Greetings from Charlotte, 

Mr. and Mrs. Meredith have returned from a busy and profitable trip to Southern California, where they met with brethren in Los Angeles and San Diego for services on consecutive Sabbaths.  I had an interesting and encouraging trip to Rhode Island to meet with about 50 brethren in Pawtucket, where we used to hold services in years past.  We also filmed a number of historical sites in Rhode Island and Massachusetts related to early Church history.  This week, two pre-teen summer camps are underway, in Missouri and Texas. Your prayers for the success of those activities are appreciated. 

Plans for the Feast of Tabernacles are moving ahead—anyone who has not yet registered, please do so as soon as possible.  Early registration has also begun for the Fall semester of Living University, with more than a dozen classes to choose from.  Classes and registration procedures are posted on the LU website, www.livinguniv.com.  

Church Administration 

Myanmar Update 

On May 23, Mr. Rajan Moses received the following news from Myanmar elder Thomas Tial Hoe: “Thank you for your deep concern and your prayers for our Sakhangyi members. Though a big tree fell down between three of our members’ houses, and a tree fell down near Mrs. Saw Lay Beh’s home, it did not cause any damage to their homes. Our members were safe, saved and protected by our God. A refugee camp was set up in Sakhangyi village and about one thousand refugees stayed there. Some of our members were participating in helping refugees. Our God ‘will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and SAVE them’ (Psalm 145:19). We shall speak the praise of the Lord. As the rainy season is beginning in Myanmar and the roads are so bad, I will not be able to visit our Sakhangyi members before November.” Mr. Moses is scheduled to meet Mr. Thomas Tial Hoe in Myanmar the last week of June. Your prayers for a successful and safe trip are appreciated.

Flooding in Iowa 

Mr. Glenn Blackman, our deacon in Des Moines, reported the following concerning the devastating Midwest U.S. floods, “We have so much rain in Iowa that the ground is saturated and it just runs off…. Des Moines has two rivers that run through the downtown area. Iowa has been getting four-to-eight-inch rains up north, and it comes down these rivers. All four bridges downtown that run from the east side to the west side are shut down… the road from the downtown to the airport is also closed by flood…. Interstate 80 is closed over east, where the Cedar River crosses south of Cedar Rapids.  This river took out a railroad bridge today in the city of Cedar Rapids.

 “Des Moines officials are evacuating parts of the city, but some are refusing to get out. Some levees are leaking and the National Guard is working to try to keep them from failing.  Thirty-one counties have been declared disaster areas because of tornados, rain and flooding… It’s too late to replant corn and too wet to try for soybeans. I heard a farm broadcaster say that it looks as if many farmers won’t get a crop in the ground this year and that, because of the weather we’ve had this spring, those who do have corn planted won’t get a very good crop. Iowa has had more rain and tornados than we had in 1993 when the floods took the water plant out.”

The Unlocked Back Door…

The Monroe, Louisiana, congregation’s meeting hall had been rented for double Holy Day Pentecost services, to be used from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. However, a misunderstanding occurred among the hall’s staff, and the person in charge of opening and disarming the hall was mistakenly instructed to do his job on Sunday at 12:00 p.m., instead of at 8:00 a.m.  

When our Monroe deacon and deaconess arrived early on the Day of Pentecost, they found the main doors to the building locked. But, for a seemingly unknown reason, a back door was unlocked and the alarm to the building was off and morning services were able to take place.

Around 12:00 p.m., when the hall’s worker arrived, he could not believe that the alarm was disarmed and said, “This building was locked. There is no way that you could have entered.” We know that God wanted our small group of 25 people to meet in peace and safety to celebrate His Feast of Pentecost. 

Living Youth Camp

Howdy, from the Missouri Pre-Teen Camp! As of Wednesday (the day of this writing), we have experienced absolutely beautiful weather and comfortable temperatures. Classes and activities have gone smoothly, and the kids are going to bed each night with wonderful smiles on their exhausted little faces!  We will wrap up Sunday, but we couldn’t ask for a better first half. Thanks for your prayers!—Wallace Smith

Feast of Tabernacles 2008

Preparing for 2008, Planning for 2009

As of Thursday, June 19, at 12:30 p.m., Charlotte time, we are only 116 days, 6 hours, 31 minutes, and 10 seconds from Opening Night—but who’s counting? The Festival Office greatly appreciates our Site Coordinators who—on top of other duties—are spending their summer putting together leadership teams and formulating service crews for this year’s Feast.  We had a successful organizational tele-meeting last week to discuss policies and speaking schedules, and plans are coming along well.

But we are also looking ahead to 2009! Four site contracts for the United States for next year are being reviewed at this time, and preliminary plans are being made for other sites. Your prayers for God to open doors and to make it clear where He is placing His name would be much appreciated!—Festival Office


Preparing to Rule:  Jesus Christ is going to return and establish the government of God on this earth (Isaiah 9:6-7).  Are you learning how to function within the government God has established in His Church?  The Bible reveals that God’s government is not a democracy with everyone doing his or her own thing, but a hierarchy or pyramid-shaped form of government with various levels of responsibility (Exodus 18:21; Luke 19:14-27).  God is going to appoint (not elect) individuals who are capable, caring and trustworthy, who develop wisdom, who fear God and who are filled with and have learned to exercise the fruits of His Spirit (Acts 6:3).  Individuals who have gained experience in applying the laws of God will be given the opportunity to rule with Jesus Christ (Proverbs 29:2), because they have learned to work together in peace and unity (Ephesians 4:16; James 3:17-18) and because they have learned the importance of treating each other with love and respect (Romans 12:10-21).  Future leaders in the Kingdom of God will have learned to function together as a team and be of the “same mind” and “same judgment” (1 Corinthians 1:10) because they are being led by the same Spirit (Ephesians 4:4)—which is why they will be called the sons and daughters of God and be rewarded with the opportunity to rule with Jesus Christ in the government of God.  When we see how God’s government works, we can begin to understand why we need to prepare now to work smoothly within the government God has established in His Church.  We can also work to implement this same kind of government within our own families—government that is based on love, respect, wisdom, justice and mercy.

Have a profitable Sabbath,

Douglas S. Winnail 

News and Prophecy—June 19, 2008 

Fallout from Irish “NO” on EU Treaty. The Irish “No” vote on the Lisbon Treaty has again unsettled Europe. Some have again raised the idea of a “two-speed” or “core” Europe, with nations that are united on the idea moving forward “ahead” of those that are more reluctant, like Ireland (GermanForeignPolicy.com, June 16, 2008). Others have suggested that Ireland MUST “vote again”—since they did not get it “right” on this vote! Still others say that the Irish vote should be ignored—discarding the democratic process altogether—and that the “rest” of Europe must continue to push forward (Der Spiegel online, June 13, 2008). Meanwhile, French President Sarkozy, who in two weeks will take the six-month position as head of the EU, strongly emphasized his goal to make European defense buildup a primary focus during his coming term in Brussels (EU Observer, June 17, 2008). Despite the fractured, iron-and-clay nature of the current European Union (Daniel 2:33, 42-44), strong men continue to “push” for an integrated, economically viable and militarily strong Europe. France and Germany are at the head of this push (Stratfor Geopolitical Weekly, June 17, 2008; Stratfor Strategic Forecasting, Inc., June 16, 2008). Continue to watch events in Europe as a ten-nation beast prepares to emerge on the world stage (Revelation 17).

Wars and Rumors of Wars in Central Africa.  For the second time in four months, the U.S. State Department evacuated U.S. Embassy personnel in N’Djamena, the capital city of Chad. After witnessing a rebel coup attempt in February, the U.S. is making sure its personnel are safe, should rebel forces once again attempt to wrest power from the ruling government. The Chadian government has accused Sudan’s of supporting the rebel group (Stratfor.com, June 17, 2008). Jesus noted that “wars and rumors of wars”—with ethnic group fighting against ethnic group—would be a sign of the end of the age (Matthew 24:6-7). In addition, James asked the question, “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?” (James 4:1). As time goes on and the spirit of the “god of this age” permeates the globe, we will see continued fighting. Not until Satan can “deceive the nations no more” will this fighting and greedy bloodshed end (Revelation 20:1-3). God speed His everlasting Kingdom of peace!

Midwest Flood of Biblical Proportions?  The “bread basket” of the U.S. has been drenched and inundated with water. Homes and towns are flooded and crops are being devastated in what some have called a flood that comes only every 500 years. In Iowa alone, they estimate a 20% crop failure “so far.” With record prices for grains, farmers worldwide stand to earn record incomes this year, IF the crops do not fail. However, for many Midwest U.S. farmers, the corn growing season is already lost. One agriculture expert warned, “With standing water comes concerns about manure storage, pollution, livestock safety, soil erosion, mold and fungus and other plant diseases… If the flooding continues, we won’t have any growing season to work with. For corn, time has run out” (New York Times, June 17, 2008). A spokesman for an insurance company stated, “We’ve had rainfall totals of the Noah’s Ark-type rains in east Central Illinois” (Bloomington Pantagraph, June 12, 2008). Brian Pierce, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said of the flooding, “We’re in uncharted territory—this is an event beyond what anybody could even imagine” (Associated Press, June 12, 2008). The Scriptures record warnings to the children of Israel about the consequences that would come from rejecting God and His ways, “your strength shall be spent in vain; for your land shall not yield its produce…” (Leviticus 26:20). God also reveals that He will punish the disobedient with scorching and mildew (Deuteronomy 28:22), and with rain on one city and not on another (Amos 4:7-9). Today, we appear to be reaping the consequences of turning our backs on God.—Ben Whitfield and Scott Winnail

COGwriter 2008

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