Greetings from Charlotte, 

There are a number of positive reports to convey this week.  The Pentecost offerings were strong and the U.S. attendance on Pentecost was our highest ever for that Holy Day.  In the first five months of this year we have received more than 95,000 responses to the Tomorrow’s World television program—which is a 16% increase over last year.  Mr. Meredith has been writing and holding meetings this week.  Mr. and Mrs. Ames will be in Houston this weekend for services and to hold a Tomorrow’s World Bible Lecture. Mr. Rick Stafford will be doing a Bible Lecture in Little Rock, Arkansas, on Sunday, June 14. Please remember Mr. Ames and Mr. Stafford in your prayers.  Mr. Kevin Lee and his family are visiting the Charlotte office.  Mr. Lee does the announcing on the Tomorrow’s World program and did the narration for “The Big Picture” DVD offered in the semi-annual letter that is currently being mailed. 

From the Presiding Evangelist 

Announcement to be read at all services: 

Dear Brethren around the world, 

Mr. Herbert Armstrong used to tell us, “God’s Church goes forward on its knees.” This past Sabbath, I made a special appeal for fervent prayer here in Charlotte. Now, I feel led by God to include all of you faithful brethren around the world. 

Brethren, in our 16 and one-half year history since this Global/Living Church began, we have never sent out any information as direct and powerful about the Church itself as we are now doing through the latest semi-annual letter. Even as I write, this letter is still being printed and mailed by an outside company—as it involves hundreds of thousands of mailings. The total number of our subscribers to whom it is being sent is just over 401,000. As you read your own copy of the semi-annual letter—which many of you already have as it was sent out last week—you will realize that I talk directly about the Church itself—not just the Work. In addition, the DVD which will be sent to all who request it is a customized copy of the “Behind the Work” film which most of you saw at the Feast last autumn. It obviously gives an “inside feel” about the Church and our activities beyond anything we have ever shared with the public.  

So it could have a truly powerful effect if we pray fervently about it and God wishes to grant this blessing. Of course, it could have a negative effect on a few who only want to think about “their church” and did not fully realize that our Work is backed directly by a church. However, most of our longtime readers have seen our references to the Sabbath, the Holy Days, keeping God’s Commandments, etc. So, they should not be shocked. Therefore, if we pray with all our hearts, the living Jesus Christ may well use this “tool”—this semi-annual and the DVD to follow—to help people understand who we truly are, give them a good “feeling” about this Work and this Church, and encourage them to act on the Truth we have been giving them for quite some time.  

This one mailing with the follow through request for the DVD’s could cause thousands more to become donors, co-workers and members. It could have a really big effect in moving forward and in helping the Work of Christ reach additional millions of human beings around the world. Many years ago, the Eternal God supernaturally appeared to Solomon and said, “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). 

Let us together cry out to our God—humbly “seek His face” and beseech Him to begin giving us the power and impact on this confused world which is certainly needed to help our peoples understand what is happening and prepare for the coming Tribulation, the Day of the Lord and then the glorious Kingdom of God! If we learn to do this regularly—and especially at this time in regard to this semi-annual letter—God will hear our prayers and give us the growth and the impact which this Work certainly needs to help “finish the job” which God has given us to do. May God inspire all of you to go all out in this effort and keep this challenge directly in your prayers—day after day—in the days and weeks ahead. Thank you very much, brethren, for your love and support! May God help all of us enthusiastically respond to this challenge that He may use us more powerfully than ever to prepare for His coming Kingdom.  

Your brother in Christ,

Roderick C. Meredith 

Living University 

Fall Registration 

Registration for Fall Living University courses begins on Monday, June 15. For young people who may already be pursuing a college degree or for those who have never taken an LU course because of limited time, we suggest you consider taking just one course per academic year. LU is a tremendous opportunity to build a more sure spiritual foundation, while meeting and interacting with fellow students and church members from around the globe, not to mention learning from leading ministers like Dr. Meredith, Mr. Ames, and Dr. Douglas Winnail. For students enrolled in other colleges or universities, LU can also provide an important and godly contrast to what you experience with an education in schools of the world, while still being quite affordable. Living University is an investment in your spiritual future. For more information on the 14 courses offered this fall, please see the Fall Schedule on our university website, www.livinguniv.com.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact Dr. Scott Winnail at swinnail@lcg.org, or by phone: 704-844-1960, ext. 304. 

Church Administration 

Regional Conferences 

The remaining Regional Conferences scheduled for this summer have been canceled due to budgetary considerations.  However, in order to disseminate the information covered in the conferences that have already taken place, I am planning, where feasible, to cover this material with Church leaders in conjunction with Church visits that will be scheduled over the next several months.  Some of the material will be covered in a sermon, and other material will be covered in meetings on Sunday.  This way we can significantly reduce the financial costs that are associated with Regional Conferences.—Douglas Winnail 

Ministerial Transfer 

Mr. and Mrs. Gene Hilgenberg are moving from Joplin, Missouri (where Mr. Hilgenberg has assisted Mr. Karl Beyersdorfer) to Tulsa, Oklahoma.  As of August 1, 2009, Mr. Hilgenberg will pastor congregations in Tulsa and Oklahoma City.  When Mr. Rick Stafford moves to the UK, Mr. Hilgenberg will also pastor the congregations in Fayetteville and Fort Smith, Arkansas.   

Memphis Public Bible Lecture 

Mr. Rick Stafford reports: We are very pleased to report that our first Public Bible Study in Memphis on Sunday, June 7, was greatly blessed.  Twenty-six enthusiastic brethren were on “cloud nine” with excitement as they welcomed and fellowshipped with 52 guests, for a total of 78 attendees! The atmosphere was electrifying with exuberance as God’s awesome plan for all mankind was outlined from Adam and Eve to the soon-coming Kingdom of God.  The guests were thrilled to understand how God first worked with individuals, then with the nation of Israel (which failed to shine as a light to all nations) and now through His Church at this end time.  They were grateful to comprehend why we are beginning to go through such troublesome times and how they could come under God’s protection. After the presentation, the guests thronged us with questions and visited for an hour. 

With only a couple of exceptions, the entire Memphis congregation greeted, served refreshments and handed out an “impressive” (as one guest said) information packet. The folder included the complete notes of the PowerPoint presentation, a pamphlet with a map to local services, my business card and a 3 X 5 card and pen for writing down questions.  Nearly a dozen cards were brought up and answered as many huddled close to hear the answers. We were surprised at the guests’ depth of understanding and how many were or had been associated with the Church over the decades. Many assured us that they were looking forward to visiting our Sabbath services. 

New Zealand and Vanuatu Update 

Mr. Kinnear Penman reports: Every Sunday morning at 8:00 a.m. an estimated 15,000 New Zealanders sit down to view the Tomorrow’s World program on Prime TV. This network broadcasts to the whole country and, since airing the program, approximately 1% of the population has called to request literature. Much work obviously lies ahead of us…. A remarkable feature of the Living Church of God in New Zealand is that fewer than 20% of our attendees have a history in the old Worldwide Church of God. The remainder have been called by God through ‘first contact’ with the Tomorrow’s World TV program. We are an ethnically mixed group. Our numbers are graced with people born in Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands, South Africa, the Philippines, Switzerland, Rhodesia, Indonesia, and Pakistan. But, of course, the majority are New Zealanders. Auckland is the city with the world’s largest population of Pacific Islanders. They are generally quite religious and make up a good proportion of those who contact us. The Church in New Zealand is growing steadily at a modest rate.  

The LCG in Vanuatu is ably served by our Elder, Mr. Jerry Sam. Mr. and Mrs. Sam reside near Orap, a village on the island of Malekula. This, the largest congregation in the country, meets in a “tabernacle” the members built during a series of working-bees and between 40-60 people regularly fellowship there. This congregation has grown through the personal example of existing members. It is a close-knit congregation and the members regularly work together on improvement projects. They are currently building a dining hall and food preparation area which should be ready by the Feast of Tabernacles. Small groups of members live on three other widely separated islands. From Gaua, in the northern Banks group, to Tanna, in the southern Tafea province—a distance of about 380 miles. The majority of our members are generally subsistence farmers. Most do a small amount of cash cropping of copra or vanilla so they have funds to purchase some essentials, such as batteries, kerosene, etc. This means they are very vulnerable to market prices and cannot have any expectation of a regular income. There is no social welfare benefit system in Vanuatu. Unemployment, sickness or old-age benefits are unknown. On the island of Malekula there is one doctor for the 25,000 residents. Our members face physical difficulties which most of us “Westerners” would find extremely trying. In the face of these difficulties, they are faithful to God, loyal to His Church and excited about being involved in the Work. 

Living Youth Camp 

Texas Pre-Teen Camp 2009! 

Amidst the scenic wonders of Parker State Park, 95 staff and campers gathered on June 7 to commence a successful LYC Pre-Teen camp.  Activities this year included:  field sports, canoeing, overnight-canoe and camp-out, archery, BB-gun marksmanship, life skills for boys and girls, teambuilding, Christian living classes and consistently delicious and wholesome meals. 

We also want to thank God for His obvious intervention in protecting and providing for His campers.  Almost an exact repeat of last year, the entire staff again saw God powerfully intervene to disperse severe weather in our area.  Wednesday evening, during our boy’s overnight canoe trip and camp-out, approximately 30 miles to our north and west, very powerful thunderstorms abruptly erupted.  Seventy mile per hour winds, baseball size hail and rapid lightening strikes covered the entire north Texas area.  Mr. Hall and camp staff quickly convened to monitor the weather situation using NOAA radio and National Weather Service Internet radar.   

Following our crisis management plan, camp staff quickly evacuated the overnight campers, returning them to the safety of their dorms.  We then watched in amazement as the weather radar showed the eastward moving storms split and move north and south of the Parker State Park area.  While towns west, north and south of us lost power and suffered from this very severe weather, our campers simply cleaned up and spent a comfortable night back in their dorms.  We wish each of you could have seen the radar images and how God created a complete calm in our area in order to protect His campers.  It was amazing. 

Park attendant and retired school principal, John Bush commented, “The LYC Texas camp stands out among all other groups.  You are the most organized group I have seen.  While other groups let their children go, you actually teach your children something.”  He concluded, “You are a super group!” 

This year, as in years past, it is inspiring to see young people growing in confidence, trying new things and experiencing that God’s way works!  Camp will conclude this Thursday evening with a talent show, highlighting the talent among God’s youth.—Deric Forrestier, Myron Short and Wyatt Ciesielka  

Finance Department 

In the midst of our nation’s and the world’s sagging economy, with so many economic indicators in a downward spiral, we have good news to report.  Our Holy Day offerings from Pentecost were up 6.4% over last year, which is 1.1% above our budged amount for 2009. Since the Holy Day offerings provide a substantial amount of the financial resources to the Work, this is very good news, indeed. Through today, Thursday, our regular income from tithes and offerings is 2.3% above the same period last year, which nudges us to 0.3% above the amount we budgeted year-to-date. These increases have been made possible by God working through the dedication and generosity of our faithful members, donors and co-workers. A heartfelt “Thanks” to everyone involved.—Davy Crockett 


Reasons to Rejoice:  The Scriptures emphasize the importance of rejoicing!  The Sabbath is particularly a special time to rejoice—a time to reflect on the blessings that God has given (Isaiah 58:13-14).  Paul urged Christians to “rejoice in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4).  James even states that we should rejoice when trials come along (James 1:1-3).  One of the fruits of God’s Spirit is joy (Galatians 5:22).  One key that enables us to rejoice—even during trials—is to remember that we can “rejoice in hope” (Romans 12:12).  We need to remember the hope of our calling to be in the coming Kingdom of God, the hope of eternal life, the hope of forgiveness of our sins.  We need to remember that God promises to bring us through the trials we face (1 Corinthians 10:13) and that He promises that “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).  These are reasons that God has given us to rejoice! 

Have a profitable Sabbath,

Douglas S. Winnail


News and Prophecy—June 11, 2009 

Is a Famine of the Word on the Horizon?  A county official in California recently questioned a San Diego pastor and his wife about their weekly in-home Bible study. He then demanded that they obtain a permit for “religious assemblies” in their home—an action that would cost more than US$10,000. The official threatened that if a permit was not obtained, the pastor would be fined, “and then it could get ugly.” The official’s threats directly contradict the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prevents creation of laws to prohibit the free exercise of religion. A spokesperson for the law firm representing the pastor commented, “If the current trends in our nation continue, churches may be forced underground…. If homes are already closed by the government to assembly and worship, where then will Christians meet?... I’m deeply concerned that if in the U.S. we are not able to meet in our homes and freely practice our religion, then we may be worse off than China” (FoxNews.com, May 28, 2009). God prophesied to the Israelite nations that a time would come when “…I will send a famine on the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD” (Amos 8:11). As the Israelite-descended nations drift further from God, turning justice into wormwood and laying righteousness to rest in the earth (Amos 5:7), a famine of the word becomes a foreseeable reality! Thus we must pray for the leaders of the land so that we may continue to “lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence” (1 Timothy 2:2).   

Pride in Sin.  President Obama punctuated his first 100 days in office with a proclamation honoring Gay Pride Month (June in the United States). He noted, “LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender] Americans have made, and continue to make, great and lasting contributions that continue to strengthen the fabric of American society… I am proud to be the first President to appoint openly LGBT candidates to Senate-confirmed positions in the first 100 days of an Administration" (USAToday.com, June 1, 2009). Yet, God commands, “Cry aloud, spare not; lift up your voice like a trumpet; tell My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins” (Isaiah 58:1). God is not pleased with Israel’s increasing rejection of His ways (Isaiah 59:1-9). Although we must never harbor hatred or hostile feelings toward sinners themselves, as Christ gave the example (John 8:1-11), we must never forget how God views sin—and flee from that sin (1 Corinthians 6:18, Revelation 21:8). If we do not, God promises there will be serious consequences! 

The Chickens are Coming.  In the U.S., there is a cliché, “The chickens will come home to roost.” The term highlights an age-old law: for every sinful action there are consequences. This cliché now applies to the U.S. economy. For decades, the U.S. economic engine has been churning, but in many cases, the merchants have grown rich through unjust “weights and measures.” Recently, a conservative economist stated, “Now it’s the U.S. government that’s the next victim of the market’s revenge. Why?... Like private corporations, it borrows. Like any borrower, it has creditors. And like all creditors, it’s ultimately up to THEM—not up to the borrower—to decide what to do with their money. But unlike most borrowers, the U.S. government has arrogantly thumbed its nose at its creditors. Without remorse… ‘We can spend our money wantonly. We can bail out our giant corporations to our heart’s content. We can even debase our currency. But YOU, our creditors, are stuck with us. No matter what we do, you’ve got to keep loaning us more money, endlessly.’ Our creditors swallowed hard and tolerated this message for a while. But not now. Now they’re fed up. They can’t take it anymore.” (Money and Markets, May 25, 2009). Millennia ago God warned Israel: “Woe to him who increases what is not his—how long? And to him who loads himself with many pledges. Will not your creditors rise up suddenly? Will they not awaken who oppress you? And you will become their booty. Because you have plundered many nations, all the remnant of the people shall plunder you…” (Habakkuk 2:6-8, emphasis ours). What goes around, comes around, and for the United States and many Israelite-descended nations, “the chickens are coming home to roost.”—Scott Winnail and Floyd Spencer

COGwriter 2009

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