Greetings from Charlotte,

This has been a busy and eventful week as we prepare for the Passover and the Spring Holy Days. Last Friday we received word from the State of North Carolina that Living University has been granted official permission to confer degrees in Theology. On Monday, we received the IRS Determination Letter confirming the University’s status as a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization. This is certainly good news that we have been waiting for. On Wednesday Mr. Meredith taped another Tomorrow’s World program, titled “The Devil and his Demons.” It will offer the booklet Satan’s Counterfeit Christianity. Last Thursday Mr. Charles Ogwyn and I flew to Tyler, Texas for a combined Sabbath service (attendance 194) and the first in a series of Regional Conferences that will be held this year. We had about 90 elders, deacons, leaders and their wives at the Tyler conference. Mr. John Strain will now be serving as a local elder in Hawkins, Texas. Also last weekend, Mr. and Mrs. Dexter Wakefield were in Barbados for Sabbath services (86 in attendance). The Wakefields then flew on to St. Lucia where Mr. Wakefield conducted a Public Bible Lecture on Sunday. Thirty-two people attended the lecture and a new congregation will be formed on the island (see report below). It has certainly been exciting and encouraging to see God’s hand in these recent events.
Mr. Basilio Osillos, Office Manager in the Philippines, reported this week that they have “received 135 return card requests from our subscribers for the DVD The Power of Prophecy.”
Church-Wide Fast Reminder: This Sabbath, March 28, the Living Church of God will be fasting to draw closer to God in every way and to beseech Him to pour out especially the gifts of healing on His Church. 
Church Administration
Passover 2009 (Repeat Announcement)
Important Notice to All Pastors: Passover services should not start before sunset. This year the Passover will be observed on Tuesday, April 7, a little less than two weeks from now. You should have already begun preparations, including hall arrangements, for your congregations to properly observe this solemn Feast. Let us know as soon as possible if any of the congregations you serve will need additional Passover service supplies (bread trays and/or wine trays or glasses) or even a copy of the Passover Service CDrecording.
Additionally, let us also know of any scattered members who need to receive the Passover Service CD and letter instructions to observe it at home. Please direct your requests to the Church Administration Department by e-mail at cad@lcg.org or by phone at 704-844-1960, ext. 248, as soon as possible to ensure timely delivery. 
Series of Notable Healings
Mr. Pieter van der Byl sent us a report today in which he outlined five notable healings that have taken place in Southern Africa over the last nine months. After being anointed, a member’s grandson who had been seriously weakened by tuberculosis greatly improved and is now attending school and Church again. God intervened for another member suffering from critical complications of diabetes. After being anointed in the hospital, she improved dramatically in a matter of days. A member who was attacked and robbed by gangsters and suffered four gunshot wounds that seriously injured his hip, leg and arm received an anointed cloth, and he is now able to stand and walk again. Another member, suffering from spreading cancer and in considerable pain and unable to walk without assistance, has improved considerably after being anointed. The doctor told him that the spreading cancer had been arrested and that chemotherapy was no longer necessary. Another member suffering with a critical gum infection was anointed and, on his following dentist visit, the dentist was amazed to see the infection gone!
South Central Regional Conference
Mr. Dan Hall reports: The South Central Regional Conference convened in Tyler, Texas from March 21-22.  A total of 194 brethren from three local congregations, including guests from four States, came together for a Feast-like “family reunion.”  Warmth and enthusiasm permeated the weekend of fellowship and meetings.
Church Administration Director Dr. Douglas Winnail gave an exceptional sermon on “Prophets, Prophecy, and God’s Church.”   This was very well received by all, including four new people—who are fruits of a recent Public Appearance in East Texas. 
Before 95 elders, deacons, deaconesses, and invited guests, Dr. Winnail, addressed the themes “Defending the Faith” and “Building the Congregations.”   Mr. Charles Ogwyn gave an update and overview on the power and potential of the Church’s website and the Internet.  One member commented, “We learned a ton and will do our best to put what we have absorbed into practice.”  Another leader stated that he appreciated the team spirit and the opportunity for input and suggestions.  Thanks to Dr. Meredith and the Headquarters team for implementing such a program.  It inspired us all to put our hearts more into the Work of God!    
St. Lucia Public Bible Lecture
Mr. Dexter Wakefield reports: God provided a successful public Bible Lecture in St. Lucia. Mr. and Mrs. Duval, Mr. Edward and Mrs. Metayer, from the nearby French island of Martinique, were most helpful with the arrangements and presentation. There were 32 in attendance in addition to the four brethren from Martinique, my wife, Marcia, and me. Mr. Joseph Edward introduced me to the St. Lucians. The lecture lasted about 1 ¼ hours after which there was a 30-minute break. I told the St. Lucians that I would talk as long as my voice and their ears held out, and they stayed and stayed. We finally finished up at 2:10 p.m., after four hours of speaking and answering questions.
Thirteen people left their names and phone numbers to be contacted later regarding attending Sabbath services in St. Lucia. Six or eight stated specifically that they want to be part of a video group.  One lady commented that the Living Church of God is God’s true Church. It certainly appears that God has people here for us to serve. 
Continuing Fruit Borne from Public Lectures
Marc Nicholson and Kevin Johnson report: Events in the Blairsville, Georgia congregation continue to be uplifting!  Two weeks after the Public Bible Lecture, 20 visitors returned on the Sabbath of March 21 to hear the follow-up sermon and Bible study presented by Pastor Martin Fannin.  Visitors also enjoyed a covered-dish meal provided by the Blairsville brethren.  The meeting hall was filled with enthusiasm and excitement and many of the visitors expressed an interest in attending services regularly and participating in the upcoming Spring Holy Days. Let’s continue to pray that many will catch the vision of the Kingdom of God and join us in this end-time Work.
South Africa Update
Mr. Pieter van der Byl reports: During my stays in Johannesburg with Mr. and Mrs. Louis Bouwer, I gave sermons and Bible studies and conducted the ALTP. We have also visited most of the members.   On my last trip I went up on Friday, March 12 and returned on Sunday, March 22. Mr. Louis Bouwer and I took a 1,400-kilometer trip through Mpumalanga and Limpopo Provinces to visit outlying members and GOTOs. One new couple and their two children are planning to attend the Feast this year.
On March 7, Mr. Christo Botha officiated at the funeral of an elderly former member of WCG in the small landlocked nation of Lesotho. He was 85-years-old and was a magistrate and a well-respected member of the community. Some 350 people attended the funeral. Three other baptized former members of WCG, as well as a prospective member, have now come over to LCG, and so we have now started a new congregation in Maseru, the capital of Lesotho.
On March 14, Mr. Christo Botha started a new congregation in Durban…. In the Western Cape we have one new prospective member attending in Cape Town, and we have another in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape.
Spanish Update
On March 4, Mr. Antonio Mora relocated to Mexico from San Francisco, California to serve the congregations in that country. In ten days, he visited congregations and Church members in Mexico City, Monterrey and Guadalajara.  Mr. Mora wrote, “On Friday, March 13, I travelled to Monterrey, where on the Sabbath I gave a live sermon through Skype to the congregations in Guadalajara, Puerto Rico and Bolivia…. On Sunday, March 15, I visited Radio Stations broadcasting El Mundo de Mañana in Monterrey to all the Mexican Republic.”
Mr. Mora later visited the congregation in La Paz and is planning on visiting brethren and congregations in Queretaro and San Luis Potosi in early April. He will be with the congregation of Mexico City for the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread
Living Youth Camp
Pre-Teen Camps
Registration for campers and staff is now open for Living Youth Pre-Teen Camp!  This year we will again be having pre-teen summer camps in Missouri and Texas for the 8-to-12-year-olds.  This is always a wonderful and exciting opportunity for our youth.  For information and to register, visit the LYC website at lyc.lcg.org or contact Jenny Penman at 704-844-1960, ext. 237.  Registration for the teens’ LYC Voyageurs Adventure in Minnesota is also currently underway.
Feast of Tabernacles 2009
This week, we feature in The World Ahead abbreviated descriptions of the sites in Guatemala and Malaysia. Unabridged descriptions of these and other sites can be found on MyLCG (www.cogl.org). As a reminder, International and Hawaii Feast registration is now available at the MyLCG section of www.cogl.org.
Panajachel, Guatemala
In 2009 the brethren from Guatemala will once again celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles in God’s chosen site of Panajachel, located next to Lake Atitlan. The nomination of Lake Atitlan as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World is much deserved, because it is a display of God’s awesome creative power as the Great Architect of the Universe and one of the most beautiful landscapes on earth. There is a two-hour trip from the airport to the Feast site; a discount on airport transportation is available for Church members.
English translation will be available at this site. Accommodation rates are surprisingly low at US$8 per person, per night. A good lunch or dinner can be enjoyed for US$7. There are also other hotels of higher prices and comfort.
For further information on this site, contact Madeleine Lincoln-Strange at mlincoln@lcg.org or by phone at 704-844-1960, ext. 217. If you would like to attend the Feast of Tabernacles in Guatemala, request a transfer by registering through the MyLCG section of www.cogl.org.
Penang, Malaysia
This year the Feast of Tabernacles will be held in Tanjong Bunga Beach Hotel Penang, in Malaysia. 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 wonderful 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 along the road. The Tanjong Bunga Beach Hotel Penang is strategically located and is an idyllic getaway. Penang possesses a unique charm of old and new perfectly blended on an island in full bloom that beckons you to harvest your dream of a wonderful Feast.
Special room rates at Tanjong Bunga Beach Hotel Penang are listed at the MyLCG section of the www.cogl.org website. Make your hotel reservations through Mr. Rajan Moses for the special rate. Those who would like to attend the Feast of Tabernacles in Malaysia should request a transfer by registering through the MyLCG section of www.cogl.org.
Can You Forgive? One of the most challenging things that we must do as Christians is to forgive someone who has offended us or hurt us. Jesus said that we must not only love our neighbors, but we must also show love to our enemies and those who have hurt us (Matthew 5:43-48). This involves being able to forgive—which means developing the mind of God and learning to use the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Bible reveals that God is abundant in mercy and is ready to forgive (Psalm 86:5). Jesus taught that if we do not forgive others—on a regular basis—then God will not forgive us (Matthew 6:14-15; 18:21-22). The Apostle Paul said we should “be kind to one another… forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” and “do not let the sun go down on your wrath” (Ephesians 4: 32, 26). Real Christians should not hold grudges or nurse hurts—whether real or imagined. Instead, real Christians must learn to forgive. Jesus asked His Father to forgive those who crucified Him—Stephen made a similar request (Luke 23:34; Acts 7:60). If we are truly following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, we must learn to do the same. As the Passover approaches, we need to carefully examine ourselves in this area of our lives (Matthew 5:21-24; 1 Corinthians 11:27-32). Is there someone we need to forgive? Is there someone to whom we need to apologize or from whom we need to ask forgiveness? The capacity to forgive is a Godly quality and one of the marks of a true Christian.
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail 
News and Prophecy—March 26, 2009
Back To Your Roots, Rome!“Rome needs to rediscover its ‘soul’ as the cradle of civilization so as to face modern challenges, says [Pope] Benedict XVI… Rome must again appropriate her most profound soul, her civil and Christian roots” (Zenit.org, March 9, 2009). The Pope also stated in his speech that the Christian roots of Rome are what once made it the “model of civilization for the world.” The Pope closed his address by noting that Rome’s history demonstrates that “being united” is what allows for the overcoming of extreme difficulties in life. Bible prophecy reveals that, at the end of the age, the Catholic Church will again emerge to play a central role in world affairs, along with a Beast power that arises in Europe from the roots of the old Roman Empire (Revelation 17:18). The Scriptures state that a great world church led by an influential religious figure operating from Rome will exert a powerful influence on this end-time Beast power (Revelation 13, 18). It is sobering to watch the Roman Catholic Church moving again to take an increasing role in European and global politics.
Turning To Other “gods,” Again! At Sinai, the Israelites promised to put the Eternal God above all other gods. Forty years later, another generation of Israelites renewed this covenant before entering the Promised Land. However, succeeding generations of Israelites repeatedly broke the promises of their forefathers and turned to other gods. Today, in the Israelite-descended nation of Britain, “psychics are reporting a big increase in business from wealthy professionals seeking advice on how to survive the credit crisis.” The British Astrological and Psychic Society reported a dramatic increase in its services, particularly during the last three months of 2008 (Sunday Telegraph, January 18, 2009). In ancient Israel, when times got desperate for King Saul, he lost patience waiting for God and His prophet to act, and took things into his own hands, seeking advice from a spiritist or fortune-teller (see 1 Samuel 28). God was very displeased and the very next day Saul was removed for seeking his own will, instead of seeking God’s will. The Eternal God desires His chosen people and all the peoples of the world to come to Him and seek His will and direction. One of the charges for God’s end-time Church is to “warn” these nations to return unto Him (see Ezekiel 3 and 33). This is an important aspect of the great commission that Jesus Christ gave to His Church, and one that, if carried out successfully, can result in tremendous blessings showered out by God (Matthew 24; 28:19-20).
The Married Minority. “Married couples are in a minority for the first time since records began” in Britain in 1862 (The Times, February 13, 2009). “Only one of 50 single women now marries each year, and only one in 43 single men.” The average age at first marriage for men is now almost 32 and for women it is nearly 30. In 1970, the average age of first marriage for men and women respectively was 24 and 20. Jill Kirby of the Center for Policy Studies observed, “The decline of marriage is worrying because of the very clear evidence of the importance to children of growing up in a married family.” Research “has shown that Britain stands out in Europe and the Western world…” with its marriage statistics (ibid). God stated in Genesis 2 that it “is not good that man should be alone” (v. 18), so He made a mate for Adam. God intended marriage from the very beginning, because it is the building block of society! Strong societies have low divorce rates and higher rates of intact families. Low marriage rates are one more “symptom” of the social and moral decline of societies around the world. Israelite-descended nations, instead of being the “model nations” for good that God intended (Exodus 19:5-6), have become an example of what is wrong in this Satan-inspired world. However, changes are coming when Jesus Christ returns and restores all things (Acts 3:19-21). When that happens, all nations will be taught the right way to have happy marriages and happy families—just as God intended from the beginning.—Daniel Bennett, Phyllis Api and Scott Winnail

COGwriter 2009

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