July 3, 2008

Greetings from Charlotte,

The “State of the Work” looks positive as we move into the summer months.  Responses to the Tomorrow’s World telecast have remained strong during the summer re-run season.  Total visitors to  LCG’s U.S. websites are now running more than 100,000 per month and total visits are now more than 200,000 per month.  Mr. Ehman reported another record month for Personal Correspondence responses of nearly 460 for the month of June.  We are also receiving a number of reports from Area Pastors of requests for visits from new people—many of whom have roots in other Churches of God and some  of whom came across Mr. Armstrong’s broadcasts years ago.  It is unfortunate, as the Work grows in power and scope, that a few herr and there decide to go off in different directions over personal issues.  This weekend, Mr. and Mrs. Apartian and Mr. and Mrs. Crockett will be in Arkansas; the rest of us will be in Charlotte—for a change!

Church Administration

Visit to Myanmar

Mr. Rajan Moses reports on his visit to Myanmar last week, “I arrived at Myanmar International Airport on Friday 27th June…. Upon arrival, I met Thomas Tial Hoe and he was very happy to see me. We took a private taxi to the Traders hotel, which is about 11 miles from the airport. On the way there, while talking to the taxi driver, we were told that it was possible for us to travel to Myaung Mya town and Sakhan Gyi village. We made arrangements with the driver to pick us up at the Traders hotel on Sunday 29th June to travel to Myaung Mya and back on Tuesday 1st July…. Thomas and I spent the Sabbath discussing world events and had a short Bible study and fellowship…. In the evening after the Sabbath I happened to see the Assistant Manager of the hotel and asked him if it was possible for us to go to Sakhan Gyi village. To our surprise, we were told that people who have a ‘tourist visa’ are not allowed to travel to cyclone-affected Ayeyawady areas. All who are under UNICEF, Red Cross, NGO organizations were allowed to travel. I hold a tourist visa and was told that I should apply for a special visa from the relevant authorities to travel to Sakhan Gyi village… but the locals are allowed to travel there. So Thomas will travel by bus on Tuesday morning [July 1] to Sakhan Gyi village.  

“More than 134,000 people are feared dead, and more than 140,000 buffaloes, goats and chickens have perished in the cyclone. We were told that there are hundreds of decomposing bodies rotting, which are not completely cleared. Dengue fever has hit those areas. Uprooted trees can be seen everywhere in Yangon city and in the outskirts. It has been a devastating cyclone in the history of Myanmar…. [Thomas Tial Hoe] will spend a few days and the Sabbath in Sakhan Gyi and will return home next week. There are about 16 families (50 members, including children) in Sakhan Gyi village…. I will be calling Thomas and Mrs. Saw Lay Beh in Myaung Mya on Friday morning and will find out how things are going there…. It has been a sobering experience for me to hear the stories of the storm-hit areas.”  

German Update 

Mr. Adrian Kaefer reports that although most “download” activity on our German Web site, www.weltvonmorgen.org, was down during the first six months of 2008, compared to the last six months of 2007, our “online reading activities (Html documents) are slightly above average from 2007.” In addition, the number of German booklets sent out by mail during January-June 2008 is up by 32.8%, compared to July-December 2007. 

Midwest Region Bible Study 

The Midwest Region is hosting an Adult Bible Study on the topic of “Sex and the Bible” on Saturday, August 9, in Kansas City.  After our successful Adult Bible Study on contraception and the Bible last year, many have asked when this follow-up Bible Study would take place, and it is finally ready to go! 

The sermon in Kansas City on August 9 will cover biblical principles relating to the topic in a manner appropriate for all ages.  Then, the Bible Study that evening will continue the discussion of the topic in more specific and concrete terms, including the application of biblical principles concerning sex and a Question and Answer session.  While the Sabbath service is open to all and appropriate for all ages, the Bible Study that evening is only for adults ages 18 and up.  There will be a separate room that evening with children’s activities, so parents with young children should feel free to attend.  If you have teens under 18 years of age who are too young to attend the study, their assistance in the children’s room would be very welcome. 

Because so many have expressed an interest in this Adult Bible Study, we would like all those planning to come to let us know so that we can be sure that we have enough space.  To do that, please go online and visit: www.eastmissourilcg.org. There in the “Links” section on the right, you will see a link to “Adult Bible Study Registration.”  Simply click on that and fill out the information about how many from your household will be attending.  Again, the Adult Bible Study form can be found in the links section of www.eastmissourilcg.org. –Wallace Smith


Respect for Authority:  Today we live in a global society where respect for authority and for anyone in authority is in serious decline.  Parents, teachers, policemen, judges, politicians, heads of churches and heads of state are portrayed and ridiculed as buffoons and liars and worse.  While some of the cynicism and disrespect is deserved, much is fostered by an anti-authority attitude that is actively promoted by the media—that is unknowingly influenced by the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:2).  The Apostle Paul foretold that pride and disrespect for authority would be rampant at the end of the age (2 Timothy 3:1-5).  The Apostle Peter predicted that presumptuous, self-willed false teachers would arise who “despise authority [government]” and use deceptive words to malign [run-down] the “the way of truth”—those who are preaching the Truth and doing the Work of God (2 Peter 2:1-10).  The epistle of Jude (verse 8) offers a similar warning.  This open disrespect for authority and for those in authority is totally contrary to God’s instructions in His word.  Moses was inspired to tell the nation of Israel, “You shall not revile God, nor curse a ruler of your people” (Exodus 22:28).  Solomon advised, “Do not curse the king, even in your thought” (Ecclesiastes 10:20).  James wrote, “Do not speak evil of one another” (James 4:11).  The Apostle Paul instructed the Church, “we urge you, brethren, to recognize [get to know, acknowledge, value, recognize, respect, defer to] those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake.  Be at peace among yourselves” (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13).  As we can see from the Scriptures, God wants to see a very different attitude towards authority than what is fostered in Satan’s world today and sometimes can spill over into the Church.  This is why we have been called out of this world (2 Corinthians 6:17) and given the challenge of “recapturing true values”—which includes regaining the right perspective on respect for authority and being respectable when in authority (Matthew 17:11). 

Have a profitable Sabbath,

Douglas S. Winnail 

News and Prophecy—July 3, 2008 

Did the Irish Open a Flood Gate?  Ireland’s recent rejection of the Lisbon Treaty was heralded by some as “bad omen” for Europe. This week, German president Koehler did not sign the treaty—even after both houses of parliament passed the treaty. President Koehler noted that the treaty may infringe on democracy and the rights of national parliaments (Deutsche Welle, July 1, 2008). Following Germany’s lead, Poland’s President Kaczynski also refused to sign the Lisbon Treaty, noting that it would be pointless to sign a treaty until the Irish changed their position—“without pressure from the EU.” Meanwhile, French President Sarkozy began his six-month term as EU leader this week, facing and fostering division among EU ranks. In a TV broadcast on Monday, Mr. Sarkozy attacked the EU Trade Commissioner, accusing him of being too generous with farming concessions and eliciting the response, “At a difficult time in world trade negotiations, the EU needs to maintain its unity” (Deutsche Welle, July 1, 2008).  Bible prophecy speaks of an end-time Beast power in Europe that will be fraught with division—iron mixed with clay (Daniel 2:33-34). The inherent differences between EU nations are leading toward “europaralysis”—which could provoke other events.   

A British Poke in Islam’s Eye?  Insulting Muhammad or the Koran inflames Muslims. Recently, the Queen of England chose to honor a writer whom millions of devout Muslims consider an apostate and a blasphemer against their religion. On June 25, 2008, Elizabeth II added Salman Rushdie to her Queen’s Honors List, knighting him into the “Order of Merit” in recognition of his services to British literature. “I am thrilled and humbled to receive this great honor, and am very grateful that my work has been recognized in this way,” said the 61-year-old author. Born in India and reared as a Muslim, Rushdie is perhaps best-known for his 1988 novel, The Satanic Verses, which many Muslims felt contained grievous insults against Islam. In February 1989, Iranian religious leader Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa (religious decree) demanding Rushdie’s execution for blasphemy. Following the announcement of Rushdie’s knighthood, Iran’s foreign ministry proclaimed that the 1989 death sentence against Rushdie still stands. Al Qaeda spokesman Ayman al-Zawahiri said his organization is preparing a “precise response” to Rushdie’s being honored (Agence France-Presse, June 25, 2008). Today, most descendants of Esau are followers of Islam.  The Bible calls Esau a “wild man” who would fight with everyone, and his descendants still harbor their father’s murderous attitude toward those who offend them (Genesis 27:41).

Africa Can’t Feed All Its People!  Ethiopia is the latest African nation unable to feed its citizens, according to the Christian Science Monitor (June 27, 2008). Each day, aid workers at a rural clinic in Ethiopia literally weigh starving children in a triage process to determine who is sick enough to eat. The others are sent away hungry, as there is only enough medicine and high-energy peanut paste to serve those most urgently needing food. Guards with sticks keep order among desperately hungry women and children waiting in line. “‘People don’t know yet how widespread and severe the world hunger crisis is,’ says David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. ‘The gruesome things now happening in Ethiopia may be the first example of a country that’s being pushed into a humanitarian crisis partly because of bad weather, but partly because of the high price of food and the high price of fuel.’” Drought is causing local crops to fail, and food and transportation costs are rising, leading to food shortages. Many more Ethiopians will experience severe malnutrition if food is not distributed quickly. Adults and children alike, weakened by malnutrition, are susceptible to other fatal diseases. Even if rich Western nations immediately provide needed food, it takes up to eight weeks for supplies to reach those in need.  Bible prophecies warn that famines and disease will dominate the news as the end of the age approaches (Matthew 24:7; Luke 21:11) and that these calamities will impact one quarter of the earth’s population (Revelation 6:7-8).—Don Davis and Scott Winnail

COGwriter 2008

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