Greetings from Charlotte,
Most of you have heard of the riots taking place in Charlotte this week. As far as we know, there are no members directly harmed by them, though a few have been instructed to stay home by the companies they work for. The Church Headquarters is far from the troubled area. This situation reminds us of the challenge we have as true followers of Christ to not get caught up in the emotions of worldly human affairs, especially as we know much worse is coming! Satan is the author of racial tensions and we must not allow him to stir hatred in our hearts, no matter which race we are. Elsewhere, South African university students are disrupting classes, protesting higher tuition fees and demanding free education for all. In the meantime, Dr. Meredith is scheduled to give the sermon this Sabbath in Charlotte. Mr. Wallace Smith and Mr. Rod McNair recorded Tomorrow’s World television programs. Regional Director Stuart Wachowicz was in the Canadian office this week before flying home to Alberta on Thursday and then driving six hours to Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, on Friday for the final Tomorrow’s World Presentation in Canada this year. Dr. Winnail is in Cincinnati to conduct a leadership conference and I’m keeping busy with meetings and writing. Sheldon Monson and Jason Fritts are scheduled to drop by to touch base with Dr. Meredith and others regarding the Living Youth Program.—GEW
Visit to Southeast Asia
Newly appointed Australasian Regional Director Robert Tyler arrived in Malaysia on Friday, August 19, for a four-day visit. Brethren from Bahau, Johor Bahru and Singapore were able to join the Kuala Lumpur brethren for Sabbath services the next day. After services, all 63 brethren joyfully welcomed Mr. Tyler with a “Malaysian Tea Party” and he took the opportunity to become acquainted with the brethren during refreshments. The remaining days of his visit, he and Mr. Rajendra Moses spent time with two LU students and visited some of the brethren, as well as discussing issues in the area, especially how to grow the Work in Malaysia, Thailand and Burma. The visit was very uplifting and encouraging for the brethren in Malaysia and everyone is looking forward to his next visit. From Malaysia, Mr. Tyler, accompanied by Mr. Moses, traveled to Indonesia. They met with the brethren, discussed many of the challenges facing God’s people in this corner of the world, and inspected the Feast sites—both last year’s and this year’s. On the Sabbath, Mr. Moses gave the sermonette and Mr. Tyler gave the sermon. Children in the congregation performed special music. This was followed by a special lunch and fellowship with the brethren. The Indonesian brethren have been studying an English lesson program and were excited about the opportunity to hold simple conversations in English with Mr. Tyler and Mr. Moses. The visit to Indonesia was very successful and uplifting and helpful for the brethren to learn more of God’s Truth and way of life from their leaders. They hope to see Mr. Moses and Mr. Tyler again soon!—Htoowah Laybeh and Arius Nusantara
Visit to Afagnan, Togo
Afagnan is a small agrarian town in the southeastern part of Togo, about 92 km. from Lome, the country’s capital. The Living Church of God has a small congregation in this serene and ancient town. On Friday, September 16, I left Lagos, Nigeria for a two-day visit to the brethren there, accompanied by three members of the congregation in Cotonou who assisted in translation, song leading and organization of services. During the Sabbath service on September 17, I gave a sermonette on “How To Save for God’s Holy Days.” After asking God’s blessing on the seven-month-old son of members there, I gave the sermon on “Live for the Kingdom of God.” There were 13 adults and 15 children present. After services, brethren cheerily shared light refreshments. During the two evenings I was in Togo, I guided the local leaders on effective Bible study, Christian leadership, preparation for the Feast of Tabernacles, handling of tithes and offerings, and keeping financial records to ensure accountability and transparency. We returned to Lagos, Nigeria on Sunday, September 18. The brethren were manifestly delighted for the visit, and are particularly appreciative of the care and support they receive from Belgium, France and Church Headquarters in Charlotte. Thanks to the Eternal God for this trip. Everything went well.—Oladele Akin-Ogundeji
2016 Charlotte Family Weekend
Mark your calendars and start making plans now to attend the 2016 Charlotte Family Weekend! We will run the same basic schedule this year that we did last year, with arrivals on Thursday, December 22. The host hotel will once again be the Renaissance Charlotte Suites. Activities will begin on Thursday evening with a casual themed dance at the hotel. Friday morning there will be a number of targeted seminars followed by an afternoon activity. Friday night and Saturday morning there will be special Bible Studies for everyone. We plan to again livestream the Saturday afternoon Church service over the Internet. Saturday night there will be a formal dinner/dance for all ages. Sunday we will have the increasingly popular Sports Day with basketball and volleyball tournaments, free play, kids’ games and lots of free food! Sunday night we will wrap things up at the hotel with a Games Night. Last year we had over 800 people join us for the events and we hope that this year even more of you will attend. So grab your dance shoes and your tennis shoes and come join us for an exciting weekend of physical and spiritual rejuvenation!—Jim Meredith
New Tomorrow’s World Spanish Web Site Launched!
We are very pleased to announce the release of an entirely re-designed Spanish-language Tomorrow’s World Web site—http://www.elmundodemanana.org/. This new Web site is based on the same technology and contains all of the same powerful functionality as our English-language Tomorrow’s World Web site. We really appreciate all of the work that has gone into translating materials for our various-language Web sites, and pray that God will use all of them and our social media pages, as well as our telecast, magazine, TWPs and other efforts, to His glory as we work to fulfill the “Great Commission” that He has given to His Church!—Wyatt Ciesielka
Feast of Tabernacles
Just Three Weeks Away!—Repeat Announcement
The Feast of Tabernacles is just over three weeks away! As we draw near to the Feast, be watching for important e-mail communications from your Festival Site Coordinator. He will most likely e-mail any information, and he may have already done so.
Appropriate Dress at the Feast
Basic Principles of Dress and Decorum: As we prepare to be “lights to the world” at the Feast, it’s good to review some basic principles about our outward decorum and dress. When we look to the Scriptures we find definite instructions about dress for both men and women—instructions that our modern liberal societies and also some members of God’s Church seem to forget or ignore— unless they are reminded periodically. Jesus stated in a parable that some invited to the wedding supper will be turned away because they are not dressed appropriately (Matthew 22:8-14). Individuals who feel that God only looks on the heart and therefore is not concerned about how we dress when we come before Him, are simply missing the point of Scripture. We have taught for decades that when we come to services, we are coming before the God of the universe and we should dress in the best we have, to show proper respect to God.
In most modern cultures, coats, collared shirts, ties and nice slacks are considered appropriate attire for men on special occasions. Jeans, T-shirts, tennis shoes or other sportswear, and open-collared shirts revealing a hairy chest are simply not in good taste at special occasions or at Church services—in spite of what Hollywood celebrities might wear to Oscar and Emmy awards extravaganzas. This may vary in tropical climates, yet, in all climates there is a distinction between what is appropriate and what is not. 1 Timothy 2:9-10 explains that ladies should dress “in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation.” This does not condone the trendy and immodest apparel that is commonplace for many women in our society today: short, tight, form-fitting dresses, necklines displaying cleavage, bare shoulders, backless dresses, belly-baring tops, etc. These are simply not appropriate forms of attire for Church services and many other situations! We come to services to worship God, not to display our bodies. Just because something is comfortable or acceptable in our modern society does not make it appropriate at Church. When women dress in a manner that attracts attention to their bodies, they become a distraction to others from the real reasons for being at services.
Our challenge as Christian men and women is to come out of this world (2 Corinthians 6:17) and recapture true values (Matthew 17:11) so we can be lights to a world that has lost its way (Matthew 5:14-16). This is especially true as we gather to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles—picturing Christ’s glorious reign on earth! (Source: “Example and Bringing Honor to God” by Dr. Douglas Winnail, Ministerial Bulletin, July-August, 2012)
Beach Parties and Appropriate Swimwear at the Feast
Appropriate beach attire for men and women is swimwear that is modest and in good taste. We are to be guided by the two great commandments—to love God and love neighbor (Matthew 22:37-39; Mark 12:29-31)—so as not to offend God or neighbor by our dress at the Feast. Fathers and husbands have a responsibility to be leaders in their family to teach and guide regarding what is appropriate and what is not (Ezekiel 22:26).
Children’s Conduct in the Meeting Hall and Adjoining Rooms at the Feast
Children are a joy to parents and fellow Feast-goers. The Feast is about families—and it’s inspiring seeing children attend the Feast with their families! But parents, please remember that children are not permitted to run or engage in horseplay before or after services. Children darting in and out among fellowshipping brethren can be a trip hazard. For the elderly, this can be dangerous, even life-threatening. Ushers or deacons don’t need to “grab” children who are misbehaving—unless required to avoid injury—but they should tell them to stop if need be.
Child Safety at the Feast
Parents: your responsibility for your children does not cease when you come to services at the Feast of Tabernacles. While precautions are taken, and there are activities for children, the Church meeting or event is not a childcare facility. The Church does not take responsibility for the care of children at Church meetings or events. Their absolute safety cannot be guaranteed. The ultimate responsibility for the care of children always remains with parents or guardians. Please ensure that the conduct of your children and young people is adequately supervised throughout their attendance, and that your children are fully under your control. Children/teenagers under the age of 18 years should not be wandering unsupervised.
Children—Sitting with Their Parents at the Feast
God instructs, “You shall rejoice in your Feast, you and your son and your daughter.” Clearly God wants families to rejoice together at His Feasts. Experience has shown that children and teenagers pay attention and therefore learn more from the messages when sitting with a parent than when sitting with a group by themselves. Therefore, it is the policy of the Church to have children and teens sit with their parents during services. An exception may be where an individual child or teen may sit with a friend who is sitting with his or her parents. Obviously, a teen attending whose parents are not in attendance would be exempt. The Feast is a time for families to grow together. Let us use the precious time we have during services to further that goal.
Speakers: Send in Titles for Messages
Most Feast speaking schedules have now been sent out. Speakers: Those who are on the speaking schedule should send the titles of their messages to their Festival Site Coordinator by Monday, September 26. Thank you to those who have already done so! Plan now to put in the time, prayer and preparation to bring messages that are inspiring, stimulating and that focus on the wonderful message of Christ’s reign on this earth!
Sabbath Times/Contact Information for the Day of Atonement and the Sabbath of October 15
A chart listing the places, contact information, and times for Living Church of God services on the Day of Atonement and on the Sabbath of October 15 is now posted on the MyLCG Web site. Log in to your MyLCG account at the following address to access the chart: www.cogl.org. We hope this information will be helpful for you as you plan your travel, especially so you can minimize travel on God’s Sabbath. Pastors, thank you for sending in these details. If any of you have information yet to send us, or changes to be made, please do so and we will update the chart.
Cypress Hills, Saskatchewan
Observatory Night: The Observatory Night that was planned has been cancelled by the facility due to circumstances beyond its control. Therefore, we will have a game night instead that evening. Please bring board games and cards, and we will also have a Bible game. Thank you.
Talent Night: If you would like to present something during the talent show this year, please send the details of your number to Mr. Dale Trenerry at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 403-247-4890. Thank you.
Living Youth Program
2017 Youth Camp Directors in the United States
Camp Directors for summer camp programs in the United States for 2017 are:
Texas Teen Camp – Sheldon Monson
U.S. Adventure Camp – Sheldon Monson
Missouri Preteen Camp – Gene Hilgenberg
North Carolina Preteen Camp – Mark Sandor
Texas Preteen Camp – Jason Fritts
We would like to thank Mr. Bob Rodzaj for his willingness to serve as the Texas Preteen Camp Director for the past two summers. His service has been appreciated.—Sheldon Monson
New LYP Camp Dates in Texas!
Here are the camp dates for our Teen Camps and Preteen Camps in Texas for the next 10 years:
2017: Teen – July 9 – July 23; Preteen – July 24 – July 30
2018: Teen – July 8 – July 22; Preteen – July 23 – July 29
2019: Teen – July 7 – July 21; Preteen – July 22 – July 28
2020: Teen – July 12 – July 26; Preteen – July 27 – August 2
2021: Teen – July 11 – July 25; Preteen – July 26 – August 1
2022: Teen – July 10 – July 24; Preteen – July 25 – July 31
2023: Teen – July 9 – July 23; Preteen – July 24 – July 30
2024: Teen – July 7 – July 21; Preteen – July 22 – July 28
2025: Teen – July 6 – July 20; Preteen – July 21 – July 27
2026: Teen – July 12 – July 26; Preteen – July 27 – August 2
For future reference, go to LivingYouth.org for camp information and updates.—Jason Fritts and Sheldon Monson
Holy Day Offering Envelopes (U.S. Only)—Repeat Announcement
Green Holy Day offering envelopes for the fall Feasts were mailed in the U.S. the week of August 15. If you have not received them by now, please contact email@example.com or call the office at 704-844-1970 and we will send you a new set. Please include your PIN (the 11-digit number above your name on mailings from Headquarters) on any correspondence. Using the pre-labeled HDO envelopes for your offerings greatly speeds up their processing, which saves the Work money. We also recommend that you place your envelopes with the things you take to services so you do not forget to bring them with you on the Holy Days.—Jerry Ruddlesden
Hall Rentals (U.S.)—Repeat Announcement: November Hall vouchers should be sent along with the October vouchers during September (if possible) to ensure payment by October 11.
Reimbursements (U.S.)—Repeat Announcement: Please note that our last scheduled day to print checks will be Tuesday, October 11. We will not be able to print any checks again until Thursday, October 27. Any invoices we receive before October 5 will be paid before the break. Any invoices we receive after October 5 may not be able to be paid until October 27. If you have any questions about specific invoices or payments, please contact Meagan Rand in the Accounts Payable Department at 704-708-2237 or Lanna Moluf at 704-708-2234. You can also e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.—Jerry Ruddlesden
Stay Focused on Our Mission: The lessons of history show that mankind and God’s chosen people have drifted off course again and again due to Satan’s deceptive influence. Adam and Eve made wrong choices that sent the course of human history in a wrong direction (Genesis 3). Ancient Israel turned from God and suffered consequences—and modern Israelite nations are heading down this same path. Jesus Christ called disciples and raised up His Church to preach the Gospel (Mark 1:14-15; 16:15), to warn the world of the consequences of sin and to announce events that would indicate His return was near (Matthew 24). The mission of God’s Church also involves preparing a people to rule with Jesus Christ as kings, priests and teachers in the coming Kingdom of God (Luke 1:17; John 21:15-17). To qualify for this challenging, exciting reward, we must avoid being distracted by the trials and temptations of this world (Matthew 13:18-23), and we must remain faithful and focused on our calling and our God-given mission (Matthew 24:13; Revelation 3:8-12; 17:14).
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—September 22, 2016
China Rebuilds the Silk Road: “For centuries, Chinese products have wended their way thousands of kilometers across mountains and deserts to the heart of central Asia, Afghanistan. Now, for the first time, the trade is carried by rail. With the first train last week pulling in to Hairatan, northern Afghanistan, China marked another advance in President Xi Jinping’s Silk Road project to deepen his nation’s influence along old trade routes. For Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, the new link also marks a small step toward a dream of turning his landlocked country into a transit hub of Asia” (Bloomberg, September 11, 2016). Chinese President Xi Jinping has been planning a massive connection between Europe and Asia by what is called a modern silk road—and is spending close to one trillion dollars to make this trade network a reality (PBS NewsHour, March 2, 2016). “China emphasizes the Silk Road’s role in boosting industrialization in the developing nations sandwiched between East and West. Economists say the initiative has the potential to stimulate Asian and global economic growth” (Bloomberg, September 8, 2016). Bible prophecy reveals that an end-time Asian superpower will launch a huge army towards the west to confront a European Beast power in the Middle East (Daniel 11:44; Revelation 9:13-18). China will likely play a key role in the activities of this coming Asian superpower. For more information, read our article, “Is This China’s Century?”
Iran Harasses U.S. Military: The U.S. forces in the Middle East are being increasingly provoked by Iran. “There have been 31 unsafe America[n] encounters with Iranian vessels in the Persian Gulf so far this year, up from 23 in all of 2015” (CNN, September 6, 2016). Due to weakened U.S. foreign policy, Iran has been emboldened to test U.S. might in the region. “Two American surveillance aircraft flying in what U.S. officials said was international airspace near Iran were threatened by Iranian air defense stations over the weekend, and were told by the Iranians to alter their course or face fire… State Department officials decried the incident, saying it showed Iran had yet to show signs of shifting from its aggressive stance in the region even after the international nuclear agreement reached last year” (Wall Street Journal, September 13, 2016). Bible prophecies have long warned the descendants of ancient Israel (U.S., Britain, France, Western Europe, Israel, etc.) that if they despise His commandments and turn from Him, their nations will be “defeated by [their] enemies” and have “the pride of [their] power” broken—including their military might (Leviticus 26:15-19; Deuteronomy 28:25). Historically, when a king of Israel or Judah turned from God, foreign adversaries would increase (1 Kings 11:9, 14, 23). Today, as U.S. leaders arrogantly break and despise the laws of God, it is not surprising that Iran and other nations are directly challenging America’s global influence. For more, read our article “The Demise of the West.”
Babies Without Mothers? “Motherless babies could be on the horizon after scientists discovered a method of creating offspring without the need for a female egg” (Telegraph, September 13, 2016). Scientists from the University of Bath have created mice using this new technique. They are now planning to test this process with animal skin cells. One thought is that the “technique raises the possibility that gay men, for instance, could have a child whose DNA was half of each of the couple” (ibid.). In theory, a man or woman could also fertilize their own cells, providing all the genes necessary to sire a child with genes from a single parent. Current technology would still require a woman to carry the child in her womb—at least for now (ibid.). The Bible reveals that God has previously intervened in history when human activities have gone in destructive ways. At the tower of Babel we are told, “they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do; and nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them”—so God confounded their language to stop this defiant act (Genesis 11:6-9, RSV). As mankind pushes into scientifically and morally uncharted territory, it will be interesting to see how far God will let this current attempt go before He intervenes again. For more on the future of science, read or listen to “Has Science Made God Obsolete?”—Scott Winnail, Justin Ridgeway, Chris Sookdeo and Daniel Bennett