Greetings from Charlotte,
Our first booklets in the Portuguese language were ready for print this week. They were, O seu destino final (Your Ultimate Destiny), O Deus real (The Real God), and Qual Dia e Sabado cristao? (Which Day Is the Christian Sabbath?). Portuguese is the official language of seven nations, including Portugal, Brazil, Mozambique and Angola. The first Spanish edition TWNow live program went out today. Mr. Wyatt Ciesielka and I spent several days in Canada to discuss website matters, and I recorded three Canadian-version Tomorrow’s World telecasts. The Tomorrow’s World Viewpoint video titled “Where Did the Celts Come From?” received more than 20,000 views over a two-and-a-half-day period, with no advertising. Two more transfers will take place in the next few months: Mr. Phil West will be transferred to Little Rock, Arkansas to pastor churches in that area, and Mr. Bob Rodzaj will go to Wisconsin to replace Mr. Phil West.—Gerald Weston
Tomorrow’s World Presents in Troy, Alabama
On February 3, Evangelist Richard Ames gave a Tomorrow’s World Presentation in Troy, titled “What’s Ahead for America?” Some of the guests arrived about an hour early, and their enthusiasm was also demonstrated with applause and words of agreement during the presentation. Mr. Ames’ three points on our national sins were: We are a greedy, lustful nation; extreme moral decline; and counterfeit Christianity. Audience expressions of agreement to his comments on Easter, Christmas and sexual immorality (including same-sex marriage) reflected Alabama as part of the “Bible Belt,” and may have encouraged Mr. Ames to speak even more strongly. Even his reference to the “god” of college football was met with approval! The audience consisted of 43 guests and 25 brethren. Some guests commented later on the need for a congregation. We thank God for this wonderful opportunity and for the attendance and response to this presentation!—Anthony Stroud
Passover 2018—Repeat Announcement
Important Notice to All Pastors: In 2018, the Passover Service will be observed on Thursday evening, March 29. Please let us know as soon as possible if any of the congregations you serve will need additional Passover Service supplies (bread trays and/or wine trays or glasses) or a copy of the Passover Service recording and letter instructions (available in English, French and Spanish). The Passover Service recording in English is the one made by Mr. Peter Nathan in 2017. To ensure timely delivery and to save on shipping costs, we need this information by February 20 for U.S. congregations. International information should already have been sent in.
Also, please let us know of any scattered members who are unable to keep the Passover with a congregation and who need to receive the Passover Service recording and letter instructions for observing it at home. Please direct your requests to the Church Administration Department at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible. U.S. requests should be received before February 20. International requests should already have been submitted.
Charlotte BRiC Weekend (Memorial Day Weekend)—An Opportunity for Singles
Singles of all ages are invited to join us in Charlotte, North Carolina for another BRiC (Building Relationships in Christ) weekend. The purpose of the weekend is to meet, fellowship, build and strengthen our relationships with like-minded individuals. There will be Bible Studies, BRiC Talks, team activities, dancing, food and fun. Singles can begin making plans to join us in Charlotte during the Memorial Day Weekend (May 25–28). Registration will open soon. Upcoming announcements will provide more details. If you have any questions regarding the weekend, please contact me (email@example.com) for more information.—Jacob Hall
Canadian Family Civic Weekend (CFCW 2.0)
This year we will again be hosting the CFCW weekend and brethren of all ages are welcome. The dates will be from Friday, August 3, through Monday, August 6. This CFCW weekend will provide many opportunities to grow in brotherly love, as we enjoy a picnic, seminars, talent show, Medieval Times adventure and Philippians 4:8-inspiration as we visit the Royal Botanical Garden trail. Go to http://eepurl.com/dij1TL (not an official LCG website) for more information and to register, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.—Michael Heykoop
Living Education Update
A big thank you to those who took a moment to respond to our survey last week! Almost 300 people answered the brief questions about their Bible study time. The first question asked about people’s target amount of time to spend in study, while the second asked how much time, on average, they actually did spend.
Half of those who responded set a goal of studying an hour a day. Of the remainder, about 50 planned to study 30 minutes a day, and about 20 aimed for 15 minutes. Two hours is the goal for approximately 60 members.
With those goals in mind, the vast majority of those who responded, about 110 people, reported that they actually spend about 30 minutes a day on Bible study. Roughly 70 people spend an hour, and the remainder around 15 minutes, though about 20 of those surveyed said they spend two hours a day in study.
The results showed that God’s people do want to dig into their Bibles! Whether we have a lot of time in our day or a little, consistent rehearsal of the principles of life found in the Bible will pay off by establishing and maintaining a solid foundation in the way of God.—Jonathan McNair
Feast of Tabernacles
Feast of Tabernacles 2018
Behind-the-scenes work is well underway for the Feast of Tabernacles 2018. We are currently surveying the ministry to find out where they would like to attend the Feast—after which we will be making ministerial assignments based on our manpower needs worldwide. That process should take the next couple of weeks. The Internet Department staff, in conjunction with the Festival Office staff, is also currently busy building the Festival 2018 informational webpages. We hope to have them open for viewing by everyone by the end of February. Stay tuned!
Goa, India Feast Preregistration and Information
God’s Church will have a very special opportunity to observe the Feast of Tabernacles in Goa, India. Goa is on the tropical southwest coast of India and is a former Portuguese colony dating from the 1500s. It is one of India’s most prosperous regions. The Portuguese ruled Goa for over four centuries, and their cultural presence is still seen in the region, particularly in the old architecture. The population is unusual for India in that it is one-quarter Christian. The Feast hotel, The Citrus, is attractive and near a popular tourist beach. It will be a wonderful and interesting place to keep God’s Feast with our small Church congregation there.
We have a webpage (https://goo.gl/forms/48zxarWiTsCOyVqo2) for Preregistration and Information for Goa, India, to help answer your questions. You can also find this link on your MyLCG page. If you are interested in attending the Feast in Goa, India, please go to that webpage, review the information and fill out the preregistration form.
Those who preregister early will be given first consideration for transfer approval.
We look forward to seeing many of you there!—Dexter Wakefield
Living Youth Program
Friday Evening Online Teen Bible Study
The online Teen Bible Study on Friday evening, February 16, will begin at Matthew 8:5 and continue through chapter nine. 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. To join the study, go to www.livingyouth.org. For those who are unable to make it to the study, archives of previous Living Youth Bible Studies, including last evening’s covering Matthew 7:6 through 8:4, can also be found on the Living Youth website.—Sheldon Monson
Living Youth Camp 2018 Registration Opens!
Registration for the North American camps begins on Sunday! This year we will have three Preteen camps, in North Carolina, Missouri and Texas; our Teen camp in Texas, and our Adventure camp near Aspen, Colorado. For information on all of the camps, and to begin registration, visit https://camp.livingyouth.org. Registration for most of the camps will be open for several months, but the Adventure Camp fills up quickly, so registration for it will only be open this month. For planning purposes, it’s helpful for us that people register early, as that enables us to start matching people with duties and see what assignments we still need to fill.
We look forward to seeing you at camp!—LYP Office
2018 Adventure Camp: Maroon Bells – Snowmass Wilderness, Colorado
Description: The mighty Elk Mountains, including six “fourteeners,” among them the famous Bells, form the spine of this wilderness area. Noted for their deep red cliffs, the twin peaks of Maroon Bells are considered to be the most photographed in the state. The sheer majestic presence of these iconic mountains is breathtaking, and the jagged symmetry of the Maroon Bells reflected in Maroon Lake is a mountain scene you’ll never forget. Lush aspen groves, lofty peaks crowned with perpetual snow, clear streams, wildflower-strewn alpine meadows, and dark forests of spruce and fir ringed by granite peaks make this one of the top-rated hikes in the state. Abundant wildlife, including moose, elk and deer thrive in these mountains. This will be the location for the LYC 2018 Adventure Camp.
During the five days we’ll spend in the backcountry, we’ll trek over four mountain passes (Maroon Pass, Frigid Air Pass, Trail Rider Pass, and Buckskin Pass), exploring beautiful alpine lakes, magnificent fields of wildflowers, and amazing waterfalls! This strenuous backpacking experience provides inspiring views and high-elevation hiking. With over 8,000 feet of elevation gain, this hike is not to be taken lightly, so be sure to come prepared. But with great views of the most beautiful wilderness area in Colorado, every step will be well worth it!
After completing the backpacking portion of this trip, applicants will also enjoy a three-hour Colorado River whitewater rafting trip through Class III- IV rapids, including The Wall, Tombstone, Maneater, Superstition and many more.
Location: The 283-square-mile Maroon Bells – Snowmass Wilderness lies within the White River and Gunnison National Forests, just south of Aspen, Colorado.
Dates: Camper and Staff Arrival: Tuesday, July 31, 2018 (no later than 1:00 p.m.)
Camper and Staff Departure: Thursday, August 9, 2018 (no later than noon; departing Denver International Airport no later than 3:00 p.m.)
Applicant Information: Staff: To be considered for staff positions, applicants must be 21 years of age or older. Campers ages 13-20 may apply.
Costs: Application and Tuition Fees: Camper: $5.00 and $450.00. Staff: $5.00 and $350.00
Airport Transportation to and from Denver International Airport: $25.00 round trip
Note: Tuition is due in full by May 31.
Deadlines: Applications will be accepted from Sunday, February 11 through Thursday, March 1. Apply early, as space is limited and this camp will fill up quickly!
Living Church of God Youth Camps 2018
Camp registration for all U.S. camps will open this Sunday, February 11. Applications for the summer camp in Europe are also available now. See announcement below. Important: Be sure to submit a photo of yourself with your application, as that is required.
The listing of camps in United States and Europe, with locations, dates and Camp Directors, is below. New information is in bold font.
United States Camps 2018:
Teen Camp – Texas – Sheldon Monson
Location: Camp Lone Star – Athens, Texas
Dates: Staff arrival on Sunday, July 8, by noon; camper arrival on Monday, July 9 by 6:00 p.m. – Departure on Sunday, July 22
Adventure Camp – Colorado – Sheldon Monson
Location: Maroon Bells – Snowmass Wilderness
Dates: Tuesday, July 31 – Thursday, August 9
Preteen Camp – Texas – Jason Fritts
Location: Camp Lone Star – Athens, Texas
Dates: Sunday, July 22 – Friday, July 27
Preteen Camp – Missouri – Gene Hilgenberg
Location: Knob Noster State Park, Knob Noster, Missouri
Dates: Sunday, July 1 – Friday July 6
Preteen Camp – North Carolina – Mark Sandor
Location: Singletary Lake State Park, Kelly, North Carolina
Dates: Sunday, June 24 – Friday, June 29
International Camps 2018:
Europe – John Meakin (Assisted by Rees Ellis)
Location: Domaine de Chevetogne, Belgium
Dates: Friday, August 3 – Sunday, August 12
South Africa – Lawdi Ferrera
Location: To be determined
Dates: Thursday, December 20 – Saturday, December 29 (tentative)
Latin America – Cristian Orrego
Location: To be determined
Dates: To be determined
New Zealand – Rob Tyler (Assisted by Paul Kearns)
Location: To be determined
Dates: To be determined
European Teen Summer Camp—Repeat Announcement
Attention all Teens! Applications are being accepted for this year’s summer camp to be held once more at Chevetogne, Belgium and we want to encourage non-Europeans also to apply this year: come with a friend for a memorable educational experience. Plan to arrive Friday, August 3, and depart on Sunday, August 12. The application/tuition fee per camper (ages 12-19) is £135/€170. Staff volunteers, especially those with prior experience of summer camp, are welcome to apply.
Application forms are available from the U.K. Office (Jamie Meakin: phone 01536 520042, e-mail email@example.com), or your pastor, or from Mr. Rees Ellis in Europe. Please send any questions to Mr. John Meakin, Camp Director (home 01460 54240, mobile 07795 814623, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org) or Mr. Rees Ellis, Assistant Camp Director (mobile +32 475 276821, e-mail email@example.com).
The Most Important Quality: Most of God’s people understand the importance of keeping the commandments, the Sabbath, the Holy Days and the health laws, as well as the importance of government, tithing, faith and watching for the fulfillment of Bible prophecy. Yet, sometimes, in our zeal to obey the laws of God, we can overlook something that is even more important—and that is the need to develop and exercise Godly Love. In 1 Corinthians 13:1-3, we learn that without Godly Love, all other things will amount to nothing. The biblical word used here for love is agape, which refers to an unselfish outgoing concern for others. In 1 Corinthians 13, the Apostle Paul states that Godly Love is patient and kind; it does not envy and is not proud or rude. Godly Love does not seek its own way; it is calm and not easily provoked, nor does it jump to conclusions or assign motives or sit in judgment of others. Instead, Godly Love is gracious and forgiving. It is positive and focuses on what is right and true. It never fails or falters. Godly Love is an important fruit of God’s spirit (Galatians 5:22) that we must cultivate if we hope to become like our Father and our Elder Brother Jesus Christ—because God is love (1 John 4:8, 16), and we have been created to become like Him (1 John 3:1-3). Let’s make this our goal. Let’s ask God to help us learn to love Him and learn to love others as He does—so we can develop this most important quality—of Godly Love.
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—February 8, 2018
The “German Problem” Again: A recent article in the French independent newspaper Le Monde diplomatique stated, “An old nightmare returns in Europe; Germany alone within the EU” (January 2018). The article highlighted how several Central European nations continue to distance themselves from Germany and Brussels based on German-initiated policies driving the EU. The article concludes with a statement from Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s speech in Romania in July 2017: “Twenty-seven years ago here in Central Europe we believed that Europe was our future; today we feel that we are the future of Europe… I think that the comfortable, warm, socialist-liberal world in which ‘we all bleat in the same sheep-pen’ has come to an end.”
Nordic nations are also uncomfortable with Germany’s leadership and plan to maintain strong ties with the UK, even after Brexit (EU Observer, November 10, 2017). The Nordic, Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg) and Baltic EU nations are also drawing closer together to balance what some are calling the “German-French axis.” Recent studies indicate that a significant portion of non-German Europeans feel Germany has too great an influence in European decision-making (PEW Research, June 15, 2017), and only 41 percent of Europeans trust the EU (Economist, February 3, 2018). Many also fear the solid financial footing of Germany compared with other nations in Europe. Even within Germany, divisions are emerging—as indicated by Chancellor Merkel’s recent difficulties forming a coalition government (EU Observer, January 29, 2018).
Bible prophecy has long foretold that a German-led European “beast” power will arise at the end of the age. Though the final configuration of nations in Europe remains to be seen, eventually ten leaders, or “kings,” will give control to a single dictator (Revelation 17:12-13). The “iron and clay” nature of this end-time beast indicates this final configuration will have little internal cohesion (Daniel 2:41-44)—which is increasingly evident in Europe today. For more informative insights about the future of Europe, read or listen to The Beast of Revelation.
Canada’s Widespread Use of Marijuana: The Canadian Bureau of Statistics recently reported that “Canadians spent $6.2bn (£3.5bn) on marijuana in 2015, almost as much as they did on wine”—and this was when marijuana was illegal (The Independent, December 20, 2017). According to this report, about 13 percent of the entire population reported consuming marijuana in 2015, with two-thirds of users being over the age 25.
The recreational use of marijuana nearly always results in what health experts refer to as “marijuana intoxication” or “getting high.” However, this is not the only problem with recreational marijuana use. In recent years, dozens of studies have reported many short- and long-term negative side effects from marijuana use, including psychological impairment and addiction (SAM, November 18, 2016). Sadly today, governmental leaders of states and nations are legalizing marijuana while turning a blind eye to its many risks.
Marijuana intoxication is similar in many ways to alcohol intoxication or drunkenness—a condition long recognized by society as a problem, and a condition that the Bible clearly condemns (Proverbs 23:21; 1 Corinthians 5:11). God warned the British-descended nations (which would include most Canadians) at the end of the age, “Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower… to those who are overcome with wine!” (Isaiah 28:1). As more nations legalize substances that cause people to lose self-control and become addicted to the substance rather obeying God’s instructions, we will reap what we are sowing. To learn more about this ancient and controversial drug, read our article “Marijuana: What They Aren’t Telling You.”—Scott Winnail and Francine Prater