December 25, 2008

Greetings from Charlotte,    
We have had a busy week in Charlotte with end-of-the-year board meetings for various LCG corporations around the world. Mr. Meredith presided over our weekly executive luncheon meeting in his office where we discussed a number of ideas about the coming year. This week we learned of the recent death of Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi, the Seventh Day Adventist scholar who had written extensively on the Christian Sabbath. He died of cancer on December 20. This coming weekend we have scheduled a number of activities for the Charlotte Regional Family Weekend. Thankfully, temperatures here in Charlotte should be a bit warmer than in many other parts of the country.
Church Administration
Barbados and South Florida Update
Mr. and Mrs. Dexter Wakefieldwere in Barbados on the Sabbath of December 13. Mr. Wakefield reports, “I hadthe great privilege of ordaining Mr. Clyde Skeete, a long-time serving deacon, as a local elder in the Barbados congregation, which continues to grow. Attendance was 81 for services. I gave the announcements and, at the end, went over the qualifications of an elder. I also spoke some about the history of the Barbados church and commented on Mr. Clyde Skeete’s faithful leadership over the years. The members were excited to hear the announcement about his ordination, with some wiping tears away. It was an emotional moment for the congregation, which applauded afterwards. I gave the sermon on ‘The Church and This World’s Governments,’ and used the opportunity to underscore the importance of government in the Church, particularly in our relationship with the ministry. 
Mr. Terrence Kennell, our deacon in the Ft. Lauderdale congregation, thanks “all the brethren for their fervent prayers on their behalf regarding Mr. Kennell’s earlier diagnosis of liver cancer. He just recently completed his first three-month follow-up after having liver resection surgery in September, and they are deeply pleased to announce that there was absolutely no reoccurrence of cancer, nor was there any chemotherapy required throughout their ordeal.  Truly, our God is amazing!”
Visit to Guyana and Brazil
From December 5-19, Area Pastor Fitzroy Greeman and his wife, Doreen, visited brethren and congregations in Guyana and Brazil. They were in Georgetown on December 6, where 11 persons were in attendance for Sabbath services. On Monday, December 8, the Greemans left Georgetown for Lethem, located in the interior of Guyana, where they were met by local elder Laurus Alfred. The following day they drove through rough terrain, mountains and a river, to the village of Awarewaunau, where they spent the following five days. During their time in Awarewaunau, Mr. Greeman conducted five Living Leadership Course lessons, visited members, preached on the Sabbath and performed the ceremony of the blessing of little children; Mrs. Greeman also conducted a short music lesson for the brethren; and Mr. Alfred assisted Mr. Greeman by providing interpretation during services into Wapishana, a language of South America spoken by several thousand indigenous peoples in Guyana and Brazil. There were 70 persons in attendance in Awarewaunau on the Sabbath, including eleven who traveled from the village of Aishalton.
The following evening, they left for Moscou, Brazil. During their stay in Moscou, Mr. Greeman held a meeting with the congregation of 36, conducted a blessing of the little children and baptized three persons. On December 19, the Greemans returned to Trinidad.
East Africa Update
Mr. Simon Muthama reports, “I came back home safely after a ten-day inspiring trip to western Kenya and Tanzania, where I covered more than 1,800 km on road and three hours on water, from Mwanza to Nansio-Ukerewe. It was encouraging to see the dedication of our brethren, who appeared to have been changed by the teachings we had at the Feast. I noticed a tremendous growth in both the western Kenyan and Tanzanian brethren.”
Finance Department
In last week’s The World Ahead, Dr. Meredith commented on the drop in income for December. Our regular income is down for November and December by $148,454 compared to the same two months last year.  Our brethren, co-workers and donors have responded generously to Dr. Meredith’s appeals and we appear to be on track to end the year on or very close to our budgeted income. We are very thankful that God has met our needs in these difficult, uncertain financial times.  We deeply appreciate the generous financial support and the continued prayers of our brethren. 
Please remember that any contributions dated in December that are postmarked on or before December 31 will be counted as year 2008 donations, and may be tax-deductible in 2008, even if we receive them in January 2009. So be sure any December donation is postmarked no later than December 31.—Davy Crockett
Christian Moderation: Jesus taught His disciples that they should be “lights” to the world (Matthew 5:14-16). During the world’s mad scramble of holiday shopping and year-end parties, Christians have an opportunity to set a very different example. The Bible warns against over-indulgence in food (Proverbs 23:1-3, 20-21; 25:16, 27). It also warns about the dangers of liberal alcohol consumption (Proverbs 20:1; 1 Timothy 3:8; Titus 2:3). The Scriptures encourage Christians to set an example of moderation and balance in all things to everyone with whom they come into contact. “Let your moderation be known to all men” (Philippians 4:5, KJV; see also 1 Timothy 3:2, 7-8). As the world goes its deceived merry way during the year-end holidays, let’s be thankful for the Truth about the real purpose of life and the guidelines that God has provided to enable His servants to be balanced lights of Christian moderation to a darkened and confused world.
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
NEWS AND PROPHECY - December 25, 2008
Return of a European Dynasty? For hundreds of years, the Habsburg family ruled across Europe and beyond—as far away as Mexico (Maximilian was a Habsburg). The Habsburgs utilized strategic marriages to expand their domains. Today, descendents of the dynasty are re-gaining visible roles in European politics. Gyorgy von Habsburg has been appointed “Ambassador Extraordinary” for Hungary; his older brother Karl has represented Austria in the European Parliament, while his sister hopes to do the same for Sweden; and another sister has similar aspirations in Spain. When “Prince Gyorgy,” who recently married a German duchess, visits the castle district in Budapest, many people shout “Hail to the King,” which goes unreported in the press. Prince Gyorgy does have visions of the throne in his future (Seattle Times, April 286, 1998). Last summer, “Otto von Habsburg handed over the office of Grand Master of the Knights Order of St. Sebastian in Europe… to his son Karl [descendant of the last Holy Roman Emperor]. Otto von Habsburg is now the new patron of the European Community of Historic Guilds (EGS) in twelve countries,” further reintroducing the Habsburg name to the whole of Europe (ORF, August 31, 2008). As the Pope continues to push Europeans to return to their Christian roots and Europeans themselves see more and more a need for one leader, might the Habsburgs again play a key role in leading Europe? Daniel 11 speaks of a king of the North that will arise in Europe and play a “beastly” role in end-time prophecy. The “next” Roman Emperor could indeed be “waiting in the wings,” and may be of an ancient and historic blood line.
The Iron and Clay of Europe.The “iron and clay” of the European Union was again evident when Britain and France met recently to discuss finances without Germany. Former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer (age 60) granted a poignant interview to the German tabloid Der Spiegel, stating that Germany has been accused of “watching from the sidelines” as Europe deals with the global economic meltdown. He argued that Germany must resume its role as a “leader” in Europe and be willing to work, “even with the French.” Mr. Fisher chided, “Why does Germany always say no, instead of assuming a leadership role?” He cautioned that Germany cannot “go it alone,” or “the European Experiment will fail.” Mr. Fisher reiterated his continued belief in a two-speed Europe, where a handful of nations, including Germany and France, will take the lead. He concluded by saying that Germany and Europe must invest more heavily in the U.S., or the U.S. will turn toward its other “creditors in the Pacific,” forced to focus on the nations to whom it is indebted (Der Spiegel, December 22, 2008). The Bible highlights the divisive, iron-and-clay nature of the end-time, 10-nation Beast power (Daniel 2:33, 41-44; Revelation 17:7-15). It also illustrates how these nations will come together for a time and give their power over to a central government and a sovereign influenced by a powerful church (Revelation 17).
Ties Between Russia, India and China Grow Tighter. Russia, China and India are working more closely in the area of defense. Russia recently agreed to “rent” three nuclear submarines to India on a 10-year lease, along with a $1.5 billion purchase of helicopters and other air force supplies (Defense News, December 17, 2008). India, China, and Russia are also working together on designing and building aircraft carriers and are sharing schematics and technologies for carrier sub-systems. Russia is currently refitting an older carrier for India. God warns that near the end of the tribulation, news from the north and east of Jerusalem will greatly trouble the Beast/king of the North (Daniel 11:44-45). Eventually, an army of 200 million men will arise in the east and attack the Beast power and destroy it (Revelation 9:13-20, Daniel 11:45). The Euphrates river will dry up making way for these kings from the east (Revelation 16:12). As China and India, the world’s most populous nations, align more closely with Russia, these three nations will form a formidable military and economic union. This could be the precursor to a force that will launch the 200 million man army prophesied to appear at the end of the age.—Scott Winnail 

COGwriter, 2008

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