Greetings from Charlotte,

The dust appears to be settling enough, after the Iceland volcano eruption, to allow our ministers and wives coming from Europe to be here in Charlotte for the Council of Elders meetings this week and the Ministerial Conference that will take place next Monday through Wednesday. A total of 233 ministers and wives from 15 countries (Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Philippines, Switzerland, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom and the United States) will be attending this conference. It is also very encouraging to be able to report that the Spring Holy Day offerings in the USA were up 8-10% from last year—which is much appreciated. Responses to Tomorrow’s World television programs during the month of April ranged from 3,100 to 5,294 per program. Last weekend, about 30 guests attended follow-up TW Special Presentations titled “Where Is the Church that Jesus Christ Built?” held in Pawtucket, Rhode Island and in Bluefield, West Virginia. Today and tomorrow, Mr. Meredith is presiding over the Council of Elders meetings. Please pray that God will guide these meetings in the direction that He wants His Church to go.
Today and tomorrow, Mr. Rod McNair will be guiding some international ministers who have arrived a few days before the General Ministerial Conference, on a condensed Headquarters visiting program, to visit and learn about various Headquarters departments.
Church Administration
Second Passover
This year, the Second Passover should be taken shortly after sunset on Tuesday, April 27. This Passover is for those baptized members who were unable to take the first Passover due to unavoidable circumstances. The biblical instructions guiding this ceremony are found in Numbers 9:1-14.
Mr. Jacques Secours, the Area Pastor serving the Montreal, Quebec region in Canada, submitted this encouraging report of a member’s miraculous healing. The member wrote, “Since childhood, following an accident, I suffered of chronic insomnia and, since January 2010, of severe fatigue. Tests proved that I had restless leg syndrome (probably neurological) and slow cardiac rhythm. I took medications which brought me many undesired side-effects. I got anointed by Mr. Jacques Secours. A week before Passover I had no leg muscle tone whatsoever and I could not walk anymore. Mr. Secours asked the brethren for prayers on my behalf. For two days I felt discouraged. Then, all of a sudden, I felt peaceful and being taken care of. I was convinced that God would deliver me. I took the Passover in a wheelchair. The next day I felt more strength and attended the First Day of Unleavened Bread using a walker. On Last Day of Unleavened Bread I came to services all by myself walking again. What a God of love we have. He really blessed me with a healing. I will glorify God all my life for this healing. Furthermore, I now sleep well without any medications whatsoever. What a Great God we have and thanks to all the brethren for their fervent prayers.”
Carolina Singles Weekend—May 28-30 (Repeat Announcement)
The time is now! If you have not registered for the Carolina Singles Weekend, space is still available and we are looking forward to an exciting weekend of learning, fun, fellowship and you.  Registration will only remain open for a short time, so for more information and to download the registration form, go to the Charlotte congregation website at www.charlottelcg.org (not an official Church website) and click on the “Carolina Singles Weekend” category.  Don’t miss out on this extraordinary opportunity. We look forward to seeing you in Charlotte! If you have any questions, contact Mark Smith at msmith@lcg.org or, by phone, at 704-844-1960, ext. 2238.
Feast of Tabernacles 2010
Feast of Tabernacles Registration:  IMPORTANT—PLEASE READ
Please register (even if you are going to assigned site)! As of April 22, we have 2,504 brethren registered for the US and Canadian sites. However, it is imperative that all members and attendees register for the Feast for our records to be complete.  Some have thought that if they are attending their assigned site that there is no need to register.  This is not correct. Registration is required, even if attending your assigned site.  Also, registration should be done even if you are not able to attend the Feast (you register as “unable to attend”), to enable us to better serve those who cannot attend.  If you have questions, please see your local Festival Advisor.
Overbooked in Helen: Regrettably, some of our Helen, Georgia transfer approvals were made in error.  With seating capacity at Helen extremely tight, we currently will not have enough room even for our locally assigned brethren.  We are asking some of our incoming transfers to Helen to change their plans, even if they were approved to transfer to Helen.  If you can do this, we would greatly appreciate it. If you are assigned to Helen and have not yet registered, please do so right away!  Also, even if you are assigned to Helen but can transfer to another site, it would be greatly appreciated.  At this time, we have plenty of room for incoming transfers to Panama City, New Braunfels, Branson, and Wisconsin Dells. We truly apologize for the inconvenience, and appreciate your patience in this matter.
This week we feature descriptions of our sites in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Unabridged descriptions are available at the MyLCG section of www.cogl.org.
Batu, Indonesia
The Feast of Tabernacles will once again be held in Batu, Indonesia. Local attractions nearby include theme parks, waterfalls, fruit gardens, zoos and a museum. Gastronomy in Batu is mostly Asian (Western food is not available in most restaurants nearby). The language spoken is Indonesian (with some English). Foreign visitors should understand Indonesian, at least in the intermediate level. The airport is approximately 88 kilometers away (about a 2 ½-hour drive). Temperatures during Feast time are typically 17-20°Cs (60-70°F) at night, and 27-30°C (80-85°F) during the day. Accommodations will be in a villa complex. Rooms accommodate two to three people. The price is USD$50/day (not including food). This site is open to foreign visitors, but on a limited basis. If you would like to attend the Feast in Indonesia this year, please register at the MyLCG section of www.cogl.org. For further information on this site, contact the coordinator, Mr. Arius Nusantara, at +62-341-365-630 or at mrariusnusantara@yahoo.com.  
Wewak, Papua New Guinea
The Feast of Tabernacles will once again be held at Wewak, Papua New Guinea. A fitting place to have a foretaste of Christ’s peaceful Millennium, this area was one of the major battlefields of World War II in the Pacific. A war memorial today sits on the site where Japanese forces surrendered, to end that bloody campaign. The names of Allied soldiers who died here are written as a reminder of their sacrifice, and of the horrible tragedy of war. Today, Feastgoers can enjoy sight-seeing, including diving off the islands. English is spoken, and international transfers are welcome. Today, Feast-goers can enjoy sight-seeing, including diving off the islands. English is spoken and international transfers are welcome. Accommodation prices vary, with some being very reasonable—contact Mr. Peter Devis for details at pdevis@datec.net.pg or call +67-5-856-2743. If you would like to attend the Feast in Papua New Guinea this year, please register at the MyLCG section of www.cogl.org.
Your Opinion—or Christ’s Mind? How many times have you made or heard comments like, “Here is what I think…” or “Here’s how I see it…” or “This is the way it should be done…” or “I am going to give them a piece of my mind!” All too often, these comments are directed at people in leadership positions—in government, in business or even in the Church—with whom we disagree! Moses was criticized by men who held different opinions (Numbers 16). Peter sharply differed with Jesus over an issue and even rebuked Christ (Matthew 16:21-23). In both cases, the individuals expressing critical opinions did not recognize the real source of their negative and divisive thoughts and actions. Before we blurt out our “different” opinions for others to hear, we need to remember several biblical admonitions. God states, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways” (Isaiah 55:8). Solomon warned, “A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man [or woman] holds them back” (Proverbs 29:11). The Apostle Paul urged Christians to learn to exercise self-control and to bring “every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27; 2 Corinthians 10:1-5).  As we learn to control our carnal urges to say whatever is on our minds, and learn to respond with patience and understanding, we will be developing the mind of Christ.
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—April 22, 2010
The Power of Earthquakes. The shifting of the earth’s giant tectonic plates results in earthquakes and even volcanic eruptions. Over the last week, an Icelandic volcano spewed ash seven miles (more than 10 kilometers) into the air, halting air travel throughout most of Europe, and stranding air travelers worldwide (Time, April 16, 2010). Estimates place the cost of the current crisis between $200-$300 million per day. Estimates suggest 750,000 passengers are stranded globally, due to the eruption. The Royal Navy sent ships to France and Spain this week to assist stranded travelers. Experts expect the ash cloud to dissipate in the near future, but they remind the public that when the volcano last erupted 100 years ago, its eruption lasted for two years (AP, April 19, 2010). God warned Israel that because of its repeated sins and rejection of God, “… your highways shall be desolate” (Leviticus 26:22). Although the prophecy appears to be connected with wild beasts preying on the populace, it is sobering to consider that given this relatively small volcanic eruption, the “highest of human highways”—the highways in the sky—have become quite desolate over Europe this week. “God is not mocked” and warns that humanity will reap what it has sown (Galatians 6:7). The last two months have witnessed a series of sobering natural disasters. What will God allow next?
Is Europe the KEY to Middle East Peace? In a recent EU Observer opinion article, a former Middle East representative to the World Council of Churches urged Europe to take a greater role in the Middle East peace process. In his article, Ghassan Rubeiz pointed to Israel’s need for security and the Palestinian need for freedom, and how a European military/police presence in the Holy Land could be the key to making both parties happy. The EU already plays a role in Lebanon and on the Egyptian border, and an increased presence in the Palestinian territories would not be overly difficult to envision (EU Observer, February 17, 2010). God indicates that, for a time, Assyria (Germany) will participate in a peace deal with many Middle Eastern nations (Psalm 83:5-8). Daniel 9 also indicates that a temporary peace treaty will occur between the kings of the north and south, prior to the 3.5-year “times of the Gentiles” spoken of by Christ (Luke 21:24) – a time when the Beast will likely control Jerusalem. At that time, the king of the north will break the peace treaty he was instrumental in creating (Daniel 11:21-28).

Slouching Toward Gomorrah. In his acclaimed book by this title, former U.S. judge Robert Bork identified many sins that are pushing the U.S. toward societal destruction. That same downward moral trend is also affecting the rest of the Israelite-descended nations. “THREE-QUARTERS of children in some parts of Britain will be born to unmarried mothers within the next parliament [by 2014], official figures indicate.” Ironically, one reason for fewer single-parent-families in London is its larger Asian immigrant population, which has a higher marriage rate than Britons. In many circles, marriage is viewed as unnecessary for raising a family (Sunday Times, April 18, 2010). Meanwhile, scientists at Newcastle University have successfully transplanted healthy DNA from the fertilized egg of a mother with a predisposition for birth defects, into an “empty” egg of another mother. In performing this procedure, doctors hope to do away with 150 mitochondrial diseases. Advocates hail the research for its life-saving potential. However, the ethics of the procedure are highly questionable and its long-term consequences are totally unknown. Advocates forecast the procedure being publically available in three years (Telegraph, April 15, 2010). In today’s fast-paced and hedonistic society, we are rapidly approaching a time when the ethics of new scientific capabilities is not even questioned. Society has departed so far from God’s ways that human behavior is seen totally as a matter of individual choice. God powerfully warned, “You shall not at all do as we are doing here today—every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes” (Deuteronomy 12:8). Society today is “slouching,” full-tilt, toward this God-condemned way of self-destruction.—Scott Winnail, Jim and Sue Bennett

COGwriter 2010

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