Living Church of God Weekly Update 1/31
Greetings from Charlotte,
The usually mild South got another taste of “real winter” this week as a storm with frigid temperatures wreaked havoc in Alabama and Georgia. Thousands of motorists were stranded on metro roadways Tuesday night, with thousands of children having to spend the night in area schools. It has been a reminder of how quickly we as human beings can lose control of situations for which we are not prepared. How much more is the whole human race unprepared for the calamitous events ahead (Luke 21:35)? Our job is to help them prepare!
This week in the Work, Dr. Roderick C. Meredith held an all-staff meeting, urging everyone to consider, “Who are you?” He exhorted us to focus on our training as the advance guard of God’s Kingdom, which will bring peace to the hundreds of millions suffering today. Dr. Meredith also selected the cover for the March-April TW magazine this week. Mr. Ames has been conducting meetings and considering important upgrades to our television editing suite software. Dr. Doug Winnail reports that the Regional Conference meetings in Pretoria, South Africa, were very positive, and the brethren warm and welcoming. Dr. Winnail has this week been making visits in Switzerland, Belgium, and Holland, and will be in London for services on the Sabbath (see report below). Mr. Wyatt Ciesielka reports that the test version of the new Tomorrow’ s World Web site is now available at http://beta.tomorrowsworld.org (see announcement below)! We are grateful to report that Mr. Don Wood is home from the hospital, and is feeling much better (see report below). Please continue praying for God’s Work around the world!—RMc
African Regional Conference
Elders, deacons and leading men and their wives from all over Africa met on January 26 for the 2014 Regional Conference at the Opikopi Guest House in Pretoria, South Africa. Dr. Douglas Winnail chaired the meetings.
At Sabbath services, there were 120 people present to hear Dr. Winnail speak on the subject of prophecy. He highlighted the fact that prophecy unlocks the door to understanding the past, present and future. I gave a sermonette asking the question, “What is God’s commission for you?”
The Sunday conference included fascinating reports from our pastors in Kenya and Nigeria as well as local reports from Cape Town, Gauteng and Durban. Dr. Winnail then gave practical points for building teamwork and leadership in the congregations. I addressed the subject of helping the “lambs” in the Church, namely the youth and new members. In Pretoria, 50 percent of the congregation has been attending less than 5 years.—Rod King
Update on Mr. Don Wood
To our brethren and friends who love God, Zee and I thank you for your prayers, plus cards and e-mails you have sent—yes, and flowers. God’s people are the most loving people anywhere. My condition seems to improve a little with each day—though evidence of cancer remains. But God is Great and Merciful. Our thanks to God and our Savior and to each of you. With love, Don and Zerillda Wood. P.S. Zerillda is an A#1 help mate.
Passover 2014—Repeat Announcement
Important Notice to All Pastors: This year the Passover Service will be observed on Sunday evening, April 13. Let us know as soon as possible if any of the congregations you serve will need additional Passover Service supplies (bread trays and/or wine trays or glasses) or a copy of the Passover Service recording. To ensure timely delivery and to save on shipping costs, please let us know this information before February 18 for international congregations, and by March 17 for U.S. congregations.
Also, let us know of any scattered members who are unable to keep the Passover with a congregation and who need to receive the Passover Service recording and letter instructions for observing it at home. International requests should be received before February 18. Please direct your requests to the Church Administration Department at email@example.com as soon as possible.
Update on French magazine, Le Monde de Demain
It is a new civil year and we have a new design for the French magazine, Le Monde de Demain. A few months after changes were made to the layout of the English Tomorrow’s World magazine, the French version has been able to adopt a similar design. You can view this new layout at the following link: MondeDemain.org/revues. Thanks to a dedicated team of Church employees and volunteers, we are also pleased to switch from a quarterly to a bi-monthly magazine. The length also increased from 24 to 28 pages (eventually 32 in July). In 2013, the French magazine had a circulation of 3,200. In addition, each issue of the magazine records about 4,000 downloads in PDF.—VG Lardé
Upstate South Carolina Spring Holy Day Weekend in Greenville, SC—April 18–21, 2014
The Anderson, South Carolina congregation invites you to join us for our seventh Upstate South Carolina Spring Holy Day Weekend scheduled for Friday, April 18, 2014 to Monday, April 21, 2014. The weekend promises to be filled with inspiring spiritual messages, uplifting fellowship, and fun activities. Come celebrate the last part of the Days of Unleavened Bread with us in Greenville, SC. We are pleased to announce that the Presiding Evangelist of the Living Church of God, Dr. Roderick Meredith will be our guest speaker for the weekend.
Planned events include a Friday afternoon bike ride on the Swamp Rabbit Trail; a Friday evening opening dinner and Bible Study; brunch, a Bible Question and Answer Session, and Sabbath services on the Sabbath; the Black Hat Banquet and Ball on Saturday night; a picnic and recreational activities, including a 5K road race and softball games, on Sunday; and Holy Day services on Monday, the Last Day of Unleavened Bread. Services and the Banquet and Ball will be held at the Hyatt Regency Greenville in downtown Greenville, SC.
Additionally, we invite those with musical talent to perform special music for the Sabbath or Holy Day services or to perform appropriate danceable music for the Ball. Please contact us with your proposed performance selection.
We have secured a room rate of $89 per night for guests staying at the Hyatt. This guaranteed rate expires on March 28, 2014. Further details about the event, prices of meals, and registration instructions are located at our local Web site: http://lcganderson.org/ (not an official Church Web site). Or you may contact Manuel Burdette for further information at 864-638-7719 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to seeing you in Greenville for the best Spring Weekend ever!
Living Youth Programs
Online Teen Bible Study—Friday Evening
The online Teen Bible Study Friday evening, February 7, will be on “The Seven Trumpets Sound,” presented by Mr. Sheldon Monson. If you haven’t had the opportunity to join us for one of the online Bible Studies yet, I encourage you to do so. It is a wonderful way to start the Sabbath day.
The Bible Study runs from 8:00-9:00 p.m. (EST) and the chat room will be open for a half hour before and after the study. You can access this Bible Study at livingyouth.org. We hope as many of our youth as possible will join us for this wonderful opportunity for godly fellowship and learning. For those of you who are unable to make it to the study, archives of previous Living Youth Bible Studies, including last evening’s on “The Martyrdom of the Saints, the Heavenly Signs and the Prelude to the Seven Trumpets,” can also be found on the Living Youth Web site.—Sheldon Monson
Big news! Our new Tomorrow’s World Web site is nearly ready to release to the world! But before we release it to the general public, we want to give you—our membership—a “sneak peek.” We will also appreciate any feedback that you want to give us during this “beta release” phase (just put your comments in the “Contact Us” form on the Web site). Please note, there was nothing wrong with the old Web site—it had simply aged over time. The new Tomorrow’s World Web site is not only very modern looking, but it also utilizes some of the most modern “back-end technology” available. We hope you like it, and we pray that God will bless it to help us make an even more powerful impact around the world. Again, this is a “beta version” and we do have a short list of additional features yet to add. Please also note, our goal is to release this English-language version to the general public within a few weeks and then to follow up with French and Spanish versions throughout 2014. The URL is: http://beta.tomorrowsworld.org.—Wyatt Ciesielka
Feast of Tabernacles
International Feast Sites Announced
We are happy to announce these International Feast of Tabernacles sites and Festival Coordinators for 2014:
Argentina: Site pending (Aaron Bravo)
Australia: Lennox Head, New South Wales (Dayrell Tanner)
Barbados: Christ Church (Clyde Skeete)
Canada: Penticton, British Columbia (Barry Walker); Ottawa, Ontario (Marc Arseneault); Cyprus Hills, Saskatchewan (Michael Elertson); Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island (James Ginn)
Colombia: La Tebaida, Quindío (Cristian Orrego)
Costa Rica: Site pending (George Schaubeck)
France: Saint Pierre La Mer, Languedoc-Roussillon (Rees Ellis)
Guatemala: Antigua (Sergio Roca)
Guyana: Georgetown (Fitzroy Greeman)
Indonesia: Batu (Arius Nusantara)
Israel: Jerusalem (James Meredith)
Jamaica: Montego Bay (Lascelles Fraser)
Kenya: Isibania (Simon Muthama)
Malaysia: Penang (Rajan Moses)
Martinique: Ste. Luce (Wilner Pierre)
Mexico: Tequisquiapan, Queretaro (Antonio Mora)
New Zealand: Rotorua (Paul Kearns)
Philippines: Baguio City (Dayrell Tanner)
South Africa: Port Shepstone, Kwa Zulu Natal (Lawdi Ferreira) and Still Bay, Western Cape (Christo Botha)
Sri Lanka: Ahangama (Zig Svalbe)
Tobago: Crown Point (Fitzroy Greeman)
United Kingdom: Great Malvern, Worcestershire (Simon Roberts)
Festival Advisors Selected Soon
Pastors! Please be thinking about who your Festival Advisors (one for each congregation) will be for the year 2014 Feast season. Festival Advisors assist brethren who don’t have Internet access with festival registration matters. Pastors, we will soon be canvassing you for your selections—so please be thinking about it now.—Festival Office
It is a common practice for people to make charitable donations through their estates, and we are very appreciative to those members and coworkers who have made bequests to God’s Work in recent years. They make a very positive impact on the things we are able to do to propel the Work forward! As a result of Planned Giving, we will be able to go on more TV stations and purchase much needed equipment and software for 2014.
We receive questions about how to go about Planned Giving, so we have added a “Planned Giving” link on the Tomorrow’s World and Living Church of God Web sites. On the Tomorrow’s World Web site, click on “About Us,” then “Planned Giving.” On the Living Church of God Web site, the “Planned Giving” link is on the Home page. Or you can contact our office of Legal Affairs by e-mail at email@example.com or by telephone at 800-565-0546 or 704-844-1970. The Church has a very helpful booklet on Planned Giving entitled, A Legacy of Preaching the Gospel Through Your Last Will and Testament. It is easy to leave your own personal legacy of support for God’s Work.—Dexter B. Wakefield, Vice President of Finance and Operations
Adjunct Faculty Needed
As Living University grows and we expand our curriculum, we are in need of additional adjunct faculty to teach and develop distance-education classes in three different areas. Interested applicants who meet the qualifications listed below are encouraged to contact Dr. Scott Winnail: phone 704-708-2292 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Resumés may also be e-mailed or sent to him.
History: Living University is looking for someone to develop and teach our HIST 111 – History of Western Civilization to 1648 and HIST 112 – History of Western Civilization since 1648 courses. Qualified applicants will minimally possess a Masters degree with at least 18 graduate hours in history related to Western civilizations.
Speech Communication: Living University is looking for someone to develop and teach different speech-related courses, including Oral Communication and Public Speaking. Qualified applicants will minimally possess a Masters degree with at least 18 graduate hours in speech communication.
Music: Living University is looking for someone to develop and teach different music courses, in particular, a course in Music Appreciation. Qualified applicants will minimally possess a Masters degree with at least 18 graduate hours in music.
Happiness is… A Moral Obligation?
Columnist, author, and syndicated talk show host Dennis Prager recently produced the short video, “Why Be Happy?” (http://www.prageruniversity.com/Life-Studies/Why-Be-Happy.html). It’s a thought-provoking analysis about our effect on others. The point is, in short, that we have a responsibility to be positive and upbeat, because our attitude has a direct impact on everyone around us. As God’s people especially, we have a lot to be happy about. Sure, we all have trials. Many of us are suffering and in pain. But when we consider our calling, our personal relationship with God, and our opportunity to have a real impact on the world through His Work, we are the most blessed people on earth!
In Hebrews 10:24-25, the Apostle Paul encourages us to, “consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” One of the best ways we can “stir up” and “exhort” one another to be strong, courageous, and focused on our fantastic future, is simply by being filled with the oil of joy ourselves.
Have a happy Sabbath,
News and Prophecy—January 30, 2014
New Technology Leaves the U.S. Behind: “China has tested a ‘hypersonic’ aircraft which is so fast that it could render the defence systems of every nation on Earth obsolete and reset the global calculations of nuclear diplomacy” (The Times, January 16, 2014). Identifying the sad irony of the situation, three Republican House Armed Services Committee members released the statement: “While round after round of defence cuts have knocked America’s technological advantage on its back, the Chinese and other competitor nations push towards military parity with the US. In some cases, as in this one, they appear to be leaping ahead of us” (ibid.). Millennia ago, God warned that because of their rejection of Him, Israel and its descendants would experience the following from opposing nations: “He shall lend to you, but you shall not lend to him; he shall be the head, and you shall be the tail” (Deuteronomy 28:44). The once great United States of America, monetary and military leader of the world, is now falling from that position due to its rejection of God. “Moreover all these curses shall come upon you and pursue and overtake you, until you are destroyed, because you did not obey the voice of the LORD your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which He commanded you” (v. 45). For more on this topic, read our informative article entitled, “Is This China’s Century?”
Chinese Investors Pushed Abroad: Chinese real estate investors are now flocking primarily to Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. (China Daily, January 28, 2014). “Investment and education are the main drivers of Chinese migration… The expanding number of Chinese emigrants [nearly 50 million now] is creating business opportunities for a range of industries” (ibid.). With new internal limits on property purchasing within China, and rising prices, investors are being pushed beyond the borders of their own nation (ibid.). These Israelite-descended nations are important because they are prophesied to experience an influx of foreign nationals at the end of the age. And as this influx continues, the following biblical warnings ring out: “Th e alien who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower” (Deuteronomy 28:43). And, “The LORD will bring a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flies, a nation whose language you will not understand” (v. 49). The Israelite-descended nations are cursed because they reject God and His laws (v. 15). Growing foreign wealth and real estate holdings in Israelite nations by Chinese nationals may be one way God brings about the fulfillment of these ancient prophecies. For more information on this topic, be sure to read our enlightening booklet, The United States and Great Britain in Prophecy.
Grammy Awards Send a Message: Last Sunday in Los Angeles, the most coveted music awards were doled out at an awards extravaganza where no holds were barred by the performers. This year’s program boasted sultry sex scenes, satanic occult imagery, and even a mass wedding including many homosexual couples and presided over by a female hip-hop star. “Same Love,” the wildly popular hip-hop song of the year about homosexual love was performed throughout the brief wedding ceremony (LATimes, January 27, 2014; Telegraph, January 27, 2014; Telegraph, January 27, 2014). Throughout the Bible, God repeatedly indicts the Israelite-descended nations for rejecting His ways. He warns, “Woe to him who strives with his Maker” and those “who are incensed against Him” (Isaiah 45:9, 24). This year’s Grammys, more than ever, demonstrated a spirit of “striving against God” and His ways, and being “incensed against” obedience to God’s laws. It poignantly and purposefully flaunted hedonism and sin in the faces of over 28 million viewers, even as some liberal commentators were themselves taken aback by some of the acts. One day soon, Christ will return and, as many return from national captivity experienced because of their rejection of God’s laws, they will “be ashamed” of their actions aga inst God (v. 24). The exciting truth is that when this happens, God will gladly welcome back His people (Zephaniah 3:20) and bless them once again (Joel 2:18-19). For more about God’s prophesied judgment on the modern Israelite nations, be sure to view our telecast entitled, “The Coming Day of the Lord.”—Scott Winnail and John Bannister