and met on an airplane. After exchanging pleasantries, conversation turned to the needs of their community.
One of them was a pastor who shared his vision for a soup kitchen just starting up in downtown Orlando. He also told of local churches that had been helping people with finances, pantry items and clothing and expressed his concern that ministry might die if they didn’t find the support they needed.
The other man was a local restaurateur. He shared his heart with the pastor and told of a time when he was hungry and someone helped him. He was reminded of the promise he made to God to someday repay this act of kindness. Each man was at crossroads in his life, 30,000 feet in the air.
Within a few weeks, a ministry called Daily Bread was organized and sponsored with food from one of Orlando’s most prestigious restaurants. Churches supplied volunteers. A staff was funded to help organize this task. And, lives were touched ... one meal at a time. Within nine years, more than 900,000 meals were served by Daily Bread. Thirty years later the lives of millions of people are changed forever because of what God did 30,000 feet in the air.
The two men on the airplane were Dr. Howard Chadwick, Senior Pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Orlando and the restaurateur Champ Williams, owner of Skyline Restaurants, the largest restaurant chain in central Florida.
Dr. Chadwick built one of the great urban churches in America in downtown Orlando with that kind of vision. He also was my childhood pastor.
He confirmed me at Central Presbyterian Church in Kansas City. That day he whispered a word from Scripture in my ear that changed my life forever. It was Matthew 5:16. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
As Paul wrote in his letters, we are to live in such a way that we give God all the glory, so we can say, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Dr. Chadwick is now old. He is in his 90’s – the age I hope to sometime be. He gave his life in a way that mattered. He was not ashamed of the gospel
You and I have to choose how we live. Do we live for ourselves, seeking every way we can to build our economic and life security? Or do we live for him?
If you are going to live for something, live for something that matters more than money. More than fame. More than security. Live in such a way that you can say “I am not ashamed of the Gospel!”
There have been times when we have gone to a high school football/basketball game and the kids asked for some money to buy candy. I gave them $5 and they returned with some candy. I ask for a piece and their answer is “no.” Here is what they don’t realize. First – I could take the candy away and eat it all my self. Because I am bigger and stronger I could do that. Second – I gave them the money in the first place, I paid for the candy so really it is mine. Third – I could have bought so much candy that they couldn’t have possibly eaten all of it.
Now look at this from God’s view when He blesses us with His power and everything else for that matter.
1st – He has the power to take it all away if/when He wants. 2nd – He gives us everything. 3rd – He can supply endlessly. This goes for our finances, health, and His power. He supplies power to the believer endlessly if we seek Him.
"Self adaption from an Ed Young Illustration"
Order of the Wooden Cross! (10.11.05--Sacrifice!--1 Chronicles 21:22-24)
Recently I was asked this question: “What have you sacrificed lately in light of all the sorrow, desolation and bloodshed that have gripped the world?” It was a challenge from a friend of mine who regularly gives to charitable causes and has always considered it his personal task to make others aware of opportunities to do and to give to others. I cited the gifts that I make possible through my church. I also cited a check that I recently sent to a charity that focuses on rebuilding houses that have been destroyed in natural disasters. These, along with my regular gifts to the Salvation Army, the Red Cross and several pro-life organizations, I felt well-qualified me as one who “sacrifices.”
Then he posed this question: “What did these gifts replace in your life?” I thought for a moment and answered, “I don’t know. They probably haven’t really replaced anything.” “Then,” he frowned, “you have not sacrificed at all. While you have truly given, you have not sacrificed.”
During his reign, King Frederick William III of Prussia found himself in trouble. Wars had been costly, and in trying to build the nation, he was seriously short of finances. He couldn’t disappoint his people, and to capitulate to the enemy was unthinkable. After careful reflection, he decided to ask the women of Prussia to bring their jewelry of gold and silver to be melted down for their country. For each ornament received, he determined to exchange a decoration of bronze or iron as a symbol of his gratitude. Each decoration would be inscribed, “I gave gold for iron, 18l3.” The response was overwhelming. Even more important, these women prized their gifts from the king more highly than their former jewelry. The reason, of course, is clear. The decorations were proof that they had sacrificed for their king. Indeed, it became unfashionable to wear jewelry, and thus was established the Order of the Iron Cross. Members wore no ornaments except a cross of iron for all to see. (Lynn Jost)
I MET THE LATE DR. LARRY BURKETT, PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER OF CROWN FINANCIAL MINISTRIES IN 1979 BEFORE HE BECAME SO POPULAR. HIS TEACHING ON FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT TRANSFORMED MY PHILOSOPHY OF STEWARDSHIP, EVEN THOUGH AT FIRST, I THOUGHT HE WAS HAD LOST HIS MIND!! IN HIS BOOK: YOUR POTENTIAL FINANCIAL POWER DR. BURKETT WROTE, “IT HAS BEEN SAID THAT THE AVERAGE AMERICAN SPENDS HALF HIS WAKING HOURS THINKING ABOUT MONEY, FINANCES –– MONEY ––AND CASH –– THAT SO-CALLED “GREEN STUFF” HAS TORN APART MANY RELATIONSHIPS IN OUR CULTURE TODAY. THERE HAS BEEN MISUNDERSTANDINGS OF FINANCIAL RESOURCES AND MISAPPROPRIATION OF FINANCIAL RESOURCES. THIS PREOCCUPATION WITH MONEY HAS CREATED SOME STARTLING RESULTS IN OUR WORLD TODAY. NEARLY 80 PERCENT OF ALL DIVORCED COUPLES BETWEEN THE AGES OF 20, AND 30 LIST FINANCIAL DIFFICULTIES AS THE PRIMARY CAUSE OF THEIR SEPARATION."
From Gene Edwards’ Sermon: Faith, Finances, and Fleecing
C. Phillip Green
A House of Cards Economy
In fact, our current financial crisis is a direct result of this "entitlement," or "free lunch" kind of thinking. According to Terry Jones of the Investor's Business Daily (posted Wednesday, September 24, 2008), President Carter signed the Community Reinvestment Act in 1977, which pushed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to aggressively lend money to low-income communities. It was his contention that every American should own their own home, whether or not they could afford it.
When Clinton got into office, he "supercharged the process." He put in place new rules and regulations, which gave Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac extraordinary leverage, allowing them to hold just 2.5% of capital to back their investments, vs. the 10% required for banks.
With government guarantees and government incentives in place, banks made loans to people that required no money down and no verification of income. People who couldn't afford it, were given extraordinary loans, and by 2007, Fannie and Freddie owned or guaranteed nearly half of the $12 trillion U.S. mortgage market.
When President Bush and others began to warn Congress of an impending crisis, most Congressmen ignored it, because Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were financing 384 of their campaigns to the tune of $200 million over the last 20 years. (Terry Jones, "How A Clinton-Era Rule Rewrite Made Subprime Crisis Inevitable," Investor's Business Daily, Posted Wednesday, September 24, 2008, 4:30 PM PT)
"Free money" was available for the taking. All went well as long as housing prices kept going up. If a person couldn't pay their mortgage, which many couldn't, no problem! Just foreclose on the property and sell it for more than what was owed. Banks were making money hand over fist with these subprime loans, and it worked as long as the housing prices kept going up.
But when the housing market began to drop, the whole system came crashing down like a house of cards. Banks couldn't sell foreclosed properties at a high enough price to cover their losses, and now everybody is hurting.
It's all because of an "entitlement" philosophy and greed. It's all because people wanted a "free lunch" without the work. It's all because people wanted to take, instead of working to give. They were ignoring the 8th commandment: "You shall not steal."