Living Church of God Weekly Update 8/28
Greetings from Charlotte -
It’s hard to believe the Fall Holy Days will be here in less than two weeks—the summer really has flown by! Mr. Meredith and Mr. Ames taped new Tomorrow’s World programs this week. On Tuesday, Mr. Meredith taped program #378, “Your Ultimate Destiny,” offering the booklet by the same title, and tomorrow he will tape program #382, “The Truth About Divine Healing,” offering the booklet Does God Heal Today? Mr. Ames taped program #383, “Who Is Jesus?” offering the booklet What Is a True Christian? Mr. Wallace Smith will be in Charlotte next week to tape additional programs. Mr. Rod McNair, Dr. Wilner Pierre and Mr. Bud Jersett have returned from a very encouraging and informative visit with our brethren in Haiti (see report below). Living University classes are off to a good start for the Fall semester. Mr. Gerald Weston reports that 98 visitors attended three Tomorrow’s World Special Presentations in Ontario, Canada last week with 30 visitors attending the follow-up presentations. Mr. Gene Hilgenberg reports that 17 visitors attended the two follow-up TWSPs in Edmond and Tulsa, Oklahoma. This weekend, I will be in Little Rock, Arkansas, and in Memphis, Tennessee, to give two more TWSPs entitled “What’s Ahead for America?”
Mrs. Gloria Overton, a member in the San Diego congregation, reports God’s recent intervention in her life: “I was born with two broken lumbar vertebrae. I had no problems until age 31. My doctor said I should get an operation to repair them, which I did. The operation helped for four years. I had no problem walking during that time. After four years, I had to jump from a burning building and I re-injured my vertebrae. It caused me to suffer great pain from 1980-2010. I had to use a cane and a walker during that period. After returning to Church in 2010, I asked a minister of God in San Diego to anoint me. The next week, I walked into the Church without a walker, totally healed. I thank and praise God.”
China Trip and Canadian Update
Mr. Gerald Weston reports on his and Mr. Stuart Wachowicz’s recent visit to China: The trip was most helpful as we were able to meet face to face with individuals who can put us on the air in a number of Asian markets. We were also able to view some television firsthand to see what techniques are being employed for news programs and what religious programming is currently on the air in Hong Kong and Guangdong province. We were encouraged by the assistance we would be given and by the opportunities currently available to us in several Asian countries…. both Mr. Wachowicz and I were very much encouraged by the potential we have to reach such a large portion of the human race. There are opportunities open to us that we could not have imagined six months ago. Your continued prayers for God to keep open these doors and His guidance and assistance in walking through them are appreciated…. Overall, Canadian Church attendance is up 21% for January through July of this year over the same period in 2009.
Dr. Wil Pierre, Mr. Bud Jersett, and I recently visited Haiti, arriving in Port-au-Prince on Wednesday, August 18, and returning to Charlotte on Sunday, August 22. Dr. Pierre pastors the congregation in Haiti, and Mr. Jersett is a building contractor from the Kansas City congregation. We were there to assess the needs of the brethren after the terrible earthquake. Upwards of 35 Living Church of God brethren live in Haiti and are faithfully attending Church. We were very encouraged to meet 26 of them on the Sabbath (others were sick). We spoke with many of them about the disaster that struck Haiti last January and about their current living situations. Though many lost relatives or friends in the tremblement de terre, the personal stories of miraculous deliverance for themselves and their immediate families were inspiring. God protected them through an unbelievably horrible disaster (the devastation is still visible all over Port-au-Prince in mangled and exposed rebar, crumpled homes and piles of rubble), and is providing for them on an ongoing basis. Many still have jobs and permanent housing, and those who are in temporary shelters are looking for more permanent housing. One member has generously donated an undeveloped family property located in a rural area outside of Port-au-Prince, that may present some helpful opportunities for brethren in the future. Plans are also being made to develop a foundation as a vehicle for working in Haiti, as well as getting Le Monde Demain broadcast on the radio. Because the house where the Church office previously was collapsed, a new office is also being set up. Though living conditions are hard in Haiti, we were encouraged to see the brethren enduring, faithful, and fully committed to God’s Work and Church.—Rod McNair
London Career Day Activity
On Sunday, August 22, a half-day Career Workshop was presented to those in the London congregations interested in discovering more about and utilizing their talents and skills in the current job market. Mr. and Mrs. Rick Stafford and Mrs. Margo Lloyd (combining over two decades of professional career counseling experience) presented three personality and interest inventories, along with vital information on how to “access the hidden job market.” Several handouts which included information on resume/CV construction, helpful websites and interviewing pointers, were distributed and discussed. Finally, a role-playing exercise featuring Mrs. Lloyd (as an employer) conducting a job interview with Mrs. Stafford (setting a great example) and Mr. Stafford (enthusiastically showing the wrong way to behave during an interview) was hilarious! Participants will now be able to continue their career exploration with individual counseling and support.
Quintuple Baptism in Chicago!
Mr. Phil West reports: Have you repented of your sins? Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior? On August 21, 2010, after Sabbath services, these two questions were asked five times and answered affirmatively each time. I had the privilege of baptizing five new members into the body of Christ as about 45 brethren were present to witness this joyous event. The newly baptized range in age from 18 to 80. Mr. Jerry Duckett, Mr. Randy Clarke, Mr. William Morton, and Mr. and Mrs. Willie (Cynthia) Richard III are the newest members in Chicago. We suspect Satan tried to disrupt the activities as the baptismal tank partially collapsed after the second person attempted to exit the tank. However, God prevailed, and with the help of some young men who held up the sides of the tank, the rest of the baptisms went smoothly. After the baptism ceremonies, all enjoyed a meal of salad, pizza and dessert at the home of Ms. Carolyn Paul. This was an event that those present will not soon forget!
West Virginia Family Camp
Mr. Paul Shumway reports: This month, the West Virginia brethren enjoyed a fabulous Family Camp at the beautiful Glenwood 4-H Camp in Princeton, West Virginia. Thirty-nine took part, including 16 youths and 23 adults (some came all the way from North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Connecticut). With some unable to go to youth camp over the years, this event provided a family camp that highlighted our youth. Campers enjoyed activities such as Christian living classes, archery, canoeing, crafts, life lessons, and softball. We could all sense the blessings of our Great God in so many ways—including His divine protection, the near-perfect weather and the wonderful fellowship and bonding that took place. We were even loaned canoes, paddles and life jackets—the only group to be given this privilege! Just about everything went very smoothly even though this was our first attempt and so few had had any camp experience. It was as if God was smiling down on us! A major highlight was seeing the growth—in some cases, transformation—that took place in so many of the young people. Parents said they could hardly recognize their own children! It was very exciting! We were the last camp group of the summer at this site and we were told that we were the easiest to clean up after. As I went to pay the last half of camp rental the superintendent said, “Forget it, we’re even. You’re a good group. Save the money ($500) and apply it towards next year. We’d love to have you back!” We look forward to next year!
Attention U.S. Ministers, Elders and Deacons (Repeat Announcement): In preparing for the Feast of Tabernacles, the Finance Department requests that you please submit October hall rental vouchers by September 8, 2010. Thank you for your help.
Feast of Tabernacles 2010
An e-mail was sent out yesterday with a lot of new information on the Alaskan Feast site to all registered households. I have heard that there are still a number of you who have not received any of the e-mail updates for the Feast. If you did not receive the e-mail I sent yesterday, please send me a message at email@example.com and I will re-send it to you. The information in this e-mail is very important for all brethren attending this Feast site. Please note, the deadline for me to receive payment for activities is September 3.—James Meredith
Cobleskill, New York
With a hint of fall coolness in the air, we are making final preparations to keep the Feast of Tabernacles in the beautiful rolling hills of upstate New York. For specific information concerning schedules and more, go to www.fotcobleskill.org. If you are interested in singing in our Festival Choir, please contact Mr. Chip Sumner at Crsumner@aol.com. We have a special need for pianists who could assist with accompanying hymns and the choir. If you are interested in performing special music in addition to the choir performances, please contact Mr. John Hunter at firstname.lastname@example.org. See you at Cobleskill!—Jonathan McNair
Speaking Schedules (Repeat Announcement)
If you are on the speaking schedule, please begin preparing now for your assignment(s), placing special emphasis on giving meat in due season (2 Timothy 4:2), specifically on the Good News of the return and wonderful reign of Jesus Christ on earth! Sermonette and sermon speakers: please submit the title(s) of your message(s) to your festival coordinator by September 1.
Importance of Mercy: One of the fundamental qualities that Christians need to develop to become like God and reign with Jesus Christ is mercy. Showing mercy involves exercising patience, understanding, compassion and forgiveness—even when we don’t feel like doing those things. The Scriptures reveal that God is full of mercy and compassion (Exodus 34:6-7) and He desires that we develop these same qualities (Micah 6:8; Hosea 6:6). Solomon states that showing mercy honors God (Proverbs 14:31). Jesus taught that the merciful will receive mercy (Matthew 5:7) and that God values mercy over sacrifice (Hosea 6:6; Matthew 9:13). Jesus also taught that mercy is a vital key to good human relationships and those who receive mercy, but do not show mercy to others will face serious consequences (Matthew 18:21-35). In human relations we may judge others guilty before the law, yet, the Apostle James states that “Mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:13). As we develop the mind of God, we will come to understand the importance of showing mercy to everyone we deal with—and we will be preparing to rule with Jesus Christ in His kingdom.
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—August 26, 2010
American Bar Association to Urge Legalization of Same-Sex Marriage. Two weeks ago the American Bar Association (ABA) passed a resolution to urge state, territorial and tribal governments to eliminate barriers to same-sex marriage. According to Douglas Napier, senior legal counsel at the Alliance Defense Fund, “This [resolution] is so far afield from their primary purpose that this is nothing more than using the ABA to advance a political agenda—a social political agenda.” “They did it with the abortion issue in the 90’s, and now they’re doing it with marriage.” Napier continued his observation, “They [the ABA] aren’t speaking for the majority of attorneys… They don’t represent the majority of attorneys in the United States, yet they put themselves out as the voice of the American legal profession” (CNSNews.com, August 13, 2010). More and more groups and individuals are bent on engaging in social issues beyond their purview, and now national groups of lawyers are also joining the movement to overthrow the remaining godly values in our nations. Bible prophecy states that at the end of the age, men would be lovers of themselves (2 Timothy 3:2). The Apostle Paul warned about coming judgment because of growing and rampant homosexuality (Romans 1:18-31). Jesus also warned that lawlessness would abound at the end of the age (Matthew 24:12). When the lawyers—keepers of the law—lose track of morality and begin pushing unrighteous laws, what will come next for society?
Plunging Male Circumcision Rates. According to at least one researcher, male circumcision rates in the U.S. dropped from 56% in 2006 to less than 33% at the end of 2009—that is almost a 50% drop in just three years. In a recent interview, pediatric bioethicist Dr. Douglas Diekema cited several factors that may have impacted this steep decline: (1) the American Academy of Pediatrics’ rather neutral stance on the matter beginning about ten years ago, which resulted in insurance companies dropping coverage of the procedure, (2) anti-circumcision activists using emotional pleas—referring to male circumcision as genital mutilation, and (3) increasing Hispanic populations that do not traditionally practice male circumcision of infants. Dr. Diekema went on to highlight the benefits of male circumcision that will likely be lost with the declining trend, such as a significantly decreased risk of infant urinary tract infection—that can be a dangerous condition—and a significantly decreased risk of sexually transmitted disease transmission, including HIV. Dr. Diekema also pointed out that the risks inherent in infant circumcision are far less than those at older ages (NPR, August 22, 2010). As the U.S. moves away from its Judeo-Christian roots, practices that were once commonplace are now becoming taboo. Although God no longer requires circumcision for spiritual reasons (see Acts 15, Romans 2:25-29), the health benefits are still well known in the medical profession. But today, anything associated with biblical beliefs is being rejected—regardless of the benefits to children and adults alike.
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) Increase in Young British Women. “Almost half a million new cases of [sexually transmitted] infection were diagnosed in Britain last year. Among women, two-thirds were aged between 15 and 24.” These numbers increased by 12,000 over the previous year and indicate increasing promiscuity among adolescents and young adults. Sadly, 11% of young women and 12% of young men experience re-infection after being treated (Express.co.uk, August 25, 2010). Sadly, the types of STIs being contracted usually result in sterility if untreated and can greatly increase the chances of miscarriage among women. God warned that because of the sins of Ephraim (modern British-descended peoples), the nation would experience a time in the future with “… No birth, no pregnancy, and no conception.” This will occur in part through “miscarrying” and “dry breasts” (Hosea 9:10-17). Sexually transmitted diseases could certainly cause these curses. However, The Bible reveals that obedience to God and His ways brings blessings, “I will take sickness away from the midst of you. No one shall suffer miscarriage or be barren [sterile] in your land…” (Exodus 23:20-26). God speed the day when all will obey God and experience the rich blessings of obedience!—Scott Winnail, Wyatt Ciesielka, and Sue Bennett