June 2, 2011

Greetings from Charlotte,
Severe weather conditions and violent politically-motivated turmoil continue to ravage various parts of the world. However, last weekend, 79 singles from all over the USA came together in Charlotte for a weekend that included a Sabbath service at Headquarters, instructional seminars, fellowship and recreation (see announcement below). I traveled to Texas for a combined service in Tyler and to conduct a very encouraging South Central Regional Conference. This week in Charlotte, Mr. Meredith has conducted several meetings dealing with various aspects of God’s Work. Mr. Wayne Pyle reports that last weekend’s Tomorrow’s World television program #356 by Mr. Ames, “You Can Understand Prophecy” should receive more than 5,300 responses. Mr. and Mrs. Dexter Wakefield have arrived in Charlotte where Mr. Wakefield is assuming his new duties as Director of Business Operations and continuing to write for Living Church of God publications. Mr. and Mrs. Wyatt Ciesielka have moved into a home in Florida where Mr. Ciesielka will pastor congregations in Fort Lauderdale and Tampa. Mr. David Stiffler will pastor congregations formerly served by Mr. Ciesielka including Little Rock, Arkansas, and Memphis, Tennessee.  This weekend, Dr. Scott Winnail will be in Kingston, Jamaica for services, a board meeting and Leadership Conference before heading to Trinidad and then Georgetown, Guyana for Pentecost. Please continue to pray for God’s blessing on His Work.
Church Administration
Canada Update
Canada Post is scheduled to go on strike this Thursday evening.  Depending on how long the strike lasts, this could be very costly to God’s Work in Canada.  The strike will affect the semi-annual letter mailing and its response, income from donors and co-workers, and Tomorrow’s World Special Presentations.  We have already put on hold one TWSP and two follow-ups. It will also make it more difficult to pay our bills in a timely fashion.  Your prayers would be greatly appreciated for a quick resolution to the problem as this strike will likely put a damper on our growth for 2011.—Gerald Weston
South Central U.S. Ministerial Conference
The South Central Regional Ministerial Conference weekend began on the Sabbath of May 28 at the Holiday Inn in Tyler, Texas.  Dr. Douglas Winnail gave the sermon concerning the importance and meaning of teamwork.  More than 180 brethren from the surrounding areas gathered for this special service, which contributed to a “Feast-like” atmosphere. 
On Sunday the actual conference convened.  Dr. Winnail continued with the theme of teamwork and presided over a full agenda of topics, which included news of the Work of God, leadership principles, administrative matters, and doctrinal issues.  A total of 100 were attendance, which included ministers, their wives, deacons and deaconesses, and other leaders from the surrounding pastorates across four states.  Many expressed sincere gratitude for the opportunity to be a part of this unique weekend of encouragement and instruction on how to be better leaders.—Daniel Hall
Philippines Update
I had a wonderful experience in the Philippines where I observed the Unleavened Bread season in four locations: three in Mindanao—Davao, Don Carlos and Cagayan de Oro—and one in Quezon City, Manila. It was just like being at home for the Passover Service in Don Carlos, except for the language barrier but, thankfully, I could follow along in my Bible as the scriptures were read! The Night to be Much Observed with the leaders in Don Carlos and their families was just like any in-home gathering for this special occasion, with much good food and plenty of laughter, as well as stimulating conversation and questions.
The Holy Days were also like anywhere in the LCG. The format for services that was taught to us by Mr. Armstrong, now followed by Dr. Meredith, makes it so easy and comfortable to move from one LCG Congregation to another. One immediately feels at home! The brethren were so welcoming and are obviously delighted when someone from overseas visits them on these special occasions. Their hospitality was overflowing, as each Mindanao area that was visited treated their special guest to a most enjoyable mini-Feast Show. It was quite a privilege to serve the people of God in this way. They are striving like all of us against the leaven that abounds in this world, and we all felt that special bond of being One Body in Jesus Christ, all on the same page, striving against sin.—Dayrell Tanner
Carolina Singles Weekend a Success!  
Thank you to all who made the just-completed Carolina Singles Weekend a success!  Seventy-nine singles from all over North America participated in seven Bible studies and lectures from Friday to Monday, May 27-30, focused on being “Servants of God.”  These educational sessions were punctuated by a dance, a hike, a barbecue and bonfire, and lots of great food and fellowship. 
We appreciated the effort everyone made to come for the weekend—and all our local brethren who worked so hard to make it possible.  If you missed it, be sure to be here next Memorial Day weekend, at Carolina Singles Weekend 2012!
Together on the Sabbath—for a Reason! We are admonished in the Scriptures to encourage one another, “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some” (Hebrews 10:24-25). In the New Testament we see how the members of the early Church gathered together on the Sabbath “with one accord in one place” to worship, hear instruction and to fellowship with other believers (Acts 2:1; 13:14, 44). In doing so, they were following the commandment to “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8) and the example of Jesus Christ (Luke 4:16) and the apostle Paul (Acts 17:2). Today, with easy access to personal television sets, computers and DVD or CD players, some assume that all that is necessary on the Sabbath is to stay home and watch a sermon. Yet this overlooks the importance of gathering together to worship and fellowship with other believers—which involves giving, sharing, learning to relate to other people and being part of a team. We have been called to become part of God’s family and commissioned to preach the Gospel of the coming Kingdom of God. The reality of that vision is enhanced when we come together on God’s Sabbath with others of like mind who share that same focus! 
Have a profitable and enjoyable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—June 2 2011
World Hunger Increasing. According to an Oxfam spokesperson, “All the signs are that the number of people going hungry [worldwide] is going up… By 2050 demand for food will rise 70 percent yet our capacity to increase food production is declining.” Factors contributing to the increase in world hunger include, flat-lining yields, a scramble for fertile land and water and rising food prices.” Severe weather conditions were not considered by the Oxfam report, but are also likely to impact food costs and availability. Regrettably, financial speculation—the practice of essentially “gambling” on future food prices—inflates food prices and intensifies world hunger conditions. In addition, using grains (corn or maize) as bio-fuels reduces the availability of food for human consumption. The cumulative impact of all these factors point to increasing world hunger in the years ahead (arabnews.com, May 31, 2011; oxfam.org, May 31, 2011). The Apostle John foresaw rising prices, growing food shortages and hunger when the Four Horsemen ride as the end of the age approaches, “A quart of wheat for a denarius [one day’s wages], and three quarts of barley for a denarius…” (see Revelation 6:6-8). However, God also prophesied of a future time of abundance after Christ’s return, “Behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD, “When the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him who sows seed; the mountains shall drip with sweet wine…” (Amos 9:13). There is good news beyond the bad!   
Fasting Reduces Risk of Heart Disease. In a study of more than 4,500 Mormons in Utah, researchers examined behaviors that were associated with lower risk of coronary artery disease—heart disease. After accounting for other factors (smoking, alcohol use, coffee and tea ingestion), researchers discovered that those who fasted routinely (without food or drink) were at lower risk for heart disease than those who did not fast. Fasting was also associated with lower diabetes risk (The American Journal of Cardiology, October 1, 2008). In the Old Testament, God direct His people to “afflict their soul” or fast as a tool for building humility and drawing closer to Him (see Leviticus 23:27; Esther 4:16; Psalm 35:13, 109:24; Isaiah 58:3-6). We see this behavior continued in the New Testament (Acts 27:9). Although many claim that God’s commands in the Old Testament were “nailed to the cross,” honest students of the Scriptures realize that God’s principles are consistent throughout the entire Bible (2 Timothy 3:16). Fasting is a tool that God intended to be used for spiritual purposes. However, there are also health benefits built into the practice of fasting—that modern research verifies! God said that those who keep His commandments and statutes would not be afflicted with diseases common among the Egyptians (Exodus 15:26). The historical record indicates that heart disease and diabetes were common diseases, especially among aristocratic Egyptians. While fasting is not the “magic bullet” for health, God has built in physical health benefits for those who routinely use this spiritual tool! 
Will San Francisco Ban Male Circumcision? Banning circumcision will become a ballot measure in San Francisco’s November elections. If the bill passes, parents who circumcise their children could face one year in jail or a $1,000 fine. Proponents of the proposed bill liken male circumcision to female genital mutilation. They claim the practice is dangerous and extremely painful—despite a lack of research to support their arguments. Opponents of the measure point out that the analogy with female genital mutilation is faulty, that circumcision is a required religious practice among both Jews and Muslims, and that such a ban could be considered religious discrimination (Jerusalem Post, May 25, 2011). While the American Academy of Pediatrics has gone “back and forth” in the issue, research has shown that male circumcision does have proven health benefits. Based on the research, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not discourage the practice and recommends that the decision to circumcise children rests with the parents (www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/research/male-circumcision.htm).  While the Scriptures do not require male circumcision for salvation, it should be remembered that the Author of the practice is the God of the Bible (Genesis 17:11). However, the god of this world (Satan—2 Corinthians 4:4) abhors anything that is associated with God and fosters “enmity against God” and against His laws (Romans 8:7). As time goes on, expect to see more efforts to overturn laws that God created to protect His people.—Jabez Corbett, Deborah Lincoln-Strange, Scott Winnail