Greetings from Charlotte,
We are getting back into our regular routines as our “travelers” return to the office from different parts of the country and the world. Reports from Feast sites are coming in very positive—strong sermons and warm fellowship among brethren who are very focused on doing God’s Work. One thing that was noticeable this year was the number of capable younger ministers with excellent serving attitudes who are filling major roles at the Feast. While we lost the Feast site in Hilton Head, South Carolina, due to a hurricane, another dangerous storm that was heading for our Feast site in Seaside, Oregon, broke up unexpectedly—baffling weather forecasters—for which we are very grateful. Dr. Meredith has conducted meetings this week and plans to give the sermon in Charlotte this week. Mr. Weston presented an assembly this morning to the on-campus LU students. The United States is currently in the midst of a critical election that will culminate next Tuesday. We had two more police shootings this week, in Iowa, and demonstrations are also plaguing South Africa. This world seems headed for difficult times in the not-too-distant future. We certainly need to pray that God will guide events to allow His work to be done.—DSW
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
Kansas City Family Weekend, Friday, December 30, through Sunday, January 1
The Kansas City Family Weekend is eight weeks away: Friday, December 30, through Sunday, January 1. Get a jump on preparations by registering and making housing plans. To register, simply visit our local Kansas City Web site at kclcg.org (not an official LCG Web site), then click on the link for the KC Family Weekend. From there, click anything that remotely resembles the word “Register” and follow the instructions.
All events on Friday and Saturday will be at the KCI Airport Embassy Suites. All suites have a microwave and mini-fridge, separate bedroom and living room area, and can accommodate four to six people. All registered guests receive a full breakfast buffet and bonus free participation in a manager’s reception of appetizers and drinks in the early evenings. Enjoy fellowshipping in the spacious foyer that features a waterfall, fountains, and foliage. All this can be had for just $109 for two adults and up to four children. Rates will increase by $10 for each additional adult (18 and up). Please visit the Web site or our Facebook page for more details on how to contact the hotel and get the special rate. Limited housing with brethren is also available, so please register early.
The weekend will once again include Bible Studies Friday night and Saturday morning, afternoon Sabbath services, catered dinner, evening entertainment and dance. The brisket dinner costs $20 for adults, and a $10 children’s meal of chicken fingers is also available. We’ll cover the rest if you have more than four children (12 and under) in your family.
On Sunday, we’ll kick off the day with our Family Games Challenge, then continue with sports and leisure activities for all ages, including basketball and volleyball tournaments, Gaga Ball, backyard games, and children’s games. We also have a volleyball workshop and children’s basketball skills workshop (dads are encouraged to attend).
Please visit our Facebook page at facebook.com/lcgkcweekend (not an official LCG Facebook page) or our Web site at kclcg.org (not an official LCG Web site). Parts of the site are password-protected in places and the secret password is “security” (all lowercase). We look forward to seeing you soon!—Michael Keesee
Feast of Tabernacles Photos
Thank you to all those who shared their Feast of Tabernacles pictures by using the #LCGFOT2016 hashtag. It was very inspiring to see these many uplifting photos from Feast sites all around the world. If you would like to see these photos taken by various LCG Feast-goers, just search for the #LCGFOT2016 hashtag, or click the banner at the top of the LCG.org Web site!—Wyatt Ciesielka
Feast of Tabernacles
To All Volunteers at the Feast
As reports from the Feast come in, we are hearing many accounts of selfless service by brethren who served in the Business Office, Audio/Video, Parking, Choir, Ushering—you name it! As someone once said, “many hands make light work”! Each year this is dramatically illustrated at our Feast sites worldwide. Thank you to everyone who willingly gave of their time, energy, funds and enthusiastic effort to make the Feast a delight to other brethren.
And thank you especially to all of our Festival Site Coordinators who served in 50 sites around the world this year. A coordinator’s work is virtually year-round (work is already beginning for 2017). The Festival Office greatly appreciates the efforts of our men—and the sacrifices their families make in the effort—as they give of themselves as Festival Site Coordinators. God certainly blessed this year’s Feast of Tabernacles with outstanding examples of leadership and service. Thank you to all who made it possible!
Housing Not Refunded in Hilton Head?
We would like to know how many brethren have not been able to obtain a refund from their housing in Hilton Head. If you had arranged to go to Hilton Head Island for the Feast, had booked private housing, and were not refunded your housing deposit when the Feast site was moved, we would like to hear from you. If the private owner did not refund your money but offered to let you use the payment toward a future booking (i.e., next year), let us know that—that would be valuable information for us as well. Please send a note briefly describing your situation to email@example.com.
Fill Out Your Festival Survey
If you have not already handed in a paper survey, or filled it out online, please fill out the online Festival Survey as soon as possible. Every entry is read, and your comments are valuable! Deadline for filling out the Festival Survey is Tuesday, November 8. You can access the Feast Survey at fotsurvey.lcg.org.
Living Youth Program
Friday Evening Online Teen Bible Study
The online Teen Bible Study on Friday evening, November 11, will be on “Why Christians Should Keep God’s Holy Days!” This is Lesson 23 of the Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course. If you haven’t had the opportunity to join us for one of the online Bible Studies yet, we encourage you to do so. It is a wonderful way to start the Sabbath day.
The Bible Study runs from 8:00 to 9:00 p.m. (Eastern time) and the chat room will be open for a half hour before and after the study. You can find instructions for joining the Bible Study and also access it at livingyouth.org. We hope as many of our youth as possible will join us for this wonderful opportunity for godly fellowship and learning. For those of you who are unable to make it to the study, archives of previous Living Youth Bible Studies, including last evening’s on “What Is God’s Purpose for Mankind?,” can also be found on the Living Youth Web site.—Sheldon Monson
2017 Youth Camp Directors in the United States—Repeat Announcement
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
New LYP Camp Dates in Texas!—Repeat Announcement
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
Call for On-Campus Students (U.S. only at this time): For those seeking a unique and exciting learning opportunity, LU is now seeking applications for full-time students to study on campus in Charlotte, North Carolina, beginning in the fall of 2017. On-campus students experience special opportunities beyond online study. Students meet for weekly discussion classes with many of their professors, including Dr. Germano, Mr. Ames, Drs. Douglas and Scott Winnail, Mr. Ken Frank, Mr. Peter Nathan, and Mr. Jerry Ruddlesden. Weekly Assemblies are provided by many of the Church leaders based in Charlotte and around the world. Monthly student outings and other social activities are planned and students participate in congregational opportunities unique to the Charlotte congregation and Headquarters (including Spokesman Club, Singles’ Bible Studies, Outreach activities, service during Council of Elders and Ministerial conferences, and much more). Student housing is available for both male and female students. Most of our on-campus students also participate in our “work-study” program—working part-time in different departments throughout the Work and Living University. Student work-study helps defray most living costs.
Application to the on-campus program can be made online through the University Web site (www.livinguniv.com). Additional details and requirements can also be found online, as can an estimate of costs associated with on-campus study. If you are interested in on-campus LU study and have questions, please contact us. At this time we can only accept on-campus students who are legal residents of the U.S. Our hope is to expand this opportunity to international students in future years. Interested students should plan to complete their applications by February 2017. Those with no previous college should submit college entrance test scores (ACT or SAT) along with other application materials and should plan to take that examination this fall. You can find out more about these exams through a local high school guidance counselor or local community college or university testing service. Home-schooled students are also encouraged to apply. If you have questions about on-campus study or to find out more, please contact Dr. Scott Winnail at 704-708-2292 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where Is Your Focus? The cares and worries of this life tend to keep our focus on the here and now and what is going on in our own lives. Yet, Jesus admonished His disciples to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). Jesus also warned that “the cares of this world” can choke the truth and cause us to become unfruitful (Matthew13:22). Are your thoughts and efforts really focused on this Big Picture—doing God’s Work and building the character necessary to function as kings and priests (leaders and teachers) in the soon-coming Kingdom of God? The apostle Paul urged Christians to “walk circumspectly” (live purposefully) and make the most of our time and opportunities “because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16). Paul also instructed Christians to treat each other with respect and avoid bickering and doctrinal arguments that can shift our focus away from the Big Picture (1 Corinthians 1:10; Romans 12:9-18; 14:20). We all need to periodically evaluate what dominates our lives, how we use our time and what we really want to accomplish. Are you following the biblical admonition to focus our minds on what is true, noble, just and pure (Philippians 4:8) so you can become a productive member of God’s family? Let’s strive to stay focused on this Big Picture.
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—November 3, 2016
Germans Fear War with Russia: As Germany stations tanks in Lithuania to “reinforce the Baltic states” against potential Russian aggression (Deutsche Welle, October 27, 2016), and Russia unveils its newest ICBM, the Satan 2, “capable of wiping out parts of the earth the size of Texas or France” (CNN, October 26, 2016), a new poll reveals that 32 percent of Germans “believe it is possible that war could break out between Russia and the European Union and its allies in the United States” (Reuters, October 26, 2016). Among the far-right “Alternative for Germany (AfD) party… 63 percent of them [believe]… that war could break out” (ibid.). As tensions continue to rise over Syria and the Ukraine, concerns are also growing about a future Russian confrontation. Do Bible prophecies say anything about a future clash with Russia? The Scriptures reveal that in the near-term, a German-led European “beast” power will bring a coming “temporary peace” that will result in prosperity for many (see Revelation 18). However, just prior to the return of Christ, a large army from the “east”—likely supported by both Russia and China—will descend on the Holy Land and clash with the “beast” army (Revelation 9:13-17). So, in the short-term, a substantive military confrontation between Germany/NATO and Russia will apparently not occur, but it will in time. For more insight into the future of Germany and the NATO nations, be sure to read our booklet, The Beast of Revelation: Myth, Metaphor, or Soon-Coming Reality?
Pope Commemorates 500th Year of Reformation: Pope Francis visited Sweden this week during the celebration of the Reformation’s 500th year to promote “efforts to heal the 500-year-old rift between Catholics and Protestants” (Wall Street Journal, October 30, 2016). While the Pope praised some of Martin Luther’s actions (which led to the split between Catholics and Protestants), he focused on “moving beyond the controversies and disagreements” and illustrated the need for unification. The Pope and Bishop Younan, president of the Lutheran World Federation, also “signed a statement indicating that intercommunion between the churches remained a goal for the future” (ibid.). Vatican spokesman Greg Burke explained in a briefing before the Pope’s trip that Catholics and Lutherans are “no longer defining themselves in opposition to each other.” Leaders in both churches hope “the Pope’s visit to Sweden will help Catholics and Lutherans move further down the path to the restoration of full communion” (Catholic Culture, October 27, 2016). The Bible has long predicted that an end-time church known as the “mother of harlots” (Revelation 17:5) will boast, “I am forever—the eternal queen… I will never be a widow or suffer the loss of children” (Isaiah 47:7-8, NIV). Since the split in 1517, there have been many signs pointing to the mother church recovering her children. In recent decades there has been a major push for a return of Protestant denominations (harlot daughters) to their “universal” mother—Catholicism. This topic is more fully explained in our telecast “The Harlot of Revelation 17.”
Science Catches Up with Scripture—Again: “The oldest human who ever lived, according to official records, was 122-year-old Frenchwoman Jeanne Louise Calment, who died in 1997. Now a team of American researchers suggest Calment is unlikely to lose the top spot any time soon, as their research shows that though more people reach old age each year, the ceiling for human lifespan appears to be stuck at around 115 years. ‘The chances are very high that we [have] really reached our maximum allotted lifespan for the first time,’ said Jan Vijg, co-author of the research from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York” (BBC, October 5, 2016). It is interesting that modern science actually supports the Bible. Over 4,000 years ago, God stated in Genesis 6:3, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.” It appears that God was setting a limit on the maximum allotted years for human beings. Following the Flood, a few lived longer, but as a rule, 120 years appears to be the cap that God set—Moses died at 120 years of age (Deuteronomy 34:7). It should be faith-building for Christians when statements in Scripture are validated by science! For more on this subject, view our exciting telecast “Fingerprints of the Creator.”—Scott Winnail, Francine Prater, Justin Ridgeway and Chris Sookdeo