Greetings from Charlotte,
This past weekend, we conducted three Tomorrow’s World Presentations and two follow-up presentations. Mr. Richard Ames was in Norfolk, Virginia, where 49 guests and 39 members were present. Mr. Adam West spoke to nine guests and 15 members in Pontefract, U.K., and Mr. Paul Kearns spoke to 29 guests and 22 members in Hamilton, New Zealand. We will be starting two new congregations in the next few weeks: Concord, North Carolina and Columbia, South Carolina. Concord is a suburb of Charlotte and will serve those living on the northeast side of the city. Columbia will serve the heart of South Carolina and fill in a gap between several congregations. This week, I recorded the messages for the Opening Night of the Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day. Living University will be ending this month, with graduation on May 14. We currently have eight applicants for the on-site Living Education program to begin in August, and we expect others will be applying in the next month or two, as young people evaluate their priorities for their future. The Council of Elders will be meeting from Monday through Wednesday of this coming week. Your prayers for the meetings are appreciated.—Gerald Weston
On Sunday, May 6, at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Living Education will be going live—live-stream, that is! Mr. Ken Frank, Dr. Scott Winnail and I will be joined by our staff and student guests on the new Living Education Facebook site for a special one-hour interactive presentation about Living Education. This will be a great time to ask questions about the program or just listen to the discussion. Just go to facebook.com/LCGEducationProgram, which is the Living Education Facebook page, at 8:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) this coming Sunday evening.
Here’s an example of a question that we’re often asked: “Would the Living Education-Charlotte program be beneficial for young women?” The answer is “yes!” Young women who come to Charlotte for our on-site program will find a safe, welcoming environment to learn and grow. We have room for seven young women and seven young men in our program. This gives ample opportunity to make individual friendships, yet be part of a team of learners. Our young women will take the same classes as the young men, but also have additional training in topics specifically designed to help them fulfill their God-given role as women. The living arrangements for the young ladies are very comfortable, in a safe, quiet neighborhood. The classroom facility is part of the Headquarters office building, with daily interaction with other women and men working in and around our Headquarters. At this point, we are still taking applications for both men and women, and we have room for a few more. For any young woman or young man who wants to lay solid groundwork for a life of service to God, our Living Education-Charlotte program is a good starting point! Just go to lcgeducation.org to learn more and apply.—Jonathan McNair
Feast of Tabernacles
Have You Considered Snowmass?
If you have not registered yet, and would like to visit a beautiful, alpine site, you may want to consider Snowmass, Colorado, in the scenic Rocky Mountains. Snowmass is located about 20 minutes from Aspen, and this may be the final year (for now) for the Feast here. While a number of other sites around the U.S. are filling up (or close to it), Snowmass still has ample elbow room, and may be just the right fit for those looking to head to the hills for the Feast! If you’d like more information about this area, check out the website gosnowmass.com, and also go to the Festival website (fot2018.lcg.org) and select Snowmass, Colorado, to see the details available there.—Festival Office
Living Youth Program
South African LYP Adventure Camp 2018
The South African LYP Adventure Camp 2018 was a great success. On Friday morning, 27 April, a group of 23 people enjoyed exploring various natural wonders on the Panorama Route in lush green Mpumalanga. We visited “Bourke’s Luck Potholes” and “God’s Window” and then headed off for a 2.5-hour white water rafting trip on the Sabie River. Then we all appreciated the Sabbath in the quiet and peaceful setting at camp, under the avocado trees at Mulberry Lane. On Sunday morning, 14 enthusiastic hikers headed to Sabie to start our 3-day, 2-night (35km) hike: three magnificent days of forests, rivers, waterfalls, campfires, stars and high mountains on the Fanie Botha hiking trail. Hiking through pine plantations and indigenous forests, we stood in awe at the sheer beauty of God’s pristine creation and marveled at crystal-clear waterfalls and streams. Day two tested our determination and drive, as most of the hike was a steep climb through forest, crossing streams, passing waterfalls and climbing up rocky cliffs to Hartebeest Vlakte. It became obvious why so many hikers describe this as the perfect hiking destination. It surely was an adventure where bonds were built, and character, determination, drive and a never-give-up attitude were developed. Despite some scrapes and bruises, and a stomach bug that affected a few, the outing was a very exhilarating and rewarding experience. We all returned Tuesday evening. We are thankful for God’s protection and His blessing on a successful and memorable camp.—Lawdi Ferreira
2018 Teen Camp—Athens, Texas
Staff Applications are no longer being accepted for this camp. All staff positions have been filled and staff assignments will be posted on Friday, May 4. Staff members: please check the Youth website to see where you’ve been assigned to work at camp this summer.
We are still accepting camper applications until the end of May. However, it is best to sign up now, as we have already accepted over 330 people!—Sheldon Monson
Train Right Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Training—Repeat Announcement
Beginning this year, all camp staff 18 years of age or older, serving at our U.S. camps, will be required to participate in an online training program for awareness and prevention of child abuse. The program is approximately one hour in length. Once you have been accepted as a staff member at one of the camps, you will receive an e-mail from email@example.com titled “Invite – Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Training Program” with a link to register for and complete the training online. Note: The Train Right certificate is valid for two years, so if you completed the training last year, you will not receive an e-mail with a link to the training.
If you have any questions, please contact Jenny Penman (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Maranda Orrell (email@example.com).
Food Handler Training Program—Repeat Announcement
If you have received certification through an ANSI-accredited food safety program for the State of Texas and will be attending Texas Teen Camp or Texas Preteen Camp in 2018, please send your certificate to Maranda Orrell (firstname.lastname@example.org), and copy Mr. Sheldon Monson (email@example.com).
The Church as a Watchman: Many churches feel their mission is to tell the world that God loves everyone and Jesus came to save sinners. However, there is much more to the biblical Gospel message! Jesus told His disciples to be alert and watch for specific events that will mark the approaching end of the age and the return of Jesus Christ: widespread religious deception and persecution, ethnic violence, wars and rumors of wars and numerous natural catastrophes (Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21). Other end-time prophecies warn of a growing coarseness in society as people focus on selfish pursuits and pleasures (2 Timothy 3:1–5). On the world scene, trouble will erupt in the Middle East involving a European power backed by the Roman Church, Arab-Muslim nations and nations from the east and north (Daniel 2; 7; 11:40–44). This final conflagration will threaten the future of humanity—if Christ does not return (Matthew 24:21–22). Just as God raised up prophets to warn the ancient nations of Israel and Judah, the Church of God has a similar mission to function as a watchman to warn modern Israelite nations and the world of what lies ahead (Ezekiel 2; 3; 33; Isaiah 58:1). Delivering this powerful warning message must also accompany the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God (Matthew 24:14). This is the mission we have been given to carry out as the end of the age approaches.
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—May 3, 2018
Peace in Asia? North and South Korea held serious peace negotiations last week for the first time in years, and this time it appears real progress may be made. What is now being called the Panmunjom Declaration (named after the village that hosted the talks) states “South and North Korea confirmed the common goal of realising, through complete denuclearisation, a nuclear-free Korean peninsula” (The Guardian, April 27, 2018). The leaders of the two nations “also pledged to push for talks with the U.S., and possibly China, to formally end the 1950–53 Korean War with a peace treaty to replace the uneasy truce that stopped hostilities.”
Also, last Friday China and India held high-level talks in an attempt to quell an intensifying border dispute that some fear could lead to a hot war (Reuters, April 28, 2018). Although both sides downplayed the meeting as just an “ice-breaking” meeting, both nations agreed “to improve communication between their militaries to maintain peace at the border.” Both leaders “also underscored that in the meantime it is important to maintain peace and tranquility in all areas of the India-China border region.”
The positive direction of peace talks on the Korean peninsula and also between China and India are encouraging and could very well bring a type of peace to the region for a time. End-time prophecy reveals that these nations could all eventually combine efforts to muster a massive end-time army that will attack the prophesied European Beast power and bring vast destruction, killing a third of mankind (see Daniel 11:40–44; Revelation 9:13–18). Some kind of peace between these nations is necessary for the fulfillment of these prophecies. However, mankind’s efforts to forge a lasting peace will not prevail (Isaiah 33:7; Jeremiah 6:14; 8:11, 15) because it will be attempted on the basis of human reason and not on the permanent foundation of the laws of God (Isaiah 59:8; Psalm 119:165). To learn more about the path to real peace, read “The Way to Peace: The Missing Dimension.”
Are We Really Alone? Earth is described by some as a “lonely planet”—yet, scientists continue their search for extraterrestrial life. However, the quest to find life beyond Earth recently hit another roadblock. “Alien life may be more unlikely than commonly thought, according to a UK study that hints at a cosmic lack of phosphorus. The element is vital to energy storage and transfer in cells, and is part of the chemical backbone of DNA” (Telegraph, April 5, 2018). Researchers from the University of Cardiff observed that “Earth may be unusually lucky, because it happened to be situated close enough to the ‘right’ kind of supernova.”
While cosmologists pursue their search for extraterrestrial life, some have concluded that the factors needed to support life are so numerous and precise that the earth truly is a privileged planet, alone in the universe. But what does the Bible say about this fascinating subject of extraterrestrial life?
The Scripture makes clear that God created life on this planet (see Genesis 1). There is no mention in the Bible of physical life being created elsewhere—and to date, there is no evidence of any extraterrestrial life. Further, it is to the planet Earth that the Messiah, Jesus Christ, came to atone for the sins of humanity (John 3:16–17; 4:42), and it is to the earth that Jesus Christ will return to set up His Kingdom (Matthew 24:29-31; Revelation 11:15). Ultimately, God the Father will also set up His throne on the earth—and not on another planet (see Revelation 21:1–8). Scientific studies reveal our planet to be very special, and the Bible reveals that God is working out a very special plan on Earth—beginning the creation of His Family through mankind. For more on this exciting topic, read or listen to “Home, Sweet (Cosmic) Home!”—Scott Winnail and Francine Prater