Greetings from Charlotte,
The year 2011 is off to a “sobering” start! Severe winter weather has impacted much of Western Europe, a flood of “biblical proportions” has inundated much of Queensland, Australia, and winter storms have drenched California. On the world political scene, nations in the Middle East continue to generate turmoil and uncertainty, nations in the EU struggle to hold together, and American leaders continue to push their liberal and homosexual agendas on reluctant citizens. Sadly, within the Church of God community, division and discord have erupted again. Currently, the United Church of God is experiencing a traumatic split that will impact thousands of brethren. Please pray that God will guide His people at this critical time to see the importance of working together to fulfill the commission to preach the Gospel, warn the world and prepare a people to serve with Jesus Christ in the soon-coming Kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:10-13 & Ephesians 4:1-6). Mr. Meredith is sending out a special letter about these critical events and is announcing a Church fast for unity on Saturday, January 29.
Mr. Meredith finished a new Tomorrow’s World article this week and held a number of meetings. Mr. Wayne Pyle reports that last weekend’s Tomorrow’s World program by Mr. Meredith, “How to Overcome Satan” (that offered the booklet, Satan’s Counterfeit Christianity), is expected to draw nearly 4,000 responses. Dr. Germano has been in Charlotte this week to work on LU-related matters, and we held a very encouraging Living University Board Meeting on Wednesday and discussed some very exciting plans for the future. Mr. Fitzroy Greeman, the LCG pastor in Trinidad, Barbados, Guyana, and northern Brazil, and his wife arrived on Wednesday for several days of meetings and activities here at Headquarters. I had a very positive visit to Kansas City last weekend (see report below). The visit provided an opportunity to meet and talk with many young people and brethren from various parts of the United States. Mr. Millich and the brethren in Kansas City did a fine job organizing this enjoyable annual event.—DSW
Report on Queensland Flooding: News sources around the world have been reporting the comments from State Treasurer Andrew Fraser on the recent Queensland, Australia flooding and described it as a disaster of “biblical proportions.” It is the worst flooding in Queensland’s history. The area affected by the floodwaters is equivalent to the size of Germany and France together. The region is mostly an agricultural and mining area with 200,000 people directly inconvenienced in the 22 cities and towns. Thousands have had to flee their homes as the flood waters advanced. There have been 10 flood-related deaths over the past few weeks.
Prime Minister Ms. Julia Gillard stated that “Queensland’s flood disaster will hit the national economy,” and some economists have said the disaster could cost Australia up to $9 billion Australian dollars in lost export revenue. Queensland Premier Anna Bligh expects the damage bill will top AUD$5 billion. On top of that, Queensland supplies half of the world’s coking coal for the world’s steel mills. Seventy-five percent of the mines are flooded or closed and will be for many weeks to come. This will impact steel production and supply, especially in Asia. Analysts predict the flood will eventually cost Australia more than AUD$5 billion.
Thankfully we do not have any members affected by the flooding, although our Queensland members have certainly had “wet feet.” The majority of our members reside in Brisbane, which has been spared any widespread flooding. The “bright side” to this unprecedented deluge is that the state’s water supplies are now at capacity after years of the worst drought on record, and barring any unforeseen circumstances, ground water and irrigation water should drought-proof the State for the next four to five years.
But those who are watching these events from a biblical perspective are reminded that it is a loving God who is allowing all this to occur, and it is He who controls the weather. It is our job as God’s watchmen to explain the significance of all of this to our people. Perhaps some will take heed. But it is not all over yet—it may be that further flooding could re-occur as the Queensland wet season will not finish until the end of summer, and the Weather Bureau has predicted more cyclonic weather could be on our doorstep.—Dayrell Tanner
European Living Youth Camp and Young Adults Activity
Plans are being made for a European Summer Youth Camp in Chevetogne Domain in Belgium from August 21-28, 2011. Those interested in participating should contact Mr. Rees Ellis, Belgium Area Pastor, as soon as possible to apply and to receive further information. Mr. Ellis can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at +32-71-36-88-25. A Young Adults Activity is also planned for Pentecost weekend at the same site. Those interested in participating should contact Mr. Ellis as well.
Kansas City Weekend
The Kansas City congregation hosted 505 brethren from all parts of the country for our annual family weekend. Young and old alike renewed friendships and formed new ones. The theme centered on the foundation of God’s way of life. Dr. Douglas Winnail encouraged everyone to plan their lives and to set goals with regard to God and His kingdom. Mr. Wallace Smith expounded the Godly principles of the Sabbath. Mr. Gene Hilgenberg informed members with a power-point presentation on the origins of paganism. The activities included dinner, dancing and a fun show (the highlight of the evening!). On Sunday, organized basketball, volley ball, children’s games—and even a “boot camp” for families rounded out the activities. The weekend ended on a positive note with anticipation of another event next year.—Rand Millich
Feast of Tabernacles 2011
Selecting Festival Advisors
Attention Area Pastors: In the next few days, you will be receiving an e-mail message from the Festival Office asking you to update your selection of Festival Advisors for each local congregation you pastor. If you have not received this e-mail from us by mid-week, next week, please contact email@example.com. Please respond to this Festival Advisor online survey form by Monday, January 17.
USA Festival Coordinators
Following is the list of 2011 USA Festival Coordinators and their contact information:
Branson, Missouri: Mr. Wyatt Ciesielka, firstname.lastname@example.org
Chattanooga, Tennessee: Mr. James Sweat, email@example.com
Cobleskill, New York: Mr. Jonathan McNair, firstname.lastname@example.org
Glenwood Springs, Colorado: Mr. Rodger Bardo, email@example.com
New Braunfels, Texas: Mr. Phil Sena, firstname.lastname@example.org
Newport, Oregon: Mr. Harold Way, email@example.com
Panama City, Florida: Mr. Jack Lowe, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sonora, California: Dr.Jeffrey Fall, email@example.com
Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin: Mr. Phil West, firstname.lastname@example.org
Full write-ups on each of these sites will soon be posted on the MyLCG website (www.cogl.org).
International Feast Sites
Below is the list of the 2011 International Feast sites finalized as of this writing (this list is not all-inclusive, as other sites are still being firmed up). We will soon be posting more detailed information about 2011 registration.
Australia—Victor Harbor Barbados—Christ Church
Canada—Eastern Canada Guatemala—Antigua
Indonesia—Batu Jamaica—Montego Bay
Martinique—Sainte-Luce New Zealand—Nelson
Nigeria—Lagos Papua New Guinea
Philippines—Baguio City Philippines—Davao City
Philippines—Don Carlos Philippines—Maranding
Sri Lanka—Bentota South Africa—Stillbai
Trinidad and Tobago—Crown Point United Kingdom—Buxton
There are only 4 days remaining before the start of our next semester. Classes begin on Wednesday, January 12. Students planning to take classes next semester should register as soon as possible and order their text books immediately, so as to be prepared for the first day of class. Friday, January 14 is the last day to register for a class this semester. A complete list of course offerings is available on the Living University Web site. To make application to Living University, to register for courses, and to find out more, please visit the www.livinguniv.com web site. For additional information or questions, please contact Dr. Scott Winnail at email@example.com or 704-708-2292.
“Heads Up” is a fresh new podcast sponsored by the Living Church of God. Come to www.headsupshow.org and check out the latest online source for exciting discussions of today’s news in the light of Bible prophecy. So far, three podcasts have been recorded, and we hope to keep releasing at least one per week. Dr. Meredith’s inaugural interview on December 15 discussed “Government in Turmoil.” Other podcasts have covered “South American Regionalization” and the “King of the South.” Each 10-to-20-minute audio podcast is filled with insights and perspectives that will help you better understand world events and how they fit into the picture of end-time Bible prophecy. Please pray for the success of this new effort, and please be sure to visit www.headsupshow.org. —David Meredith
Do You Love God’s Law? We live at a time when many professing Christians believe that the laws of God are a burden, that they are out of date or that they are simply unnecessary! Such ideas overlook the fact that God gave His laws to the nation of Israel so that it could be a light to the world (Deuteronomy 4:1-10). These negative ideas about the laws of God also overlook the fact that David spoke of his love and delight in God’s law (Psalm 119:16, 97, 127) and that David asked God to “Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law” (Psalm 119:18). Many New Testament Christians also overlook the words of the Apostle Paul, who said that “the law is holy, and the commandment [is] just and good” and “I delight in the law of God” (Romans 7:12, 22). What modern critics of the laws of God fail to realize is that these negative attitudes are part of a prophesied end-time apostasy by Israelite peoples who would “rebel” against the laws of God (Hosea 8:1). God warned end-time Israel, “I have written for him the great things of My law, but they were considered a strange thing” (Hosea 8:12). Many professing Christians will be surprised when Jesus Christ returns and places David and the saints on thrones to teach His laws to the entire world (see Hosea 3:5; Isaiah 2:2-4; 30:20-21). This is the exciting future for those who love the laws of God!
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—January 6, 2011
2010—A Deadly Year. The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency reports that “Earthquakes, heat waves, floods, volcanoes, super typhoons, blizzards, landslides and droughts killed at least a quarter million people in 2010—the deadliest year in more than a generation. More people were killed worldwide by natural disasters this year than have been killed in terrorism attacks in the past 40 years combined.” FEMA head Craig Fugate said, “It just seemed like it was back-to-back and it came in waves” (www.apnews.myway.com, December 19, 2010). This year FEMA handled a record number of disasters. Many of the disasters of 2010 were natural, while others occurred because of poor construction and building homes in flood plains. Experts anticipate the scale of disasters in 2010 may continue in the years ahead. What many today do not realize is that Jesus Christ prophesied that increasing worldwide catastrophes would precede His second coming and are referred to as “the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:3-8). In the years just ahead, we will see more deadly disasters. However, the Bible also indicates that when Christ returns, He will bring peace to the earth and end the suffering caused by such catastrophes (Isaiah 35:1-6; Amos 9:13-15). For more information on what lies ahead, review our free booklet, Fourteen Signs Announcing Christ’s Return.
Catastrophic Flooding in Australia. News sources report that Queensland, Australia, is experiencing the worst flooding in history and a disaster of “biblical proportions.” Queensland is Australia’s “bread basket” and a highly profitable mining district. Flood waters have inundated an area the size of Germany and France. Farms have been flooded, several towns have been evacuated and 75% of the mines are flooded or closed. Queensland supplies half of the world’s coking coal for steel mills. Flooded fields and the inability to move collected wheat stocks by rail have caused wheat prices to soar. Areas that have been devastated by locusts and ten years of drought are now flooded (The Australian, January 5, 2011; Associated Press, December 31, 2005). Costs of this disaster to the Australian economy will run into billions of dollars! The Bible warns that because Israelite nations have “forgotten God” and rejected His ways, God will bring increasingly severe punishments on His chosen people (Hosea 8). End-time prophecies reveal God’s purpose, “‘I also withheld rain from you… I made it rain on one city, I withheld rain from another city… I blasted you with blight and mildew… The locust devoured them; yet you have not returned to me, says the LORD’” (Amos 4:7-9). Jesus Christ also warned that increasing famines, pestilences and other disasters will be a prelude to His second coming. As we watch world events building to a crescendo, we need to remember these events are predicted in the Bible. For more information about prophesied events, read our informative booklet, Who Controls the Weather?
New Moves by Iran. Last month, Iran’s Foreign Minister was dismissed and replaced by the head of its nuclear operations. At the same time, Iranian armed forces concluded a covert “war games” exercise on the Iraqi border. Such demonstrations of force receive broad press coverage and are not kept secret. Analysts suggest these moves are aimed at sending a message to Washington that Iran’s nuclear ambitions will not be deterred. One of the tasks of the new Foreign Minister will be to woo Arab states that are traditional U.S. allies. The previous Foreign Minister was fired while he was in Africa working on trade agreements to supply Iran with uranium (Debka.com, December 13, 2010). Today, the Middle East is a powder keg waiting to explode. While Iran desires to lead the region, its aggressive actions worry and threaten its neighbors. Bible prophecies indicate that events in the Middle East will escalate as the end of age approaches. A “king” or primary leader—the “king of the South”—will appear in this region who will gather Moslem nations together and eventually challenge the “king of the North”—a European power referred to as the “beast” (see Daniel 11). The actions we are witnessing in the Middle East will most certainly play into biblical prophesies for the region. For more information about end-time prophecies, see our booklet The Middle East in Prophecy.—John Meakin, Ben Whitfield, Scott Winnail