Greetings from Charlotte,
With Pentecost behind us, many are beginning to focus on what needs to be done over the summer and preparing for the fall Holy Days and the Feast. Mr. Meredith has finished the semi-annual letter that will be mailed next week, offering a new booklet on the Bible. Please pray that this letter will have a powerful impact on those who receive it. We are also preparing to print the Living Leadership Course and plan to have that ready for mailing soon. We hope to have speaking assignments for the Feast of Tabernacles prepared by early July. Last weekend I was able to spend time with Mr. and Mrs. Martin Fannin and to visit with congregations in Blairsville, Georgia and Knoxville, Tennessee. On Monday, Mr. Bob League and I traveled to Paducah, Kentucky, to go over plans for the Feast in that city. The pre-move trips of transferring ministers and their families seem to be going well. Thank you for your prayers on their behalf.
Australasian Update—by Mr. Bruce Tyler
From Thailand, Mr. Mehm Pho Saw reports: Our Tomorrow’s World radio program (in English) for this past Sabbath was 2006 and Prophecy by Dr. Roderick C. Meredith. A retired Thai school teacher came to join us in person after a few minutes of airing the program. So we now have three new subscribers within one month of airing the program on this small station in this Thai, Burmese and Karen-speaking region of Thailand.
From Indonesia, Mr. Arius Nusantara reports: There are 250 million people living in Indonesia, from the western island of Sumatra to the eastern island of Papua. For the last two years, the number of our subscribers has increased to 200 people, and this number does not include those who actively access our Indonesian website (www.indolcg.org) to print our posted articles.
Living Youth Camp
All who applied to the Michigan Teen Camp should have received notification by e-mail or letter regarding their acceptance. If you have not received a notification, please contact Sue Ruddlesden at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 704 844-1960, ext. 235
Living 4 Tomorrow – Michigan 2006
There is still time to apply for L4T. We have also made arrangements to provide airport transportation from the Saginaw (MBS) airport for a limited number of applicants (check the websites with the applications for additional instructions before purchasing an airline ticket arriving at the Saginaw [MBS] airport).
Applications are posted for L4T on these two web sites: www.youth-web.org (not on official Church website) and www.lcgsingles.org. There is additional information for L4T applicants on each site. If you don’t have Web access, applications and additional information may be requested by calling Lambert Greer at 502-228-5917. Please submit your application as soon as possible to assist us in planning for this year’s program.
The L4T program is open to singles between the ages of 18 and 30. We will also have a few cabins available for young married couples without children. The L4T format includes classes and discussion periods focused for the young Christian adult, mixed with recreational activities and fellowship time. The program fee is $175 US. The fee covers the cost of all lodging, food, and activities. Arrival date is the evening of Tuesday, July 11. Departure date is Sunday morning, July 16.
Ministers’ E-mail Addresses: All field ministers, including local elders, now have a Living Church of God e-mail address assigned to them. It consists of their first name initial and last name (all lower case, no breaks) followed by lcg.org; for example, email@example.com (for Mr. Rod McNair). If you have not been able to receive or access e-mails through your LCG e-mail address, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for help.
Mr. Wayne Pyle reports, “This week we offered The Middle East in Prophecy (ME) in program #276, ‘Danger in the Middle East.’ In the previous seven programs that this booklet was offered in, ME averaged about 2,400 responses per program. The highest response received was 2,770 back in November 2004. Well, this week’s program has already brought in 2,787 phone calls, and we are expecting it to finish at 3,062 by the end of the week, which is a new record for the ME booklet.
“Our new station in Phoenix, KAZT-TV, brought in 51 calls this Sunday. In the first two weeks a total of 142 calls were received, with a cost per response in the $13 range, which is mighty good for the size of a station, which reaches 1.4 million households.”
The Television Department reports that we have a number of promos being played on some of our stations around the country, as advertisements to tune in to the program. The new promo, just starting on our new Phoenix station, is the first one to be done 100% digitally! Mr. Tom Baca put together the video for the promo in Charlotte here at Headquarters. Mr. Kevin Lee, Church member and radio announcer in Michigan, who also does our voiceovers for the Tomorrow’s World telecast, sent Mr. Baca the voiceover as an electronic file by e-mail, which meant it got here faster, with better quality, than even a DAT (digital audio tape). As technology improves, there are an infinite number of ways to put it to use in the Work!
Prove Your Beliefs. Many today assume that simply “believing in Jesus” and “accepting Him into one’s own heart” is all that is required to be a Christian. However, the Bible teaches differently! The Scriptures warn that false teachers will also talk about believing in Jesus and deceive many people (Matthew 24:3-5: II Corinthians 11:1-4). The Apostle Paul advised, “Test [carefully examine, prove] all things; hold fast to what is good” (I Thessalonians 5:21). Paul states that our faith should be based on substance (assurance, solid ground) and evidence (confidence, proof) that can be assembled and understood (Hebrews 11:1)—not just on emotions or warm feelings in our heart! Luke writes that the early Christians’ belief in the resurrection of Jesus was based on “many infallible proofs” of seeing Jesus alive after His crucifixion (Acts 1:1-3). Josephus, the famous Jewish historian in the first century A.D., writes, “Jesus… [was] condemned to the cross… [yet] he appeared alive to them on the third day” (The Antiquities of the Jews, 18:3:3). Peter emphasized that the apostles were eyewitnesses to the things they were teaching (II Peter 1:16). He also said Christians should be able to give sound reasons for their beliefs (I Peter 3:15). Paul confidently provided a defense for his beliefs (Acts 26; Philippians 1:7, 16-17). If we take time to carefully prove what we believe and understand the evidence upon which our beliefs rest, we, too, should be able to confidently defend and explain what we believe to anyone!
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
NEWS AND PROPHECY—June 15, 2006
A Civil War in the Palestinian Territory? On June 12, “Hamas gunmen attacked the Gaza headquarters of security forces loyal to Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, using rocket-propelled grenades and anti-tank rockets” (Stratfor Intelligence Summary, June 13, 2006). The two Palestinian political parties, Hamas and Fatah, are at opposite ends of the political and religious spectrum. Each thinks the other has compromised too much and the only way to resolve their differences is to fight. This political and military infighting could backfire and demonstrate to the world that the Palestinians are incapable of governing themselves, requiring intervention from the international community or nations deeply invested in this area of the Middle East, and home to one of the most holy Christian sites on earth—the Temple Mount (Stratfor Morning Intelligence Brief, June 13, 2006). The Bible prophesies of “the times of the Gentiles” that will come upon the “holy city” at the end of the age. Then, Jerusalem will be under the control of a gentile nation or nations (Lk 21:24). The Vatican has long been “eyeing” Jerusalem. The civil unrest in the Palestinian territory could act as an incentive for the Vatican to establish a physical presence in and around Jerusalem.
Italy In Support of EU Constitution: Newly elected Italian prime minister Romano Prodi recently returned from Brussels. During his trip, Mr. Prodi met with the current EU president. In a statement to the press, Mr. Prodi observed “We need to increase the number of countries that are confident about the future of Europe… Italy will stand shoulder to shoulder by the [European] commission (EC)… Today is the day of the rebirth of Italy’s pro-Europe policy” (EuObserver.com, May 29, 2006). Former EC president Jacques Delors voiced powerful disapproval at the apparent divided vision of EU member states at a recent meeting in Helsinki. Mr. Delors indicated that a key reason for the lack of common vision is too many EU member states, citing the success of the Euro Zone, only after the number of member states was reduced from 15 to 12 (EuObserver.com, June 14, 2006). With Prodi’s support of the European Constitution (albeit a simplified draft), Italy joins the ranks of Germany and France and a small number of other member states, as staunch supporters of the constitution. Many have criticized the Church’s consistent teaching that the Beast power will eventually consist of 10 nations (Revelation 17:7, Daniel 2:33), but European actions and rhetoric, setting up for an “inner core” within the EU, all point toward a limited number of nations making up the final Beast power—God’s idea of 10 nations is no longer far-fetched.
Honey Bees and Prophecy? Ezekiel 5:17 reads, “So I will send against you [Israelite-descended nations] famine and wild beasts, and they will bereave you. Pestilence and blood shall pass through you and I will bring the sword against you.” Honey bees not only produce honey and wax for candles, but are extremely important to the pollination of many food crops. Jerry Hayes, of the Florida Department of Agriculture, estimates that if honey bees disappeared, 1/3 of the food consumed by Americans would also vanish (MSNBC, April 27, 2005). From California, to Britain, to New Zealand, bee populations are being decimated by an invading mite. Currently, between 30-50% of honey bees are being killed by the mite annually. The result is an increase in crop prices and also a reduction in the volume of crops, from almonds, to kiwis, to peaches (Santa Cruz Sentinel, May 7, 2006; The Telegraph, May 22, 2006; Radio New Zealand, May 22, 2006; The Guardian [UK], April 30, 2006). The “pestilence” mentioned in the book of Ezekiel and elsewhere conjures up images of locust decimating crops of grain, not microscopic mites killing honey bees. Yet, God can use “beasts” of any size and variety to fulfill His prophesies. Could God use this bee mite to completely destroy the world honey bee population and thus the fruit and vegetable crops that totally rely on bees for pollination? Time will tell as prophecy marches on… —Scott Winnail, Don Davis and Dan Bennett