More than 450 rescue operations have been conducted in Texas as a result of flooding in May, the wettest month in the state’s history. In some parts of the state, the flooding is being described as “unprecedented.” There has also been record flooding in France and Germany this week, with six dead and the Louvre museum closing. Meanwhile, British voters are preparing for the Brexit referendum later this month—with some accusing the EU of conning the public by delaying a meeting about a planned pan-European defense force until the day after the referendum.
While we see tragedy and confusion in the world on a daily basis, it has also been a sobering and trying week for those of us in God’s Church. We learned last Friday that Mr. Gideon Benitez and Mr. Karl Beyersdorfer, both faithful and dedicated pastors in the Living Church of God, had died (see announcement below). Dr. Meredith spoke in Charlotte on the Sabbath, reminding everyone that Satan is on the attack and we must not succumb to his attempts to discourage and confuse us. Dr. Meredith has addressed this subject in a letter to the entire membership. Mr. Ames also spoke on the Sabbath, encouraging us to have characteristics that build closeness with God and each other. Mr. Ames and Mr. Wallace Smith also recorded telecasts this week. Dr. Douglas Winnail conducted a leadership conference in Phoenix last weekend, and is now in Australia. Dr. Winnail writes that Mr. Tyler’s funeral, which took place today, was very moving. “The ministry and brethren are all very supportive of the Tyler family. He was much loved and deeply respected through the Australasian region.” Dr. Winnail will be visiting the Clarendon office Friday and be in Adelaide for the Sabbath. The BRiC (Building Relationships in Christ) weekend here in Charlotte was a success, with 75 participants from all over the USA and Canada. TWPs will be conducted this weekend in Birmingham, UK; Mississauga, Ontario and Red Deer, Alberta, Canada; and Albany, New York, and St. Louis, Missouri. Please continue to pray for God’s Work. And let’s all draw closer to God and pray for one another—especially for those who have recently lost loved ones.—RMc
In Memorium: Mr. Gideon Benitez, Mr. Karl Beyersdorfer
Last Friday we learned that Mr. Gideon Benitez died of a heart attack. Mr. Benitez had been suffering from health problems for some time, and had faithfully served brethren in western Mindanao, in the Philippines, for many years. Mr. Benitez’s family had roots in the Church of God Seventh Day in the Philippines. His father, Mr. Tex Benitez, was one of the pioneer members in the early days of the Church of God in the Philippines, and served many decades as a pastor as well.
Also Friday evening, we learned that Mr. Karl Beyersdorfer, a long-time, faithful pastor of God’s Church, had taken his life earlier that day. Mr. Beyersdorfer was a dedicated minister for decades, going back to his ordination in 1967, and pastored in the Joplin area for many years. Mr. Beyersdorfer was under professional care for various health issues at the time that he died. He had also been semi-retired for the last few years, the Church reducing his workload substantially to help him. Both Mr. Benitez and Mr. Beyersdorfer were dearly loved, and they will be sorely missed.—Church Administration Department
Note of Appreciation from the Dalle Family
My children, Esther and Nathan-Dibar, and I appreciate the expressions of support received since the death of my wife and their mother in the crash of EgyptAir flight MS804. She was the heart of our family, a wife and a mother who was a support for us all. Always positive, my wife was an example of love and of a virtuous woman. Words cannot express the sorrow that we feel. We await with confidence and assurance the resurrection at the return of Jesus Christ. One day we will all be reunited again.—Jean-Jacques Dalle
Northeast Region Activity Updates
Adirondack Canoe Trip: We’ve had an overwhelming response for our Northeast Adirondack Family Canoe Trip. Over the past few weeks, we’ve been able to squeeze in more people for the activity, but we are now at capacity for this year. For those who have registered, the deadline to make your payment is Monday, June 6. If you have not done so already, please go to our information page,http://www.nelcg.org/ (not an official LCG Web site), click on the “Adirondack Canoe Trip” link, then follow the menu options to make your payment.
Men’s Training Camp: Preparation for the Men’s Training Camp is also in full gear, with a strong response so far. The June 15 deadline for registration for this activity is fast approaching. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to gather with other men to focus on the challenges and keys to success in thriving as a Godly man in a God-less world. The theme of our weekend will be “A Man… Like Jesus Christ.” For more information, go to http://www.nelcg.org/ (not an official LCG Web site) and click on “Men’s Training Camp.”
Here in Charlotte, on Memorial Day Weekend, we had a total of 75 singles that came to Build Relationships in Christ at the “BRiC Weekend”! More than 40 of them were visiting from 18 different states and Canada! We experienced a number of spiritually uplifting messages about “developing a culture of servant leadership” in God’s Church and our lives, which included Friday Night Bible Studies and “BRiC Talks” Sabbath afternoon. On Saturday evening we had a Dinner and Dance, then on Sunday, games and challenging team-building activities. Many expressed that they left the weekend feeling spiritually charged. Thank you to all those who made the BRiC weekend a success!—Mike DeSimone
Eighteenth Annual Saratoga Family Weekend—August 5-7—Repeat Announcement
The 18th Annual Rocky Mountain Saratoga Family Weekend, an annual get-together for spiritual food and fellowship, fun and just plain relaxing down by the river, is scheduled for August 5-7! It will again be at the Riviera Lodge, 104 E. Saratoga Ave., Saratoga, WY 82331. Plan on coming to Saratoga to be with family and friends and special visitors… we’re looking forward to seeing you. Our Special Guest Speaker this year will be our very own Dr. Jeff Fall, the Regional Pastor for all of the western states. You won’t want to miss hearing from Dr. Fall. We’re all looking forward to his presentations.
- An early dinner at 5:30 p.m. on Friday will be served for the “early birds.”
- A Friday evening Bible Study at 7:30 p.m. will start the weekend.
- Sabbath brunch at 10:00 a.m.
- Sabbath services at 2:30 p.m. with a covered-dish meal and steak cookout afterwards.
- Saturday evening Bible Bowl.
- A Sunday morning workshop will follow breakfast… then family recreational time on your own for the remainder ofSunday.
- Lunch at Alan and Sarah Williams’ home will wrap up the morning and the weekend.
Make reservations at the Riviera Lodge in Saratoga by calling 866-326-5651 or 307-326-5651. Just mention that you are with the Living Church of God. Book your room now before the summer reservations come in. For more hearty souls, there is camping for a nominal fee at the Saratoga Lake just a short distance from the Riviera Lodge… the fishing should be great!—Ben Whitfield
Tomorrow’s World Facebook Page Passes 200,000 Fans
We post telecasts, Webcasts, Tomorrow’s World articles and many news items to our Facebook pages every month, and we are very encouraged by the steady growth in followers and in people sharing this content with their friends and family. The Tomorrow’sWorld English-language Facebook page recently passed 200,000 fans, which is quite a bit of growth in the past few years, and is helping us reach and stay connected with many new people every week. Thank you for praying for the growth of our Internet and social media efforts. And thank you for “liking” and “sharing”Tomorrow’s World content! Click on the “social sites” link in the footer of the Tomorrow’s World Web site for more information.—Wyatt Ciesielka
Feast of Tabernacles
More Than 6,600 Brethren Registered
You may be interested to know some general statistics for Feast registration for 2016. As of today, with more than 6,600 brethren successfully registered, 3,268 brethren are set to attend their assigned Feast site. How many are transferring? Slightly more—3,421 brethren and guests are registered and approved to transfer to a site different than their assigned site.
Some Sites Still Have Capacity
If you have not yet registered and are still deciding on which site you will attend within the U.S., you may wish to consider the historic and idyllic city of Traverse City, Michigan, on the clear, blue waters of Lake Michigan. As the Festival Web site states, “this hidden gem is adjacent to breathtaking natural surroundings.” Or you may wish to consider lovely Osage Beach, Missouri, “a popular American vacation spot” in the heart of the Ozarks. Both sites have lots of capacity left. Currently, we are under our room-block obligations, so if either of these sites fits your taste and needs, you could help the Church out as well by choosing these sites. For more information, check out the site descriptions on the Festival Web site, at fot2016.lcg.org or lcg.org.
Sites with Limited Seating Capacity
As mentioned in last week’s The World Ahead, we currently have limited seating capacity at four sites:
- Montego Bay, Jamaica
- Lake Conroe, Texas
- St. George, Utah
- Carry-le-Rouet, France
If you have applied for a transfer to any of these sites but have not yet received a transfer approval e-mail, you may wish to re-register at another site.
Register for the Feast by going to the Living Church of God Web site, lcg.org, and clicking on “Feast of Tabernacles.” If you do not have Internet access, please contact your Festival Advisor. If you do not know who your Festival Advisor is, please check with your local pastor. If you have any technical problems registering, please firstname.lastname@example.org.
Living Youth Program
Missouri Preteen Camp Openings
We still have openings for both boy and girl campers, and male staff volunteers at the Missouri Preteen Camp. Applications can be submitted at https://camp.livingyouth.org/ until June 10. The Missouri Preteen Camp takes place from July 3 through 8.
We are looking for individuals who have good German language skills and who have time to devote to helping out in the Work of God in German. There is no need to travel. If you think you qualify, please contact me at email@example.com. Please provide a short description of your background with the German language, the location of where you currently attend services, and what you may be able to offer in terms of service.—Gerald Weston
The Importance of Focus
I worked on a landscaping crew during my college days, and had a supervisor who corrected us for attempting to do multiple things at once (like memorizing lists for an upcoming test while we were supposed to be trimming hedges!). He didn’t like it if our attention was not focused on the job at hand. He would tell us, “Focus on what you’re doing, while you’re doing it!”
I have thought a lot about his advice over the years. Sometimes distractions are unavoidable. Mothers of small children must multi-task to keep children fed and noses wiped! But many of us have self-inflicted distractions that drain our ability to focus on any one task. For example, a recent survey shows that many adults and teens are addicted to responding to texts and notifications immediately (Washingtonpost.com, “Multitasking is actually kind of a problem—for kids and adults”). If we do this, it means we are in a constant state of distraction.
To survive spiritually in these last days, we need to focus. We need to think! We must regularly drink in of God’s word, ponder our calling, and reflect on our lives. We need to be at services each week to listen to God’s word explained. During services, we need to not be distracted by e-mails, texts or social media. We are there to elevate our thoughts and focus on the glorious future for all mankind!
Solomon explained the importance of focusing on doing the right thing at the right time. He said in Proverbs 4, “Let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids look right before you. Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established” (vv. 25-26). Let us make sure we’re not falling into the trap of self-destructive multitasking. Time is too short not to be focused!
Have a wonderful Sabbath,
News and Prophecy—June 2, 2016
Nordic Nations Lean to the West: “Sweden and Finland have taken part in their first-ever Nato foreign ministers’ meeting… Their participation was hailed as a sign that the two non-aligned countries are moving closer to Nato and US security structures…” (EU Observer, May 20, 2016). On May 13 at a White House summit meeting, “Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden” reaffirmed their commitment to a “deep partnership based on shared fundamental values” with the U.S. (The White House, May 13, 2016). They also agreed to “strengthening investments in defense and military capabilities, as well as in diplomacy and regional cooperation…” (ibid.). A deepening Nordic/U.S. relationship may appear unique, but biblically it can be expected! Scripture and secular history show many Western European nations (including Norway and Sweden) are Israelite descendants and literally “brothers” of the U.S. and Britain. Prophecy shows these nations will likely go into national captivity together because of their rejection of God— “I [will] punish Israel for their transgressions” (Amos 3:14). And, “The city that goes out by a thousand shall have a hundred left, and that which goes out by a hundred shall have ten left to the house of Israel” (Amos 5:3). As prophecy marches on, expect more Israelite-descended nations to coalesce. For more on this fascinating course of events, read or listen to our free bookletThe United States and Great Britain in Prophecy.
No Belief in Anyone! “‘Yo no creo en nadie’ (I believe in no one). The phrase has become part of the Venezuelan lexicon… The expression was usually uttered in an offhand way by Venezuelans as a joke, a motto of our characteristically joyous disregard for authority” (New York Times, May 21, 2016). In Venezuela, vigilante justice is becoming more commonplace (ibid.). “Five years ago,” in the height of the Chavez regime, “none of us would have believed that hunger would become a part of daily life for most Venezuelans… ‘Yo no creo en nadie’ has stopped being funny. It’s become the credo of a people who no longer believe in the state as a guarantor of justice and security. It exposes the betrayal felt by Venezuelans who trusted in a government that won elections by handing out food, to the detriment of our democracy, our economy and the rule of law” (ibid.). Venezuela’s is one of many sad national stories playing out on the world scene. This story proves the ways of man lead to futility and hopelessness, and not to peace (Jeremiah10:23). God gave mankind time to prove that human attempts at lasting peace will fail (Isaiah 59:8), and that Christ must return for true peace to come (2 Thessalonians 3:16). For more on this important topic, read “The Way to Peace: The Missing Dimension.”
The Power of Marriage: “Teenagers whose parents are married have higher self-esteem on average than their counterparts from other types of family, a think-tank study concludes. Research by the Marriage Foundation… claims that even those whose parents are in stable cohabiting relationships are less secure than those from married households. The group said it provided some of the first evidence that children’s life chances are influenced by whether or not their mother and father have tied the knot” (The Telegraph, May 29, 2016). British research findings are a reminder of the importance of marriage in a world where the need for both mother and father is frequently dismissed by those who want to destroy the God-designed unit of the family. God designed the family to bring about “godly offspring” (Malachi 2:15) and this research is a powerful reminder of the best family structure to benefit children. For more insights into the need for a godly family structure, read our article “Fatherless Families?” In God’s soon-coming Kingdom, this structure will be reinstated and generations of children will benefit!—Scott Winnail, Justin Ridgeway, Francine Prater and Chris Sookdeo