From the Presiding Evangelist
Dear Fellow Servants of Christ,
As we approach God’s Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread, it may be helpful for all of us to review a number of chapters near the end of Gospel of John. Certainly, that is one of the most profound sections of the entire Bible. In this teaching—just before He died—Jesus said in His final complete prayer, “Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are” (John 17:11). Brethren, I am extremely thankful to God that He has given us in the Living Church of God a great sense of “oneness”—of peace and unity. It is certainly not perfect, and there may be certain problems or agitations with which I am not familiar. However, overall, every report coming to me—and every careful observation I make—helps me realize how thankful I should be for the wonderful sense of brotherhood and unity in our ministry and in the Church as a whole. Thank God!
As Jesus prayed that we all become “one,” I hope all of you will join me in praying that God would continue to give us this sense of love, togetherness and unity we now enjoy—even adding to it as we draw closer to God. So let us certainly try to do that at this Passover season! For God has certainly blessed us with the sacrifice of our Savior Jesus Christ—enabling us to become completely reconciled to Him through Christ’s blood, and having the Holy Spirit to help us overcome and grow as we should. We have much to be thankful for.
Also, in doing the Work, Christ has opened additional doors even recently for the Work to go out in ever greater power than ever. But we all need to be praying about this and asking God to help us make right decisions and also to be able to go through these wonderful “doors” of television, the Internet and other doors. Most of you who have been to Headquarters—or who know us personally—know that our ministry and our Headquarters team is working very hard. Many of our ministers are truly “stretched”—pastoring four to six or even seven congregations. We can only do so much. But we do appreciate your prayers and even the financial help that so many of you have given. Every widow’s mite is very helpful! All of us have our part. So I do ask all of you to join us in crying out to God that He will greatly bless the upcoming offerings this Spring—and later—so that we have the resources to go through the doors which Christ is opening at this time. Truly, this confused world deeply needs the message of their Creator. So we must tell them about our Savior, Jesus Christ, but also His message of the coming wonderful Government of God which is the only way that genuine peace and joy will come to this earth.
May God guide and inspire all of you at this Passover season. Please pray for us here in Charlotte—and we will be praying for and giving God thanks for all of you and the wonderful help that you have been and are continuing to be to God’s Work and God’s people.
Your brother in Christ,
Roderick C. Meredith
This coming week we will observe the Passover, the Night to be Much Observed and the Days of Unleavened Bread—as memorials of the initial steps in God’s great Plan of Salvation for mankind. As we see world events building to a crescendo at the end of this age, we can certainly be thankful for the mercy and understanding that God has granted to the people He is calling. We all need to use the Spring Holy Days to draw closer to God—remembering the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made on our behalf and doing our part to eliminate the spiritual leaven from our lives (see the CAD announcements below).
This has been a busy week here in Charlotte with meetings and getting ready for the Passover and Spring Holy Day period. A number of us will be traveling to other areas for the Holy Days. Mr. and Mrs. Meredith will be in Texas and Missouri. Mr. and Mrs. Ames will be in Virginia and Maryland. Mr. and Mrs. Apartian will be in Arkansas and Louisiana for Passover and the First Day of Unleavened Bread. They will be back in Charlotte for the last part of the Feast. Mr. and Mrs. Crockett will be here in Charlotte for Passover and the First Day of Unleavened Bread, and in Raleigh for the Last Day of Unleavened Bread. Mr. and Mrs. Rod McNair will be in Ohio. Last weekend, Dr. Scott Winnail had a very encouraging visit with brethren in Barbados where he and Mr. Fitzroy Greeman conducted services, a Bible Study and a Leadership Conference.
In other exciting news, last week, more than 240 new people attended Tomorrow’s World Bible Lectures: about 190 in Canada (in British Columbia), 26 in Bordentown, New Jersey and 33 in Jacksonville and Ocala, Florida (see reports below). This coming Sabbath, Mr. Jonathan McNair will conduct a TW lecture in Cranford, New Jersey. Your prayers for these lectures, for safe travel and for God’s blessing on the Spring Holy Days are appreciated.
Please note that the next issue of The World Ahead will appear on Thursday, April 8, 2010 (there will be no “Weekly Update” on April 1).
Every year questions arise as to who should attend the Passover Service. Only baptized members who have made a formal commitment to follow Jesus Christ should participate in the foot washing and partake of the bread and wine at the Passover.
Night to be Much Observed
It has been the practice of the Church of God for members to share a meal in either private homes or in a quiet room at a restaurant, where brethren can fellowship in a private manner, on the Night to be Much Observed. While the meal should take place in the evening, there is no biblical command that brethren have to wait to begin the meal until after sunset.
Holy Day Offerings
Some have asked if Holy Day offerings can be made online. Offerings are accepted and receipted online. However, since giving an offering on a Holy Day is part of an act of worship, if you plan to make your offering online, you should consider giving a portion of that offering during the worship service on the Holy Days.
Tomorrow’s World Bible Lectures
Bordentown, New Jersey: We had 26 “new” people attend the lecture, titled “What Is the True Gospel?” This was three more than had registered. Combined with 72 of our members, we were just shy of breaking 100 in attendance! The first half of the lecture focused on the True Gospel and how that differed from “counterfeit gospels” that appeared in the early centuries of the Church. During the break, the fellowship was so exuberant that I hated to ask people to return to their seats. The second half of the lecture addressed the question of “What Is the Kingdom of God?” All the guests stayed for the second half to hear the answer! We are very thankful to those who prayed for the success of the day—we had beautiful weather and an uplifting Sabbath.—Jonathan McNair
Jacksonville and Ocala, Florida: A week ago, Dr. Douglas Winnail “planted seeds” in Florida with his lecture, “What’s Ahead for America?” This past weekend, Mr. Joe Brown, pastor of churches in north Florida and south Georgia, “watered” those seeds with two follow-up lectures titled, “Where Is God’s Church Today?” A total of 33 new people attended these lectures. In Jacksonville, a total of 59 people attended the second lecture (25 were new). In Ocala, 24 people (including eight new people) braved the bad weather to hear the follow-up lecture by Mr. Brown. We are all looking forward to helping these “new seedlings” begin to sprout and grow!—Tony Peacock
Western Canada: Last week, we held three lectures on the subject, “Can You Escape Armageddon?”—in Surrey/Burnaby (suburbs of Vancouver) and Victoria, BC—and two follow-up lectures titled, “Which Church Would Jesus Attend?”—in Surrey/Burnaby and in Victoria. A total of 190 new people attended these lectures. A number of the new attendees indicated they would like to begin attending services with the Living Church of God.—Gerald Weston
Mr. Dexter Wakefield reports that donated goods (about 50 boxes) will be shipped in the next week or so to Haiti from Miami, and that no more donations are needed at this time. We are very appreciative for the generosity of everyone who has made an effort to provide assistance for our brethren in the devastated portion of the island. Mr. Wilner Pierre will be in Haiti for two weeks to spend the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread with our brethren there, and to help with relief efforts for our congregation.
Mr. Dexter Wakefield writes: This was a big week for the Spanish broadcast in Miami. The programming was changed from AM 1550 to AM 670, a more powerful station. Mr. Miguel Llanes reports: “While in Florida this weekend, the radio station aired our program on the larger 670 AM. We heard it loud and clear up in Stuart…. More good news is that we had four good responses.… As an important side note, the pastor of the religious program that followed ours read three short letters from his listeners in three separate provinces in Cuba (Camajuane, Quiwen (Habana), and Poso Blanca, the area of Las Tuna which is all the way southeast in Oriente!)....” So the Tomorrow’s World broadcast is now reaching Cuba (including Havana) in strength.
Mr. Michael Gill reports: We are happy to report that, even in this difficult global financial downturn, our income remains in a growth trend, with a nearly 4% increase in offerings for the first two months of our new Church Financial Year, which commenced January 1, 2010. This is very favorable when we consider a growth in offerings of 1.67% for 2009 over 2008.
Mr. Mark Mager reports: The work in the Mail Processing Department has been moving “full steam ahead” as we now have a fully renovated mailing room which suits our needs perfectly… One side of the room is dedicated to processing the mail, which includes a waist-high countertop that incorporates adequate shelving to house booklets and other literature. The opposite side of the room is dedicated to booklet making. We are currently printing several booklets ourselves that fit into a normal DL size envelope, which brings the cost down from AUD$1.10 to only 55 cents. It’s an incredible savings for the Work….
Mr. Dayrell Tanner has been in the Philippines since March 18 and will be there until Saturday evening, April 3. His schedule will include visits to Davao, Don Carlos, Cagayan de Oro, Manila, where he will spend the Passover, and Quezon City, where he will be with the brethren for the Night to be Much Observed and the first Holy Day of Unleavened Bread. During his trip, Mr. Tanner will be able to spend time with the Philippine ministry, discuss how to better do the Work there and Feast of Tabernacles planning for this year in Mindanao, and address manpower needs for the future, among other subjects.
Sri Lanka Update
Mr. Zig Svalbe reports: The brethren in Sri Lanka continue to have a significant challenge finding suitable employment. Almost all the jobs require work on the Sabbath, so losing a job becomes very serious. Recently a person has been told to work late Friday nights or resign. It has been a real test of faith to walk away from a good job (for the third time), trusting God will provide another. Jennifer and I plan to be in Sri Lanka for almost two weeks during the Passover and Unleavened Bread season. This will give us a good opportunity to counsel and visit all the brethren in their own homes. I also plan to start the very first LCG Spokesman Club in Colombo during my visit. These clubs have proven over the years to be very beneficial in helping train future leaders in the congregation. For all subsequent club meetings, we plan to utilize some modern technology that has become available to us at very little cost. Voice-and-video-over-Internet (Web conferencing), now makes it possible to direct each club meeting from my home office in Australia, almost as if I was there with the brethren. This should work well since I am already conducting regular live monthly Bible Studies to the Sri Lankan congregation using the free Skype program. I can speak, ask questions, and receive answers in real time. Members are also being given an opportunity to have private counsel over the same medium. Web conferencing is proving to be very beneficial for remote congregations such as Sri Lanka, because the opportunities to visit are limited and travel costs are high.
Malaysia and Southeast Asia Update
Mr. Rajan Moses reports: We have received more than 250 responses for the 2012 DVD and more are still coming. The bulk supply of DVDs arrived in Malaysia, from Charlotte, on January 4. However, the customs screening department has stopped the delivery to our office. It is now two months and we have not received the DVDs. We have therefore requested a master copy of the DVD from the U.S. so that we can make our own copies. It is becoming more difficult for Christian literature to come into the country. Please remember this in your prayers. I will be visiting Singapore from March 19-21 to visit three prospective members who have shown interest in attending Sabbath services. I will also join William Tan, our only member in Singapore, for the Sabbath of March 20.
God is blessing His Work in Southeast Asia through the Internet. It has become a very powerful tool by which God is getting out His end-time message as a witness to the world. Since August 2008, daily responses from the Internet are increasing and we are sending more than 1,950 magazines and booklets through electronic mail to 18 countries in Southeast Asia. We also mail 400 hard copies of Tomorrow’s World magazine. Hundreds have received the hard copies of the booklets and Bible Study Course. The following countries are presently receiving the Church’s literature through electronic mail: China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Myanmar, Nepal, Brunei, Macau, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, Bhutan, Malaysia and Bangladesh. We had about 120 GOTOs and a few have shown interest in coming to Church services. The semi-annual letters of Mr. Roderick Meredith have a great impact on many subscribers.
Feast of Tabernacles 2010
International and Alaska Transfer Requests
We now have approved 453 international and Alaska transfer requests, and are continuing to process more. If you have been approved for transfer, you should have received an e-mail message at the e-mail address connected to your MyLCG account. If you have not yet received your transfer approval notice, thank you for your patience as we process them. All USA member households should also be receiving in the mail the 2010 Festival Flyer
, a full-color brochure giving general Festival registration information about each USA Feast site (copies are being sent to international Regional Offices, too). If you have any questions or need assistance registering, please contact the Festival Office at firstname.lastname@example.org
Plans for the Alaska Feast site are moving along well. I just returned from a very productive Feast planning trip to Anchorage. There is an abundance of natural beauty that even in the winter is amazing. We have received a lot of requests to attend the Alaska Feast site, and are now beginning to send out acceptances. We are however filling the site up quickly so, if you want to attend the Alaska site, you need to register as soon as possible. As the old saying goes, “The early bird gets the worm,” so don’t be left out of the cold and register soon to attend the Alaska Feast site. For more information about the site, visit www.fotalaska.com
. –Jim Meredith
This week we feature abbreviated descriptions of our sites in Kenya and Malaysia. Unabridged descriptions are available at the MyLCG section of www.cogl.org.
In 2010, Living Church of God brethren from all parts of East Africa will, for the second time, keep the Feast of Tabernacles at Border Point Hotel in Isibania, Kenya. Border Point Hotel, built in a private compound, has a well-maintained and picturesque garden of green grass, contrasting a forest of bright flowers, characterizing a friendly atmosphere. It is situated along Kisii-Migori Road, on the Border of Kenya and Tanzania. It is in a small town and a popular trade destination for East African residents. Feastgoers will have the opportunity to see large sugarcane farms, Sony Sugar Factory, and small-scale farmers growing varieties of crops and indigenous livestock. International transfer applicants should be adventurous adults in good health. Vaccination and malarial medication are recommended.
Accommodation for East African residents and international guests will be available at Isibania Border Point Hotel (international guests: bed and breakfast at a cost of US$22 per person per night. Meals for international guests: a la carte menu at a cost of US$5 per person per meal). International guests will fly into Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA). A reliable transport from JKIA to Isibania Border Point Hotel will be available on request. On the way to Isibania, you might see giraffes as you pass through the plains of the Rift Valley.
For further details on this site, please visit the MyLCG section of www.cogl.org
and contact Mr. Rod King at email@example.com
or, by phone, at +44-1480-880-172. If you would like to attend the Feast in Kenya this year, register online at MyLCG (www.cogl.org
This year the Feast of Tabernacles in Malaysia will be held in the Flamingo Hotel Penang. It is a beautiful beach hotel situated on the northern coastline of Penang. It is a place where you can take a swim in the sea, stroll along the beach and enjoy a luxurious stay in a comfortable room. The Komtar Shopping Complex, Island Plaza and Gurney Plaza, the fantastic hawker food at Gurney Drive, and the Botanical Gardens are all only 15 minutes away. The Flamingo Hotel is strategically located and is an idyllic getaway. Penang possesses a unique charm of old and new, perfectly blended! It is an island in full bloom and beckons you to harvest your dream of a wonderful Feast.
For hotel rates and further details on this site, please visit the MyLCG section of www.cogl.org
and contact Mr. Rajan Moses at firstname.lastname@example.org
or, by phone, at +60-3-9200-8176. If you would like to attend the Feast in Malaysia this year, register online at MyLCG (www.cogl.org
Eliminating Spiritual Leaven: The Scriptures clearly indicate that leaven is to be removed from our homes during the Days of Unleavened Bread (Exodus 12:15). However, we need to remember that this is a physical exercise to help us understand the importance of identifying and eliminating the spiritual leaven that tends to creep into our lives from this world. Spiritual leaven includes breaking the commandments of God by lusting, coveting, and hating, as well as compromising or rebelling against God’s laws and instructions. Spiritual leaven also includes the works of the flesh that Paul mentions in Galatians 5:19-21—adultery, fornication, outbursts of wrath, sowing seeds of contention and division, promoting personal doctrinal heresies and pursuing selfish ambitions, etc. As we take the Passover and go through the Days of Unleavened Bread, let’s ask God to show us any spiritual leaven that we need to eliminate from our lives. Let’s also be forgiving of others and be thankful for the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for us so we can be forgiven.
Have a profitable Sabbath and Spring Holy Day period,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—March 25, 2010
Watch the Middle East! This is an admonition God’s Church has made for decades, and now we are starting to see why. “The Temple Mount Institute has filed suit in its fight for the right to sacrifice a sheep on the Temple Mount prior to Passover, as commanded in the Torah.” Citing equal access rights to the Temple Mount, the Institute notes discriminatory actions by the Israeli police. Muslims retain the right to worship according to their customs, while Jews, who also view the Temple Mount as holy, are forced to limit their religious activities (IsraelNationalNews.com, March 18, 2010). Although the Temple Mount Institute will likely not be granted the opportunity to offer sacrifices on the Temple Mount prior to the Passover, there is increasing pressure to allow equal access to worship on the Temple Mount. As America appears to be curtailing its relationship with Israel, the EU and the Catholic Church are “building” their relationships with Israel. One of the clear signs of the end of the age, indicating Christ’s imminent return, is the cessation of Temple sacrifices. The sacrifices will apparently cease half-way through a seven-year treaty between many nations, and will be involved in triggering the beginning of the Great Tribulation (Daniel 9:27; 12:11). In order for sacrifices to cease, they must first begin—and events appear to be moving in this direction!
Will the European Union Shrink? Currently, there are 16 eurozone members using the Euro as their common currency. But recent debt issues that plague certain member nations have prompted discussions about the possible exclusion of nations from the eurozone. Last week, Germany’s leader Angela Merkel, “called for new rules that would allow for expulsion, and many people in debt-ridden countries like Italy and Greece are increasingly blaming the euro for their woes.” She went on to note, “We need to have an agreement in which, it is even possible as a last resort, to exclude a country from the eurozone if, in the long-term, it again and again fails to fulfill the conditions.” In addition, economists with the European Central Bank admit that for the euro to be a truly effective currency, EU nations must have not only a common currency, but also a common budgetary process—which means less individual sovereignty for nations (AP, March 18, 2010). Long ago God prophesied that a group of ten kings (possibly 10 nations) would arise in Europe and comprise the final Beast power of Revelation (see Revelation 17). Some have criticized this understanding because the current EU consists of more than 25 nations. However, there are only 16 nations in the eurozone, five of whom are at varying degrees of financial difficulty. Germany’s recent suggestion that the EU should be able to expel the fiscally insolvent opens a way that the EU could reduce the EU to 10 key players.
Imposing the Feminine Cause? The Obama administration and the EU have backed a proposal for the United Nations to create a new “super agency” that will advance gender equality and the empowerment of women. Its head would report directly to the UN Secretary General. A primary advocate for the new agency, Charlotte Bunch, is calling for USD$1 billion to initiate the agency. But not everyone is in favor of this new UN initiative. Steven Mosher of the Population Research Institute observed, “What is being proposed is a very powerful agency with a global mandate to restructure relations between the sexes. If the past is any indicator, it will be used to impose the lifestyle of Manhattan and Hollywood feminists on family-centered countries and cultures. It is cultural imperialism at its worst.” Many conservatives are concerned that this new agency would be a vehicle to promote radical feminist ideology (Catholic News Agency, March 4, 2010). Long ago God warned the Israelite descendents, “As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them…” (Isaiah 3:12). Events now occurring at national and international levels are setting the stage for the further fulfillment of God’s prophecies. This potential new UN effort falls in line with Bible prophecy.—Scott Winnail and James Ginn
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