Greetings from Charlotte,
We appear to be watching prophetically significant events unfolding across the Middle East as long-suppressed Arab peoples rise up against unpopular and oppressive governments. It is also worth noting that while this wave of popular uprisings is pulling the Arab peoples together, the Israelite nations of America and Australia are struggling with severe weather conditions that God prophesied would plague His chosen people if they turned from His ways. Mr. Meredith addressed some of these issues in a meeting with our office staff today here in Charlotte. He stressed that we all have a part in the most important “crusade” in history as we warn this world of impending calamitous events that will mark the end of this age, and preach the exciting Gospel of the coming government of God. Mr. Wayne Pyle reports that last weekend’s Tomorrow’s World program by Mr. Wallace Smith, entitled “Terror of the Tribulation,” that offered the booklet Armageddon and Beyond, should draw more than 5,200 responses. Mr. Hernandez is currently visiting brethren in South America, and Mr. Rod King is heading for Africa for a number of visits and to do a Tomorrow’s World Special Presentation in Durban, South Africa. Mr. Dexter Wakefield reports that 84 visitors attended the follow-up TWSPs in Tampa and Ft Lauderdale, Florida. This coming weekend I will be in Greenville, South Carolina, for services and to make a Tomorrow’s World Special Presentation. Your prayers for all these efforts are deeply appreciated.
Tomorrow’s World Special Presentations in Florida
January was an exciting month for the brethren in Southern Florida. On the Sabbath of January 22, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Ames were in Tampa for a Tomorrow’s World Special Presentation. The Tampa congregation had 10:00 a.m. services in its usual hall, and Mr. Ames gave an inspiring sermon on “Practicing Godly Thinking.” Then, most members went to downtown Tampa for a TWSP by Mr. Ames titled, “What’s Ahead for America?” There were a total of 194 in attendance of which 48 were Church members and 146 were visitors. All listened very intently, and there were many questions and favorable comments afterwards. A number of people requested information about attending services.
The next day, January 23, there was a second TWSP in Ft. Lauderdale where Mr. Ames gave the same presentation to a very enthusiastic and diverse group of 182. Of that number, 144 were visitors and 38 were members. As in Tampa, there were many favorable comments and a number of requests to attend services. And in both locations, the events were well-organized and went smoothly.
The following week, January 29 and 30, I gave follow-up presentations at the same locations in Tampa and Ft. Lauderdale on the subject of “Where Is God’s True Church Today?” In Tampa, 55 visitors joined 38 members to pack a hall at the Doubletree Hotel for a total of 93. For the follow-up presentation on Sunday in Ft. Lauderdale, 29 guests joined 47 members for a total of 76. Again, a number of guests asked to attend services. There was also a Sabbath-keeping Haitian minister who asked me to speak to his congregation and give a presentation on his local radio program. We did four TWSP’s in nine days. There will be much work to do in following up on the opportunities God has provided!—Dexter Wakefield
Update on Queensland Tropical Cyclone Yasi
Tropical Cyclone Yasi crossed the North Queensland coast as a devastating category 5 storm with maximum winds reaching 290+ kilometers per hour. The storm has been described as the largest and most extensive to hit Australia in living memory. Thankfully, none of our brethren were affected in any major way.
Queensland Premier Anna Bligh flew into the area where the eye of the storm first struck land, and she was completely taken aback by what she saw. The Blackhawk helicopter she travelled in had followed the path which cyclone Yasi had blasted with all its might. Travelling from the almost totally destroyed seaside town of Cardwell, where the center of the cyclone smashed into the coast, she flew into the sugarcane town of Tully.
Standing in the pouring rain at Tully airfield, there was a definite pause as the Queensland Premier tried to put into words what she’d just seen. “When you see the force of what it’s done to hectares and hectares of forest it’s staggering … it looks like a bushfire has come through, there’s not a single leaf left on a single tree.’’ The helicopter flight had brought one consolation. If the cyclone had hit a major town, nobody would be talking about Queensland “dodging a bullet.”
Mrs. Bligh added, “When you see all those trees that have been stripped bare it just chills my bones to think what would have happened if that came through a major center. We can be very, very thankful for the path it took.” But when she arrived at Tully there were not many who would necessarily agree. Yasi left no property untouched. Those to still have their houses standing and have their roofs still intact had windows smashed or fences blown out. Throughout the town power cables snaked across the roads like spaghetti.
If the storm had hit a more densely populated area such as Cairns or Townsville, towards which it was originally tracking, the devastation would have been of unimaginable magnitude. But even so, the damage has been widespread, and now there will be another massive hit to the nation’s economy, right on the heels of the severe flooding that was experienced throughout eastern Australia in December and January. Our loving God is not pleased with our nations and our un-Godly ways, and He is starting to get our people’s attention. Perhaps some will listen to our message of warning and hope.—Dayrell Tanner
Northeast Family Weekend
It may be cold now, but things will warm up quickly when the brethren from throughout the northeast gather together for the annual Northeast Family Weekend in Kingston, New York. Situated in the farmlands at the edge of the Catskill Mountain Range, the Epworth Retreat Center offers a perfect setting to gather together for “extreme fellowship” during God’s Days of Unleavened Bread. Come join us from April 22 through April 25 as we enjoy food, fellowship and Christian fun. For more information and to register, just go to www.nelcg.org (not an official Church website) and click on the “Northeast Family Weekend” link.—Jonathan McNair
12th Annual Rocky Mountain Saratoga Family Weekend!
It’s July 22 to 24, 2011! Don’t forget to plan now to come to Saratoga, Wyoming for the 12th Annual Wyoming Family Weekend. A Friday evening Bible Study at 7:30 p.m. will start the weekend, Sabbath brunch at 10:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. services with a covered-dish meal and steak cookout afterwards. A Saturday evening workshop is planned after the steak cookout. Sunday morning, a workshop will follow breakfast… then “good old” family recreational time is planned for the remainder of Sunday after a delicious lunch at Mr. and Mrs. Alan and Sarah Williams’ home. Plan now to attend. You might want to bring a fishing pole if you want to go fishing. Rooms are reserved at the Riviera Lodge, 104 E. Saratoga Ave., Saratoga, WY (Phone 307-326-5651). Just mention that you are with the Living Church of God under Ben Whitfield’s name.—Ben Whitfield
Feast of Tabernacles 2011
Festival Advisor Forms/Write-ups Online
Festival Advisors! We are now uploading the “Site Registration/Transfer Request Form” (PDF) for you to print and distribute to members who need help to register. We are also uploading two PDF documents for your use titled “International Feast Site Write-ups” and “USA and Canada Feast Site Write-ups.” Please print these and distribute, as needed. Note: check the website for updates of these write-up documents. Thank you for your diligent service! Please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
Reminder: Festival Site Registration begins in three weeks on Sunday, February 27, 12:00 p.m. (noon) Eastern Standard Time!—Festival Office
Living Youth Programs
Last Sunday’s registration kick-off for our Living Youth Camps was a big success! More than 50 young people have signed up to attend our summer camps, and we are only one week into our registration. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to meet new friends and get re-acquainted with old friends from past years. To find out more and to access our registration system, just go to www.livingyouth.org. While you are there, take a look at the study guide for the next online Bible Study, or better yet, take the quiz from last week’s study! Please note: we will not be having an Online Bible Study on February 6. We will pick up, however, on the following Sunday evening, February 13 at 7:30 p.m. We have been averaging more than 40 teens online, but there is still room for more.—Jonathan McNair
Seeking God’s Guidance: In the world today, it is common to want to “do our own thing.” However, the Bible records the numerous and tragic results of this approach (Judges 21:25; Jeremiah 9:12-16).In the Scriptures we are admonished, “Seek the Lord while He may be found” (Isaiah 55:6). We are also told that God will look to those who are humble and teachable and “tremble at My word” (Isaiah 66:2). King David, a man after God’s own heart, modeled the attitude that God is looking for when he wrote, “Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes… Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:33, 105). Jesus Christ emphasized this same theme when He instructed His disciples to “live by… every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Jesus also taught, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6). One of the important lessons of life is that if we desire to succeed in any endeavor, we must learn to seek God’s guidance in the decisions that we make—because that leads to lasting rewards.
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—February 3, 2011
Revolts Feed Arab Identity: Reports from the Middle East note, “There is something happening in the Arab world. A collective voice is being heard again… rarely has there been a moment when the Middle East felt so interconnected, governments so unpopular and Arabs so overwhelmingly agree on their demand for change… The Middle East is being drawn together by economic woes and a shared resentment that people have been denied dignity and respect… For the first time in a generation…a somewhat nostalgic notion of a common Arab identity… is driving protests that have bound the region in a sense of shared destiny” (Charlotte Observer, January 30, 2011). If Islamists, such as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, are able to exploit the uprisings to gain power, nations such as Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia could re-align away from the West. While analysts speculate, Bible prophecies state that“at the time of the end” a “king of the South” (leading an Arab-Muslim confederation—Psalm 83:6-8) will attempt to counter Western (American and European) influence in the region and this will engender hostilities (Daniel 11:40-43). The frustrations sweeping the “leaderless” Arab world may soon be focused by a “strong figure” who will lead the region to its long-prophesied destiny!
Germany-Israel Security Agreement: Anticipatingthatthe Muslim Brotherhood (who would revoke Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel) might gain power in Egypt, the Israeli government recently signed a security agreement with Germany. The agreement will expand cooperation in combating crime, terrorism and violent extremism. Meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu, Chancellor Merkel stated “We know that we are in a very stormy and unstable period, and we would like to advance stability, peace and security.” Germany’s President, Christian Wulff has also warned that Germany has a “responsibility towards the existence of Israel” and to “fight against anti-Semitism” (israelinationalnews.com, February 1, 2011, November 28, 2010). Bible prophecies indicate that Germany (Assyria) will play a pivotal role in a final revival of the Roman Empire in Europe (Daniel 2 and 7) and that, as the “king of the North,” will invade the Middle East in response to a provocation by the “king of the South” (Daniel 11:40-43). These security agreements could pave the way for Germany’s future involvement in this region and foreshadow even more significant agreements (Daniel 9:26-27).
More Extreme Weather! Right on the heels of record rains and widespread flooding that swamped much of Queensland in northeast Australia, Cyclone Yasi—“the worst cyclone in a century” to hit the state of Queensland—tore through the same region causing widespread destruction (telegraph.co.uk, February 3, 2011). In the United States, “a vast winter storm… blasted much of the nation” with several feet of snow, ice, high winds and freezing temperatures from Texas to Maine. The severe weather knocked out electric power, closed airports and stranded motorists. Chicago reported the largest snowstorm on record. While meteorologists attribute extreme weather to reoccurring natural phenomena, Bible prophecies reveal that God will use natural disasters to punish nations that turn away from His ways (Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28). It is no coincidence that America and Australia are experiencing severe weather as they promote homosexuality and other behaviors that God calls “abominations” (Leviticus 18:22-23).—Dayrell Tanner, Deborah-Lincoln Strange, Scott Winnail