Greetings from Charlotte,
This has been an eventful week in the Work and on the world stage. Fighting continues in the Philippines and it is affecting our brethren—they need our heartfelt prayers. The Democratic National Convention has nominated Barack Obama as its candidate for the American Presidency. Another major hurricane is ripping through the Caribbean heading for the Gulf of Mexico and possibly New Orleans. Here in Charlotte, we are working on articles for the next Living Church News and Tomorrow’s World magazines, and on classes for Living University. Plans are also moving ahead for the new television studio in our new building. Yesterday, we had a teleconference with Festival Coordinators who are busily preparing for the Feast of Tabernacles. We also have several ministers and their families in the midst of relocating. They will appreciate your prayers for selling their homes and finding housing in their new areas.
From the Presiding Evangelist
Dear Fellow Ministers,
Greetings from Charlotte! We are delighted to announce that Mr. and Mrs. Syd Hull in South Africa have come back to the Living Church of God! Although he went to two other different fellowships for a while, he has heartfeltly acknowledged that he made some terrible mistakes and wants to come home. They are coming back just as members—not in the ministry—and requested that themselves as they understand the situation. They have both acknowledged that what they did was wrong and that they are sorry for hurting others. They realize that this is where the Work is being done and want to be part of Christ’s Work at the end of the age. So let us all rejoice and pray with them that this will all work for good and that all of us can learn every lesson God wants us to learn as we move through the trials and tests of this human experience. Please pray for them—pray for God’s Church in South Africa—and please continue to pray for all of us in the Work.
We are grateful for the prayers and effort put forth by Messrs. Rod King, van der Byl and Botha in visiting with the Hulls to help be sure that this is all done correctly. And we certainly can thank God that He is the “Father of mercies” to all of us and will continue to work with us as long as we sincerely want to do His will.—Roderick C. Meredith
Personal Correspondence Department
Mr. Gary Ehman, our Personal Correspondence Manager at Headquarters, reports that “with one day still to go, the Personal Correspondence Department has set a new August record for responses to questions. The previous record was 511, set in 2007. As of today, August 28, there have been 522 combined e-mail and hard mail responses.”
Last week, we included a note from one of our ministers in the Lanao provinces of Mindanao. This week, we have an update from another one of our ministers, Mr. Felipe Casing, who serves brethren in a separate region of Mindanao that is also war-torn by fighting: “Two MILF commanders with their armed men attacked and pillaged several towns in Cotabato (my province), burned 80 and more houses of Christians; a dozen were killed, stores ransacked, animals, like cows, carabao (water buffalo) goats and chickens, were butchered... Then, when government soldiers came to drive them out, they held hostage some civilians when fleeing. Our brethren in Kidapawan would hear the sound of guns and cannon daily for a week. According to the top MILF leadership, they have no control on their field commanders, since they are loose groups... they have access to other terrorist groups abroad... The brethren are affected, too, for how will we peacefully conduct our daily business at home, in the farm, in traveling, when anytime there goes a bomb explosion, an ambush... along the roads and in the farm areas?... May God protect all His people.”
Please continue to pray for our brethren and ministers in the southern areas of the Philippines.
Public Bible Lecture in Belfast
Mr. Rod King reports on his public presentation in Belfast, Northern Ireland, last Sabbath: “We regularly have a Church attendance of sixteen in Northern Ireland, and they were all present on that day. As the minutes ticked by from half an hour before the start, the numbers just kept growing till we had 55 subscribers in attendance. We had put out 50 chairs and the attendant had to scour the building to find enough extra chairs. The final count of 71 was well beyond our estimation. I asked our deacon, John Murphy, to enquire about booking the same room in two weeks’ time for a follow-up lecture, and that was possible. Mr Henry Cooper, our elder in Ireland, will present the address on that day. In all my years of conducting lectures, I have never been given a donation but on that Sabbath, five people gave me donations. We thank God for stirring up the Tomorrow’s World readers to attend His lecture. Now the hard work of follow-up visits will commence. But we look forward to it.”
Mr. Rod King is currently on an extended trip to south and eastern Africa. He will be visiting congregations in South Africa, Swaziland, Kenya and Tanzania and expects to be back in the United Kingdom on September 9. Please remember him in your prayers for a successful and safe journey.
Public Bible Lecture in Chanute
Mr. Rand Millich reports on his public presentation in Chanute, Kansas last Sabbath, August 23: “We had an excellent response to the invitations sent out for the Public Bible Lecture in Chanute, Kansas. We had a total attendance of 47. Of that number, 20 were subscribers. There were three others who responded, but were not able to attend. However, they desired information from the services. I would estimate that at least a third of the 20 expressed the desire for further visits and contact with the Church. Karl Beyersdorfer introduced the lecture. I spoke on: ‘How Prophecy Will Affect Your Life.’”
Feast of Tabernacles 2008
This week, Mr. Rod McNair conducted a teleconference with USA, Canadian and a few international Festival Site Coordinators to discuss various items in preparation for the fast-approaching Feast of Tabernacles.
As a reminder to Area Pastors, if there are members in your areas who will be unable to attend the Feast of Tabernacles and would like to receive Feast sermons on CD, please send us their names and addresses by September 14, as announced in the August 21 issue of The World Ahead.
New Braunfels, Texas
Family Day: The New Braunfels, Texas, Feast site has added a Family Day activity to its registration page. To register, go to www.cogl.org. Once there, click on the button at the top left of the screen that reads “MyLCG.” Log in using your username or Church-issued PIN and your password; then, under “Feast Site Information,” on the right column menu, click on the “Register” button. Your festival registration page will come up. If you scroll down to section 3—Activities—you can click on the edit option. This will allow you to add or change your choices. When you have completed your selections, scroll to the bottom and click on “Continue.” Scroll down once more to the bottom of the page and click on “My LCG Home.” Now you are registered for Family Day!
For more information about Family Day at the Rio Cibolo Ranch, including activities, meals, and pricing, go to www.fottexas.org. Please see your local Festival Advisor if you need assistance.
Value of the Old Testament: Jesus said that Christians are to live “by every word of God” (Luke 4:4). The Apostle Paul wrote, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). When these words were written and spoken, the primary Scriptures in existence were the books of the Old Testament—which are often discounted and ignored by most professing Christians today. They have been told that these Old Testament books have been succeeded by the New Covenant and the New Testament. Yet, Paul wrote to New Testament Christians in Corinth about the Old Testament, “Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (1 Corinthians 10:1-13). According to the Scriptures, there is much to learn from studying the Old Testament. If we can learn from the examples that have been recorded for us, there will be benefits both now and in the coming Kingdom of God when we will be able to share important lessons with all mankind.
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—August 28, 2008
Churches Look to Rome. Senior Church of England officials have had ongoing dialogue with the Vatican to determine how to handle the liberal agenda of the current Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams—all of this unbeknownst to the Archbishop. Should the Archbishop press forward with his agenda to ordain women and gays, analysts and church officials predict that hundreds of Church of England bishops will “defect to Rome” (Sunday Telegraph, July 6, 2008). Meanwhile, Slovakia began minting euro coins and currency this week. The symbol on the one-and two-euro coins is a double cross on three hills—the symbol is also featured on the nation’s flag. “It is the first time that the Christian crucifix will be included on the side of a euro coin” (EU Observer, August 20, 2008). One understanding of the symbol is that Slovakia is the guardian of the Christian faith in Europe—a faith delivered to them by the Byzantine or Eastern Roman Empire, about 1200 years ago. Recent events across Europe highlight the accuracy of the Apostle John’s inspired writings in Revelation 17, regarding the daughters of the harlot of Revelation returning to her. We are witnessing increasing movement toward Rome by churches and nations across Europe.
Increase in Global Grain Demand. Rice is the most political grain in the world! “2008 has seen a remarkable level of turbulence and chaos resulting from rice demand. Thailand was the stage for a surreal scene where armed guards marched along with combines harvesting rice. In the Philippines, heavy prison sentences were mandated for anyone caught hoarding rice. In Haiti, the prime minister was removed following protests due to high rice prices.” Rice will always be a staple in poorer nations. To put things in perspective, China could deplete the entire annual U.S. rice supply in 3.5 weeks. Interestingly, as poor nations move forward economically, they are converting fertile farm land to cattle grazing land. China has already converted seven million acres from farmland to cattle and poultry land this year… and farm animals consume the grain too (Delta Farm Press [Nebraska, USA], August 22, 2008). God warned that, at the end of the age, global famines and other circumstances would lead to hyperinflation of grains! In fact, there will come a point that one day’s supply of grain will cost a family an entire day’s wages (Revelation 6:5-6). Grain forecasters predict that grain costs will continue to rise worldwide, including the politically-important grain: RICE.
Everyone Doing what Is Right in their Own Eyes… Two Seventh-Day Adventists from California just wrote a book on how to properly count the Sabbath. They propose that the weekly cycle actually “floats” from month to month, starting over with every new moon. Because of this, most weeks in a month are seven days long, but one week each is longer—up to 13 days long, depending on how the new moon falls. Thus, the Sabbath could fall on any day of the week… even Sunday. This idea is not new and has proponents around the world (World Net Daily, August 22, 2008). However, proponents fail to take into account simple biblical examples, including the seven-day week established at creation, the command to work six days and rest on the seventh, the counting of the Feast of Pentecost “always” being 50 days and always ending on the first day of the week, etc. God warned against everyone doing what is right in their own eyes (Deuteronomy 12:8). He clearly identified the fact that the Jews would be keepers of the oracles of God—this includes the calendar (Romans 3:2). God directed that we look to the Church and not to individuals, for direction and judgment on foods, festivals, new moons and Sabbaths (Colossians 1:18, 2:16-17). When we rely on our own understanding and on our own hearts to lead us into the truth, we will always be led astray (Proverbs 3:5; 14:12; Jeremiah 17:9)—and the end result is confusion and chaos which is not God’s way (1 Corinthians 14:33). The Scriptures reveal that doing what is right in our own eyes only leads to problems (see Judges 21:25).—Daniel Bennett and Scott Winnail
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