Greetings from Charlotte, 

It was good to return to Charlotte after two weeks of travel to South Africa, East Africa and the UK. It was very encouraging to see the dedication of our members and leaders, and to see the growth that is occurring in congregations in these areas. However, nearly everyone I talked to spoke of problems that plague the governments in their respective countries and of the increasing difficulties in just being able to live. One young man we spoke to mentioned the urgent need for “servant leaders” in the world, who really desire to serve people instead of serving themselves. His comment was echoed over and over in other conversations. This week in Charlotte we have several board meetings scheduled to review actions taken during this year for the Church in the USA and other countries, and for Living University. Mr. Meredith has presided over these meetings. This week and next will conclude the Fall semester classes for Living University. I hope that many of you will be able to take advantage of the classes being offered for the Spring semester 2009.
From the Presiding Evangelist
Dear Fellow Ministers and Brethren,
Greetings from Charlotte! I want to thank all of you, very sincerely, for your faithfulness and dedication to the Work of Christ. Many of you have been serving for years, and have gone above and beyond in many ways. I deeply appreciate what you are doing.
The living Christ has indeed blessed the Work this year! We have gone on more stations, have had far more responses to our television programs—even recently—and are beginning to have more of a genuine impact on the world than ever before. For this we can be thankful. And I do thank all of you for your part in this—not only in your own area of service, but insomuch as many of you are also faithful “givers” to the Work of God.
However, I would like to ask all of you to announce to the brethren that we are very thankful for their faithfulness in their tithes and offerings during this year, but the income for the Work has fallen off precipitously in the last few days! We don’t know if this is a continuing trend, but it is possible since the genuine financial crisis is affecting so many people. We do ask, however, that—according to each one’s abilityall of our brethren try to respond to this need. In a period like this, God’s Work must go on! We must keep on growing and having an impact on the world to prepare for the end of this age, as the warning message we have been preaching has been surely coming to pass as never before.
So I ask all of you to urge the brethren to give as generously as they are able, and ask everyone to pray fervently with me and all of us here at Headquarters that God will truly bless and deliver the Work at this time. I will be praying that God will help you, bless you and inspire you as you continue in His service and guide the brethren to do likewise. Thank you, dear brethren, from the heart.
Your brother in Christ,
Roderick C. Meredith
Church Administration
Austin, Texas, Public Appearance
Mr. Wyatt Ciesielka reports: Mr. Sena and I are very pleased that God really blessed the Austin Public Bible Lecture, held on December 13.  There were 53 total in attendance, with 24 first-time visitors! Of the visitors, 23 were adults and one was a young teenager.  Most had no WCG or LCG background, although a few had received The Plain Truth during Mr. Armstrong’s time…. We already have a number of follow-up visits scheduled for the coming week, and about half of the attendees stated that they intend to come back next Sabbath. Very interestingly, a few of the visitors have relatives and in-laws who were not able to make it, but are asking for follow-up ministerial visits. 
God is the one who gives the increase, but it is very encouraging to see such good results from our collective labor.  It should also be noted that the Austin brethren did a wonderful job making the visitors feel at home, and answering various questions.
United Kingdom Update
Mr. Rod King reports: Just when we were getting all excited about CNBC taking Tomorrow's World to all of Europe, we received a call from our media agent to say that the station is not prepared to air the program. As you can imagine, this came as a deep disappointment. But as God would want us to do, we considered why Jesus Christ did not open the door wide.  It could well have been that we could not have handled an overwhelming response or the subsequent visit requests…. Whatever the reason, our media agents, both in the UK and in the USA, are looking out for other, smaller and less expensive stations for us to go on….
I just returned from a profitable trip to Scotland last week.  I was slipping and sliding on snow and icy roads in northern England, but still was able to talk with six different individuals about baptism.  With Mr. Meakin helping me as much as he does, I can now to get out to some of the outlying areas....
Spanish Radio Program Received Awards
The religious radio station “Vida Internacional”—locatedin Bahia Blanca, Argentina—held its 15th anniversary dinner celebration on December 10. During the event, our Spanish radio program El Mundo de Mañana was given an award for its outstanding work in “Christian satellite communications.” Mr. Walter Troncoso, the station’s owner, also announced during the event that gold medals would be presented to the programs with the highest ratings. A survey had been conducted by the telephone company “Telecom” from December 7-10.  Vida Internacional airs 60 different programs. To our surprise and joy, El Mundo de Mañana obtained the number one rating by the audience.  Mr. Aaron Bravo, our deacon in Bahia Blanca, had received the awards and thanked God and Mr. Troncoso for the blessing of preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.
Charlotte Regional Family Weekend—Deadline for Registration Extended
We thank all who have registered for the Charlotte Regional Family Weekend; we are looking forward to seeing many you in just one week!  Please note: We have extended the registration deadline to this coming Tuesday, December 23.  If you would like to join any of the Charlotte activities, please call Mrs. Dorothy McNair at the HQ office by Tuesday, December 23.  There is no on-line registration, but you may download a registration form at www.cogl.org/media/CharlotteRegionalWeekendFlyer.pdf.  To register, call 704-844-1960, ext. 248. You can also fax your form to 704-844-1975 or send it by e-mail at dmcnair@lcg.orgCheck MyLCG (www.cogl.org) for local maps.
If you are staying at the University Hilton, you may obtain special rates at $69/night for Friday, December 26 and Saturday, December 27.  Just identify yourself as an LCG member when you call the hotel.  If you would like the special rate before or after those dates, contact Mr. Davy Crockett at dcrockett@lcg.org.  The University Hilton is located at 8629 J.M. Keynes Drive, Charlotte, NC 28262; phone 704-547-7444.
For more information about the Charlotte Regional Family Weekend, contact Rod McNair at rmcnair@lcg.org.
Risk Management
Hall Contracts
Attention USA Area Pastors:  A “contract” is an agreement between two or more parties (a “contractual agreement”).  A “lessor” may be an individual owner, a company, an association—whoever we are entering into an agreement with to use meeting space.  Please ensure that all those involved in securing meeting space (“halls”) for the Church understand that all contracts must be vetted at Headquarters prior to being signed and tendered to the lessor, or otherwise agreed-to.  The exception is emergency halls (scheduled hall burns down, floods, or otherwise becomes unavailable on very short notice).  For emergency halls (which still need to be approved “after the fact”), please utilize hotels—as they tend to have the least problematic contract terms.  Due to the huge public liability insurance that hotels typically carry, they are much less likely to write their contracts with clauses that attempt to transfer unreasonable and inappropriate liability onto the Church (depending on the precise wording, such transfers may not be covered by our insurance).  Please let Michelle or me know if you have any questions or need our assistance, we are here to help:  risk@lcg.org, 704-844-1970.—Tom Turner
Servant Leaders: Down through history, many people have aspired to positions of leadership, mostly for the wrong reasons—to gain something for themselves such as privilege, power, fame and fortune. Yet, Jesus informed individuals who sought to be His disciples that they could not follow or utilize this self-oriented approach if they wanted to be part of the coming Kingdom of God. Instead, they must develop the mindset of serving others—noticing the needs of others and learning how to fulfill those needs—by teaching and by showing others how to live by every word of God (Matthew 4:4). This approach is summarized in Matthew 20:20-28. Jesus set the example by declaring, “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve” (Matthew 20:28). Jesus gave His life to pay for the sins of mankind, so we can repent and have our sins forgiven (John 3:16). Jesus lived His life as an example for others to follow (Matthew 4:18-22). By serving God the Father and carrying out His plan, and by serving others, Jesus fulfilled the prophecies that He would come to this earth as the Servant of God (see Isaiah 42, 49, 50). The world today is certainly in need of individuals who are preparing to be true servant leaders.
Have a profitable Sabbath,

Douglas S. Winnail

News and Prophecy—December 18, 2008
Big Brother May Be Watching. In Britain,“Since April 1, hundreds of thousands of State employees, from police to teachers, youth and nursery workers, social workers and sports coaches, have been entitled to interrogate children aged up to 19, using the ‘Common Assessment Framework’ (CAF)… [an] eight-page, 60-section questionnaire.” Children, ages 12 and up, can agree to the framework, even if parents do not. “CAF includes eyewateringly intimate questions about children’s sexual behaviour, their family’s structure, culture and religion, their views on ‘discrimination’, their friends, secret fears, feelings and family income, plus ‘any serious difficulties in their parents’ relationship’.” Data will be stored in a central government data base. The Every Child Matters project, behind the assessment framework, “claims that nearly half of Britain’s 11 million children have ‘additional needs’, so must continuously be assessed for the [government’s] giant database...” Personal family information will apparently help the government better meet children’s needs than can their own families. According to the Daily Mail, “The Government’s decreed desirable ‘outcomes’ for children are so frighteningly broad that many decent parents could find themselves labeled failures or abusers.” A Huddersfield University professor recently warned regarding the new legislation, “What we are witnessing is the emergence of the ‘preventive-surveillance state’, with ‘major implications for the civil liberties and human rights of the citizen, particularly for children and parents” (Daily Mail, December 7, 2008). God warned of a future when the Israelite-descended nations would face unprecedented cursings for rejecting Him. He noted that “You shall beget sons and daughters, but they shall not be yours; for they shall go into captivity” (Deuteronomy 28:41). The recent creation of this state database may be one more way in which God’s prophesied cursings will come on Israel.
Coming: EU-Style Middle Eastern Union. “Iraq has unveiled plans for the creation of a regional economic and security union for the Middle East explicitly modelled on the European Union… discussions on ‘Regional Economic Partnership’ have reportedly been launched with Kuwait, Syria and Turkey, though not yet Iran. The aim would also be to bring on board Jordan and Saudi Arabia and—in a subsequent phase—the Gulf states of Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates, but not Israel. The proposed bloc would look to lower trade barriers and develop joint economic projects, as well as share water resources and electricity. Resolving border disputes and common perspectives on combating militant extremism would also be on the agenda… The proposal is the latest in a long line of regional groupings modelled on the European Union” (EU Observer, December 10, 2008). Although a Middle Eastern Union may not appear to be a big deal on the surface, this one may be of particular importance given Bible prophecy. Daniel 11 makes clear that in the last days, a king of the South will form—a conglomeration of nations united around a central purpose. This king will “push against” the king of the North, or Beast Power, until the former is finally destroyed. In order for the king of the South to be destroyed, there must first be a king of the South. This union proposed by Iraq may turn out to be the prophesied king of the South—time will tell.
More Scientific Proof of the Bible. An ancient copper mine dating back to the 9th and 10th centuries BC was recently unearthed in southern Jordan. The find lends credence to a prosperous and relatively advanced society nearby. Carbon dating corresponds the mine’s production to the reigns of David and Solomon. “Ancient Egyptian artifacts—a scarab and an amulet—were found in a layer of the dig that coincided with a serious disruption in copper production, at the end of the 10th century BCE. That was also the time when Pharaoh Sheshonq I, whom the Bible calls Shishak, mounted a military campaign after Solomon’s death to crush economic activity in the area.” Excavation coordinator Thomas Levy, of the University of California stated, “We can’t believe everything ancient writings tell us… But this research represents a confluence between the archaeological and scientific data and the Bible” (Newsweek, October 27, 2008; Telegraph, October 27, 2008). God’s word, the Bible, is the foundation of knowledge. Not only is the Bible the source of spiritual truth, but it is also an historical source as well. As time goes on, more and more scientific evidence appears that supports the Scriptures.—Daniel Bennett and Scott Winnail

COGwriter 2008

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