Greetings from Charlotte,
Mr. and Mrs. Weston left for the Gulf Coast today, where he will be conducting Tomorrow’s World Presentations with Mr. Ed Breaux over the weekend. Dr. Douglas Winnail is out of town for an extended overseas trip—his first stop this weekend will be Brisbane, Australia, where he will give a TWP. Mr. Wyatt Ciesielka will be in Fayetteville, Arkansas, for the annual family weekend, and Mr. Dexter Wakefield will be in South Florida for a church visit and the happy occasion of his daughter’s wedding.
As far as the office is concerned, this week we have been holding online Festival Office meetings with USA and International coordinators. Two French-language telecasts were recorded by Dr. Wil Pierre as well, and Mr. Jonathan McNair and his family should be arriving tomorrow to assume his new responsibilities over the Living Education initiatives. Please continue to keep all of God’s people worldwide in your prayers.—Rod McNair
Personal Correspondence Department
The Personal Correspondence Department, headed up by Mr. Gary Ehman, has the responsibility of responding to doctrinal questions and other general inquiries about the Church that come directly to Headquarters. It’s quite remarkable to note that in the last 14 years, PCD has processed more than 75,000 emails, letters, phone calls, and Facebook inquiries. And, 5,178 of those were from 2017 alone! Apparently, we are getting people’s attention!
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 by next Tuesday, February 20, 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 was 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.
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 (U.S.) requests to the Church Administration Department at firstname.lastname@example.org before February 20.
Charlotte BRiC Singles Weekend (Memorial Day Weekend)—Repeat Announcement
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)—Repeat Announcement
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
Feast of Tabernacles
Goa, India Feast Preregistration and Information—Repeat Announcement
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 23, will begin at Matthew 9:8 and continue in chapter 10. 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 8:5–9:7, can also be found on the Living Youth website.—Sheldon Monson
Living Youth Camp 2018 Registration Opens!—Repeat Announcement
Registration for the North American camps is underway! This year we have scheduled 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—Repeat Announcement
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 and $450. Staff: $5 and $350
Airport Transportation to and from Denver International Airport: $25 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!
Is Society Getting Better or Worse? Every now and then, some will say our world really isn’t that bad, pointing out that some deadly diseases have been almost eradicated, infant mortality rates lowered, life expectancies increased, and in general, the quality of life improved for most people on this planet. So, are we just too “doom and gloom” when we speak of society heading toward oblivion? It all depends on what trends you choose to look at, because the most important trends are moral and spiritual. In that light, consider this sobering joint report by the Barna Group and Impact 360 Institute. The question asked was whether people agreed or disagreed with the statement, “Lying is morally wrong.” Here are the responses:
• 61% of Elders agreed lying is morally wrong
• 54% of Baby Boomers agreed that lying is morally wrong
• 50% of Generation Xers agreed that lying is morally wrong
• 42% of Millennials agreed that lying is morally wrong
• But only 34% of Generation Z (born between 1999 and 2015) could agree that lying is morally wrong
Clearly, the study is not saying EVERY person born between 1999 and 2015 believes there are no moral absolutes. But the trend is clear. Years ago, Mr. Herbert Armstrong observed that someday society would come to the point where most people are not just immoral, but “amoral”: simply not knowing what morality or truth is. That time appears to be almost here. Brethren, this speaks to the urgency we must have to do the Work. How long before our society becomes like Noah’s, when “the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5)?
Let’s be about our Father’s business—and reach everyone we can, while we can. Because time is running out.
Have a meaningful Sabbath,
News and Prophecy—February 15, 2018
War in the Middle East? “Hamas officials believe there is a 95% probability that a war will break out between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza strip in the coming days” (Jewish Press, February 4, 2018). Palestinian leaders view current Israeli military exercises in southern Israel as a prelude to invasion. Israeli sources also feel war may be imminent, due to “provocations” emanating from Gaza.
Last weekend, Israel downed a suspected Iranian drone in what they say was Israeli airspace. Israel retaliated by striking Iranian targets in Syria—resulting in the destruction of an Israeli F-16 amid Syrian anti-aircraft fire. Israel again retaliated against Iranian targets close to Damascus (The Guardian, February 12, 2018). An Israeli general informed his troops last week, “We need to prepare ourselves operationally and intelligence-wise for the mounting threat…. The big test will be the test of war.” Experts expect continued exchanges between Israel, Syria and Iran.
Most experts agree that none of the parties—Israel, Iran and Syria—wants an all-out war. But, the increased military responses seen last weekend and the increasing volatility between Israel and the Palestinians have many in the region worried. The increasing tensions in the Middle East are likely not “the beginning of the end”; however, they are a symptom of the deep-seated mistrust and hatred between the peoples of the region—people that are in most cases descendants of Abraham. Tensions will continue to escalate in the Holy Land and likely draw in Europe and the papacy as peace-bringers. One expert noted that “Germany is the only actor in the Western world that has some practical experience in mediating informal agreements between Israel, Iran and Hezbollah” (Deutsche Welle, February 12, 2018). For more on the future of Jerusalem and the surrounding region, be sure to read or listen to our insightful booklet The Middle East in Prophecy.
U.S. Episcopal Church to Stop Calling God “Father”: “The Episcopal church in the Diocese of Washington, D.C., passed a resolution last week to stop using masculine pronouns for God in future updates to its Book of Common Prayer” (LifeSiteNews, February 1, 2018). Those who drafted the resolution claimed that using gender pronouns (he, him, his) to refer to God act to “limit our understanding of God.” They stated, “By expanding our language for God, we will expand our image of God and the nature of God.” One minister and delegate observed that many people she knew were unable to accept “a male image of God.” The Episcopal Church is one of the most liberal Protestant denominations in the U.S.
As time goes by and we draw closer to the end of the age, many professing Christian groups continue to work to mold God into their own image. Often, it does not matter what the Bible actually says and teaches. What is more important to these groups is that Bible teachings “line up” with their personal and collective opinions. Christ Himself referred to God as His Father numerous times throughout the gospel accounts. God was also very purposeful in creating human beings “male and female” and modeling the human family to teach us about His own—a family where God is the Father, Jesus Christ is the Son and the Church becomes the bride of Christ (Hosea 2:16; Revelation 19:7-9). Christ even noted that some would have the arrogance to teach “as doctrines the commandments of men” (Mark 7:7)—very much what we are witnessing among professing Christians today.
Ridding the Bible of the gender pronouns God Himself inspired to be written (2 Timothy 3:16) will certainly change how people understand the image and nature of God. But, it will accomplish this through the fabrication of unbiblical inaccuracies and deceptions. Approaches like this “re-make” God into a being that people want Him to be, rather than reveal a clearer image of who God really is. These are efforts by special interest groups to erase the masculine leadership God clearly outlines in the pages of His Bible. For more insight into the true nature of God as clearly explained in the Bible, be sure to read “What Is God Really Like?”—Scott Winnail, Chris Sookdeo and Francine Prater