April 28, 2011

Greetings from Charlotte, 

The Eastern part of the United States has just experienced what may go down in U.S. history as the most violent April ever for tornados.  Last Wednesday night, the deadliest string of tornados in almost 40 years swept across six states, leaving whole neighborhoods devastated.  At least 266 people were killed across the region, with 180 lost in Alabama alone.  We are grateful to report that God protected His people through these storms, even miraculously (see report below)!  Thank you for your prayers for all of our brethren who were in the path of these killer tornados.   

Against this backdrop of grief and destruction, God’s people have been faithfully observing His commanded Spring Holy Days—with an increase of 8.2% in attendance over last year.  What an inspiration it is to once again be reminded of God’s awesome plan of salvation for mankind!  And now that the Spring Holy Days of 2011 are over, our travelling Headquarters ministers are beginning to return to Charlotte: Dr. and Mrs. Meredith from Los Angeles, California; Mr. and Mrs. Ames from Seattle, Washington and Concord, California; Dr. and Mrs. Scott Winnail and Dr. and Mrs. Wilner Pierre from the Caribbean; and Mr. and Mrs. Bob League from Huntsville, Alabama.  Both Dr. Meredith and Mr. Ames also conducted Tomorrow’s World Special Presentations during their trips (see reports below).  Dr. and Mrs. Douglas Winnail are still in England where he is conducting a Ministerial Conference.  Mr. Mario Hernandez is still travelling in Latin America, and conducted Last Day of Unleavened Bread services from Colombia via the Internet (see report below).  Thank you for praying for the safe travels of all of our brethren and ministers during the Holy Days.  We hope everyone had a meaningful, inspiring—and safe—Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread!—RMc 


Church Administration 

Second Passover

This year, the Second Passover should be taken shortly after sunset on Tuesday, May 17. This Passover is for those baptized members who were unable to take the first Passover due to unavoidable circumstances. The biblical instructions guiding this ceremony are found in Numbers 9:1-14.

Lives Spared—Flat Rock, Alabama 

God’s protection was never so apparent as it was this Wednesday evening when the most violent tornado storms in decades ripped through the Tennessee Valley, demolishing entire neighborhoods in Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee, including a member couple’s home—with them in it!  Mr. and Mrs. Rondal Smith told me their home tumbled a couple of times and then exploded into pieces and blew away, right in front of them!  Still shaking from this harrowing experience, Mr. Smith said, “We were desperately crying out as loud as we could for God to spare us—and He did with only a few scrapes and cuts!”   Their home and vehicles are a total loss, but we are all thanking God this morning for their lives and the protection afforded to all of our brethren.—James Sweat 

Tomorrow’s World Special Presentations 

Garden Grove: A Tomorrow’s World Special Presentation hosted by the Garden Grove, California congregation was given by Dr. Roderick Meredith on the Sabbath of April 16. He spoke powerfully on the topic “What’s Ahead for America?” The Garden Grove Community Meeting Center was the venue for services that morning and the Special Presentation that afternoon. There were a total of 198 in attendance, including 98 guests and 100 members.  Dr. Meredith’s inspiring presentation was well received and most attendees stayed afterwards to ask questions and enjoy refreshments prepared by brethren in the Southern California congregations.   

The follow-up lecture titled “Where Is God’s Church Today?” was presented by Mr. Darrell Lovelady at the same location on the Sabbath of April 23. There were 114 in attendance, including 34 guests and 80 members. Most guests were returning visitors from Dr. Meredith’s presentation. This message was also well received and fellowship and unleavened refreshments were enjoyed afterwards by most of the attendees.  

The brethren really appreciated the opportunity to let their light shine in this way and are excited that several guests have expressed interest in attending services on a regular basis!—James Meredith 

Seattle-Tacoma: The Seattle-Tacoma congregation was very excited to host two Tomorrow’s World Special Presentations in Fife, Washington (near Tacoma) on the Sabbaths of April 16 and April 23.  Evangelist Richard F. Ames energized the audience with his message, “What’s Ahead for America?,” on April 16.  People appreciated the opportunity to meet one of the Tomorrow’s World presenters, and were enthused by the timely message. There were a total of 98 people in attendance, including 45 guests and 53 Church members. A number of the guests requested future contact from a minister and planned to return the following week. Mr. Glen Gilchrist, the Area Pastor for Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Alaska answered the very meaningful question, Where Is God’s True Church Today?” in his follow-up message on April 23. Six visitors from the first presentation returned as well as six new guests, for a total of 25 guests at the follow-up presentation.  After each message the local brethren put together catered refreshments and many people stayed for more than an hour to meet the ministers, as well as fellowship with the brethren. Each guest left with a packet containing important Church literature. The Washington brethren are looking forward to seeing the fruits of these lectures.—Michael and Shana Jewsbury 

Spanish Update 

Online Service: On the Last Day of Unleavened Bread, brethren from Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Guatemala, Bolivia, and the United States connected online through Vox Wire to listen to live messages. Mr. Raúl Colón gave the offertory message from Puerto Rico and Mr. Hernandez gave the main message from Medellín, Colombia. Although some people were not able to connect, live online services are very encouraging for scattered brethren. We hope to improve this service.—Madeleine Lincoln-Strange 

Visit to El Salvador: On Sunday, April 1, my son Johan and I arrived in Sal Salvador to celebrate the Passover and the First Day of Unleavened Bread. This new congregation of the Living Church of God has been firm and growing thanks to the blessing of God and the faithfulness and zeal from the brethren. For the Passover service, eight members were present and on the First Day of Unleavened Bread the attendance was 17.—George Schaubeck 

Carolina Singles Weekend 

The Second Carolina Singles Weekend is fast approaching! (Memorial Day Weekend, May 27-30). To register for the weekend, a completed registration form and payment for the activities must be received by Monday, May 16. All checks should be made out to the Charlotte Local Activity Fund and mailed to: 

Living Church of God

Attn: Michelle Matherly

2301 Crown Centre Dr.

Charlotte, NC 28227 

Download the registration form from www.charlottelcg.org (not an official Church website). The cost to attend the weekend is $20 per person. This helps to cover food for the weekend and other expenses that arise. We will soon post the lineup of Bible studies and lectures at www.charlottelcg.org.  

Please register as soon as possible! The registration deadline is May 16!

Living Youth Camp

Adventure Trip 2011: Baxter Park, Maine—July 6-14 

We still have openings for those 13-20 years of age wanting to join us on an adventure of a lifetime in Baxter Park, Maine this summer.  Arrival date for staff is Tuesday, July 5, and arrival date for campers (13-20 years of age) is Wednesday, July 6.  Everyone will depart for home on Thursday morning, July 14.  (We will be arranging transportation for those flying into and out of Bangor Airport.)  

Plan to climb to the top of Katahdin, Maine’s highest mountain; whitewater raft the Penobscot River; learn to kayak and then test your skills on a river; and enjoy a final evening at the Pelletier Loggers Restaurant while you meet some of the American Loggers as seen on the Discovery Channel.  This year, our entire group will camp together, eat together, and hike together while we are on the trail.  The camp tuition is an outstanding value at only $375 per person.  Now is the time to sign up, so that you can make travel arrangements, and begin personally preparing for this adventure!—Sheldon Monson  


Go forward!  The first Feast of Unleavened Bread the Israelites kept must have been exciting and exhilarating!  They went out with boldness (Exodus 14:8; the King James Version reads, “with a high hand”).  It was on the Last Day of Unleavened Bread, according to Jewish tradition, that they actually saw the Red Sea split in two, and they walked through it on dry ground.  Then they witnessed Pharaoh’s feared army being smashed beneath its crushing walls (Exodus 14:9-31).  And yet, just three days later, they forgot this great deliverance and amazingly began to condemn Moses again (Exodus 15:24). 

But stop for a moment.  Before we judge the Israelites too harshly, let’s judge ourselves.  Can we, several days after an inspiring Last Day of Unleavened Bread service, regress as well?  After the “high” of the Holy Days, how quickly can we return to wrong patterns of thinking, if we are not careful?  How fast can we say or do things we later regret?  We need to remember the words that Moses was charged to relay to the children of Israel on the banks of the Red Sea: “Tell the children of Israel to go forward” (Exodus 14:15).  As we leave the Spring Feasts of 2011 behind us, let us heed those words as well.  Let’s grow, overcome, change, and accomplish our part in God’s great Work that lies yet ahead of us.  Let’s not go backward, let’s go forward! 

Have a meaningful Sabbath,

Rod McNair 

News and Prophecy—April 28, 2011  

Syria: The Latest Middle East Uprising. Syria is now the latest nation experiencing a bloody interchange between a ruling family—the Assads, in power for 40 years—and citizens desirous of democracy. The Assad government has attempted to put down the rebellion through the use of force—an action which appears to be solidifying the people’s resolve. The regime in Syria has banned foreign journalists. In response, EU nations—led by Germany—have issued several powerful statements condemning the government-backed violence against their own people. EU nations as well as the UN Security Council are considering sanctions against Syria (Associated Press, April 22, 2011). In an attempt to violently end protests and hang on to his power, President al-Assad appears to be dividing his own government (Wall Street Journal, April 27, 2011). The current unrest throughout the region is creating a power-vacuum that will need to be filled one way or another. God prophesied through the prophet Amos that He would bring His wrath against many different Middle Eastern nations, including Syria (Amos 1:3-15; 2:1-16). God is bringing to pass His plan throughout the Middle East and elsewhere. God is the one who raises up kings and puts them down (Daniel 2:21). We can rest assured that, even in these sobering times of great turmoil, God is working out His plan here below, in Syria and beyond! 

Science Suggests Christ Kept Passover on a Wednesday: In his newly published book, The Mystery of the Last Supper, professor Colin Humphreys of Cambridge University presents research that he feels definitively places Christ’s keeping of the Passover on a Wednesday [Tuesday evening at sundown as God reckons time]. Humphreys used “a combination of biblical, historical and astronomical research to try to pinpoint the precise nature and timing of Jesus’s final meal with his disciples before his death… Jesus went by an old-fashioned Jewish calendar rather than the official lunar calendar which was in widespread use at the time of his death and is still in use today… This would put the Passover meal—and the Last Supper—on the Wednesday,” not on a Thursday as many believe. Humphreys also notes, “Many biblical scholars say that, for this reason [apparent contradictions between accounts from the synoptic gospels and John’s account] you can’t trust the Gospels at all. But if we use science and the Gospels hand in hand, we can actually prove that there was no contradiction” (AFP, April 18, 2011). God’s Church has long understood that Christ kept the Passover on a Tuesday evening just after sundown—the start of Wednesday—and was crucified Wednesday afternoon. Although Humphreys does not understand the Wednesday crucifixion, it is encouraging to see science used to support a truth we have known. For more information on this topic, review Lesson 14 of the Bible Study Course and view Mr. Ames’ telecast on Death, Resurrection, and the Afterlife. 

Gonorrhea Could Become a “Superbug.” New data suggest that a sexually transmitted bacterium, gonorrhea, is becoming resistant to the only remaining antibiotic that still kills it. Should it become totally resistant to the drug, gonorrhea could be unstoppable. Untreated gonorrhea usually results in sterility—the inability to have children. “Researchers are seeing the emergence of gonorrhea that’s resistant to cephalosporin [this last antibiotic] in South East Asia. Typically, resistant strains from that part of the world migrate over to the U.S., and then spread from West to East… ‘The concern is that history tends to repeat itself… It’s following the same pattern that’s happened before,’” observed a CDC official (LiveScience.com, April 20, 2011). Christ noted that “pestilences” or disease epidemics would be prevalent at the time of the end (Luke 21:11). And God warned that failure to obey His laws would result in great and prolonged sicknesses (Deuteronomy 28:21-22, 59-62). Today, many people resist directives to remain faithful in marriage. Public health experts have long known that sexually transmitted infections are easy to prevent by simply following principles outlined in God’s law. One day we will see these diseases eradicated as people live by every word of God.  “… If you diligently heed the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I [am] the LORD who heals you” (Exodus 15:26).—Julius Hart and Scott Winnail

COGwriter 2011

Back to home page