Living Church of God Weekly Update 4/16
From the Presiding Evangelist -
Dear fellow servants of Christ,
Twenty-six years ago, a few months before Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong died, most of us could not have imagined the ups and downs and the trials and tests we have gone through. But our Father in heaven knew that the Church of God—though comparatively large in attendance at that time—needed a time of “testing.” Many brethren deeply needed to go back and re-prove what they had only partially learned before. As it turned out, some of our friends and seeming brethren had never been truly converted at all. For with no conscious pains or apparent grief, they easily “morphed” into following a certain version of mainstream Protestantism!
But a few of us—for over eighteen years now—set out urgently to preserve the wonderful Truths we had learned and to do the Work. We do want to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude v. 3). We do want to obey Jesus Christ’s command, “go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). And we do want to continue practicing the basic structure of Church government given in the Bible—since we will soon be called upon to both teach and practice that very form of government in Tomorrow’s World (1 Corinthians 6:2-3; Titus 1:5).
We can all be thankful that Almighty God has honored our effort in trying to do the above to the best of our ability. He has kept us together—in unusual unity and harmony. He is giving us increasing growth in the impact of the Work. And thousands of our brethren really are growing spiritually more than they ever had before! So as we approach the Passover this coming Sunday night, we should heartfeltly thank God the Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ, for Their limitless love, mercy and patience with all of us. Let all of us pray fervently for one another and for the very Work which Jesus Christ is doing through us in the Living Church of God. Even now, a really big “door” for preaching the Gospel on television is opening up. I pray that we will have the financial resources to go through that door and to continue to use this wonderful opportunity to greatly enlarge the impact of this Work of faith.
So please encourage all the brethren to pray for one another, and for the Work. And let us earnestly ask God to powerfully bless the Holy Day offerings that are coming up so that we will truly honor Him and Jesus Christ in preaching His message to a very confused world. The world desperately needs what we have to give. As Christ gave His life for us, let us lay down our lives for all whom God may be calling. Have a joyous and wonderful Passover!
With Christian love,
Roderick C. Meredith
Greetings from Charlotte,
We are about to observe the Spring Holy Days that picture the initial steps in God’s Great Plan of Salvation for mankind. The Passover is designed to remind us of the tremendous sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for the sins of the world. The Days of Unleavened Bread provide a period of self-examination in the light of God’s Word to help us grow mentally and spiritually so we can become part of God’s Family. Mr. Meredith will be traveling to California for the Spring Holy Days and to do a Tomorrow’s World Special Presentation in Orange County. Mr. Ames will also travel to the West Coast, to make TWSPs in the Seattle-Tacoma and San Francisco areas. Mr. Rod McNair will visit congregations in Ala bama, Dr. Scott Winnail will be in Barbados and I will be in England for the last Day of UB and for a short Ministerial Conference. Mr. Mario Hernandez will be in Chile, Bolivia and Colombia for the Spring Holy Days. Mr. Wayne Pyle reports that Mr. King’s recent telecast, “Reaping the Whirlwind,” drew 4,297 responses and that Mr. Ames’ telecast last weekend, “Overcoming Stress,” could go over 5,000. Last weekend, 33 guests attended the follow-up TWSPs in Brandon and Hattiesburg, Mississippi by Mr. Rod McNair. Mr. Gerald Weston was in Charlotte this week to tape several telecast before heading back to Canada. Mr. Charles Ogwyn reports that the redesigned www.TomorrowsWorld.org website was launched yesterday (see announcement below). Please note, The World Ahead will not be published next week. The next issue will appear on April 28, 2011. Please pray that God will bless and protect His people during the coming Spring Holy Days. —DSW
Tomorrow’s World Special Presentations
Brandon and Hattiesburg: The Jackson, Mississippi congregation hosted a follow-up Tomorrow’s World Special Presentation in Brandon, Mississippi on April 9 and the Laurel/Ocean Spring, Mississippi congregations hosted a follow-up Tomorrow’s World Special Presentation in Hattiesburg, Mississippi on April 10. The lectures titled, “Where Is God’s Church Today,” were presented by Mr. Rod McNair. In Brandon, there were 57 in attendance, including 17 guests, and in Hattiesburg there were 46 in attendance with 16 guests. At both presentations, guests were excited by the presentation and pleased to find out that there were local congregations in their area. Attendees enjoyed finger foods prepared by loc al members and stayed around long after the lectures discussing various aspects of the Truth. We are looking forward to seeing the fruit borne from the Special Presentations in the weeks to come!—Ed Breaux
Buenos Aires: Mr. Mario Hernández arrived in Buenos Aires on Thursday, March 31. On the Sabbath of April 2, 20 people attended double services (morning and afternoon), including two members from Bahia Blanca. Brethren enjoyed lunch together and a session of Bible “Questions and Answers.” On Sunday, April 3, we had a Mundo de Mañana Special Presentation with 32 new people in attendance, and a total of 45, including members. There was a follow-up presentation on Thursday, April 7, with seven new people in attendance and 15 total, including members. Mr. Hernandez talked about Repentance and Bible Prophecy for almost two hours.—Daniel Campos
Baptismal Visit in Costa Rica
Mr. George Schaubeck reports that last Sabbath and Sunday, he and his wife visited a new family for the second time who lives in a remote and difficult-to-access area of northern Costa Rica, close to the border with Nicaragua. Mr. Schaubeck baptized the husband and wife on the Sabbath in the Orosi River. They had been studying and preparing for baptism for quite some time. Mr. Schaubeck writes, “The visit was in all aspects very profitable. We were able to take them a battery which they had not been able to buy in two years; those two years they had not listened to the radio or watched television. I gave a sermon on preparing for the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread. This time we were able to drive all the way to their house because our daughter lent us her 4×4 vehicle. This family i s truly extraordinary in their convictions and child rearing. However, they live in poverty because the father lost his entire bean crop and they can’t afford anything. We took them some presents and food. They only eat beans and yucca because they can’t afford more. In spite of all this, they are faithful to God’s law.
Internet Update: New Design
On Wednesday, the re-built Tomorrow’s World website, www.tomorrowsworld.org was officially launched. The new home page emphasizes our television program and literature offer and is refreshed weekly to stay in sync with our television schedule. In addition to a completely new design, the website runs on a new software platform that will improve search engine optimization and allow for us to add new features to the website faster than ever before. New features and a variety of enhancements will be added in the coming weeks. We are receiving a number of positive comments on the new design of the tomorrowsworld.org website. The feedback is greatly appreciated and has been encouraging to all.
The new Tomorrow’s World website and the new software and hardware that support it provide us with a solid foundation on which to grow our Internet program to the next level and beyond. — J. Charles Ogwyn
Adjusting Your Focus: Prior to the Passover and during the Days of Unleavened Bread is a good time to evaluate how we spend our time and where we focus our energies and concerns. Jesus admonished us to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). Are your thoughts and efforts really focused on this big picture—of doing the Work and building the character necessary to function in the Family of God? The Apostle Paul advised Christians to “walk circumspectly” (live purposefully) and to make the most of our time “because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16). Paul also instructed Christians to treat each other with respect and to avoid interpersonal bickering and arguments over doctrinal issues that shift our focus away from the big picture (Romans 12:9-21; 14:20; 1 Corinthians 1:10). Jesus warned that “the cares of this world” can choke the truth and cause us to become unfruitful (Matthew 13:22). We need to periodically evaluate what we watch on TV, what we read and what we do and say on the Internet, and ask ourselves, “Should a Christian be doing these things?” The Internet is a powerful tool that can be used and misused. Regrettably today, it gives anyone with an opinion a soap box to the world to attack others or spread wild ideas! If we are re ally going to follow the biblical admonition to focus our minds on what is true, noble, just and pure (Philippians 4:8), let’s use the Spring Holy Days to adjust our focus once again to the big picture!
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—April 14, 2011
Who Will Bring Peace to the Arab World? From the Ivory Coast and Morocco to Saudi Arabia and Syria and Iraq, the nations of North Africa and the Middle East are in some type of, or are threatened by, civil and/or governmental upheaval. In the last few months, entire governments have resigned, dictators have stepped down, and in Libya and Ivory Coast, virtual civil war is underway. In the Palestinian territory, leaders are preparing to make a push for statehood this fall, with the backing of the UN and apparently even the Israeli prime minister and President Obama (Telegraph, April 12, 2011; Stratfor, April 21, 2011). As the United States’ role in the region continues to diminish, the European Union is taking an increasingly visible role in both “peace keeping” and diplomacy. Will a “strong man” arise in the Middle East, or will European involvement bring “temporary peace” to a war-torn region? Bible prophecy reveals that in the last days, nations and ethnic groups will rise against each other and wars and rumors of wars will abound (Matthew 24:6-7)—this is certainly occurring in the Arab world and around the globe. In addition, we read that a German-led Beast power will sign a treaty or “covenant” that will bring some type of “peace” to the Arab world for roughly three-and-a-half years (Daniel 9:27, Psalm 83:5-8, Ezekiel 23:22-23, Daniel 11:29-32). As the Arab world experiences more turmoil on a daily basis, the Middle East situation is “ripe” for an outside force to intervene. Could we be approaching a time when a strong European hand reaches in and stabilizes things for a time? We must watch and see.
Could Tunisian Refugees Destroy the EU? “Italy has promised to give over 20,000 Tunisian refugees temporary visas allowing them to travel freely in the border-free Schengen zone, which covers all EU countries except Britain and Ireland.” In response this week, “Germany warned Italy that it will not accept the migrants and that Berlin will tear up the EU’s border-free travel arrangements to stop them.” Such an action would reverse the free-travel agreement that has been in place throughout the EU since 1995. “France has warned it will also reinstate checks and that it will send the migrants back to Italy. Maria Fekter, Austria’s interior minister, said: ‘Letting these people in would only pave the way for crime, and as minister in charge of security I cannot accept that.’” Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi “has described the influx as a ‘human tsunami’ that could lead to the break-up of the EU unless countries, such as Germany, accept quotas of refugees” (Telegraph, April 11, 2011). Berlusconi has now questioned whether EU membership is still “worth it” for Italy (EU Observer, April 11, 2011). The financial crisis and now this massive wave of Tunisian immigrants underlines the fragile nature of the current European Union. Daniel prophesied that even the relationship between the final 10 members of the Beast would maintain a “partly strong, partly weak” iron-and-clay association (Daniel 2:41-43). Most experts now expect the current configuration of the EU to change and external stressors make this more likely to happen. The question is, will the next configuration of this German-led group be the final one discussed by both Daniel and Revelation?
“Super Bug” Identified in India. British scientists recently discovered the super-gene NDM-1 in 25% of the water sampled in New Delhi, India. The gene has the ability to cause bacteria to become resistant to all but the most powerful and toxic drugs. “Researchers found the gene in 11 different types of bacteria, including those that cause dysentery and cholera.” The gene has already been identified in hospital patients in Australia, Britain, Canada, Sweden and the United States, most of whom traveled in India. Experts are not sure how prevalent the gene might become. However, they also warn “The potential for wider international spread… is real and should not be ignored” (Associated Press, April 7, 2011). If this gene mixes with the right disease and the right population, it could kill many people very quickly and it would be untreatable. Jesus Christ warned that “pestilences” or disease epidemics would be one of the signs of the end of the age (Luke 21:11). As time goes on it is very sobering to see just how these prophecies might be fulfilled.—Jim and Sue Bennett, Scott Winnail