Greetings from Charlotte,
Living University commencement exercises were held on Monday for the last time, with the University closing after eleven years. A carved crystal award was presented to Dr. Michael Germano, who gave so much to establish L.U., including moving to Charlotte from his comfortable surroundings in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. A number of relatives and friends were in town to celebrate the accomplishments of about 30 students who received degrees and/or certificates. Another dozen graduates were unable to attend, but their achievements were recognized. Thirty-eight guests and 23 members attended the Tomorrow’s World Presentation I gave in Lufkin last weekend. Mr. Smith will give a TWP this Sabbath in Mississippi, and speak at combined services in Alabama on Pentecost. Mr. Peter Nathan left for the U.K., Messrs. Adam West and Jonathan McNair traveled to New York where Mr. West is relocating and Mr. McNair is wrapping up matters after his years of service there. Over the Pentecost weekend, Mr. Ciesielka will be in Little Rock and Memphis. Mr. Ames will be in Athens, Alabama on the Sabbath and in Manchester, Tennessee, for combined services on Pentecost. Dr. Douglas Winnail will be in the Washington, DC area, and I will be in Omaha on the Sabbath and in Kansas City for Pentecost. Responses began coming in from the semiannual offer of the Marijuana booklet.—Gerald Weston
New Booklets for Member Households
Just a reminder: All member households automatically receive a copy of new booklets when they are produced. There is no need for members to request copies of the new Marijuana: What They Aren’t Telling You or The Plain Truth About the Protestant Reformation booklets, because you will receive them automatically.
Charlotte BRiC Weekend (Memorial Day Weekend)—An Opportunity for Singles
We are now just a week away from the Charlotte BRiC (Building Relationships in Christ) Weekend! This is truly a great opportunity for singles of all ages to be together for fellowship and fun-filled activities. There will be Bible studies, a dinner and dance, the uptown challenge, and of course BRiC Talks! If you are planning to attend, please register online at charlottelcg.org/bric (password bric). If you have any questions concerning the weekend, please contact Mr. Jacob Hall (email@example.com) for more information.
Feast of Tabernacles
Have You Registered? Please Do It Now!
This is another call for all brethren to register for the Feast of Tabernacles. We have many people waiting on transfer request lists. However, we are unable to process further transfer requests for Panama City, Marble Falls, Lake of the Ozarks, Seaside, Mt. Snow, Hilton Head and other U.S. sites until we know how many local brethren will attend their assigned site. (If you are waiting for a transfer approval for one of these sites, please be patient.) Even if you are attending your assigned site, you need to register, as that helps us know if we will have room for others. Thank you for your attention in this matter, and showing love to your brethren in this way.—Festival Office
Notice for Registrants for Hawaii, India, and Spain—Must Read
If you “pre-registered” for the Hawaii, India, or Spain Feast sites, you still need to register on the Church’s Festival website. We have a number of people whom we are expecting to go to one of these three sites, but who have not registered at the MyLCG (www.cogl.org) website. If that includes you, please do so right away!—Festival Office
Living Youth Program
North Carolina Preteen Camp: Staff Applications Due on Sunday
In just over five weeks, the North Carolina Preteen Camp starts the North American summer camp season! If you want to be part of the staff, please submit your applications. Staff applications are due Sunday, May 20. Camper applications are due by June 4. We look forward to seeing you there!—Mark Sandor
Missouri Preteen Camp
Time is running out to register for the Missouri Pre-Teen Camp. June 1 is the last day to register, for both staff and campers. Hope to see you there.—Gene Hilgenberg
Texas Teen Camp
The revised Staff List will be posted Friday afternoon, as well as the Master Camp Schedule. Check the Youth website for details.—Sheldon Monson
Living Youth Programs Camp Applications from Europeans—Repeat Announcement
Office of Legal Affairs & Risk Management
Due to the impending implementation of the European “General Data Protection Regulation” (GDPR) affecting those living within the “European Economic Area” (EEA), the deadline for camper and staff applications for all applicants living in the following countries is 24 May 2018: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom. Any applicants residing in these countries are asked to submit their camp application on or before 24 May 2018. This applies to any LYP camp they may want to attend.
To accommodate any European applicants who miss the 24 May 2018 deadline, a new updated GDPR-compliant application will need to be completed. Our office hopes to have those available on, or soon after, that date.
Watch the Middle East: When Jesus was asked what signs would announce that His return was near, He did not set dates, but He said to WATCH for a series of specific events that would erupt on the world scene and surprise many people (see Matthew 24). Numerous prophecies indicate the Middle East will become a tinderbox of strife between nations (Daniel 11:40-43), and that Jerusalem will be the focal point of this end-time conflict (Luke 21:20-24; Zechariah 12:2-3). God has recorded and preserved these detailed end-time prophecies not only to show that He alone has the power to predict the future and bring it to pass (Isaiah 46:8-11), but to provide a warning to His people so we can recognize the significance of the times in which we are living and not be caught by surprise (Matthew 25:1-13). God has given His Church a clearer grasp of Bible prophecy so it can sound the alarm and offer hope during the final stages of crumbling human societies (2 Peter 1:16-21). Let’s be alert and heed these important warnings to “watch” and “be ready” (Matthew 24:36-44) as we see ancient prophecies coming alive today!
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnable
News and Prophecy—May 17, 2018
U.S. Embassy Opens in Jerusalem: Against a backdrop of protests and attempts by Palestinians to breach a border wall regulating entry into Israel—with a crowd that included a large number of known terrorists—and the subsequent killing of 60 Palestinians (Times of Israel, May 15, 2018), the U.S. government opened with fanfare its long-promised embassy in Jerusalem this week (Reuters, May 14, 2018). In his video address at the opening ceremony, President Trump commented, “Our greatest hope is for peace”—a sad and unintended irony given the circumstances.
On Wednesday of this week, Guatemala also opened the doors of its new embassy in Jerusalem—the first nation to follow the example of the U.S. (AFP, May 16, 2018). “Besides Guatemala, Paraguay says it also will relocate its embassy to Jerusalem. Romania, the Czech Republic and Honduras have said they are considering doing the same” (AP, May 16, 2018).
Jerusalem—the City of Peace—has long been a cauldron of strife, hatred and death. Bible prophecies refer to Jerusalem as “a cup of drunkenness” to the surrounding nations and “a very heavy stone for all peoples” (Zechariah 12:2–3). Jerusalem has been the flashpoint for conflicts between nations, peoples, and religions for millennia. Will moving embassies to Jerusalem bring peace to the City of Peace or trigger bigger conflicts? The Apostle John prophesied that, at the end of the age, Jerusalem will be overrun by Gentile nations—non-Israelite-descended peoples—who “will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months” (Revelation 11:2). It will once again be “surrounded by armies” just prior to the end of human rule in the Holy City (Luke 21:20). However, peace will come to the City of Peace when Jesus Christ returns, sets up His Kingdom on Earth and rules from Jerusalem! To learn more about the prophesied future of Jerusalem, read or listen to “The New Jerusalem.”
Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) Epidemic in California: Newsweek reports that STI rates in California have risen 45 percent in five years. Syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia are the most prevalent diseases (May 15, 2018). Due to the spike in syphilis rates, stillbirths in California have reached their highest number since 1995. However, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are reporting epidemic numbers of STIs nationwide.
While stillbirths and infant blindness are potential consequences for children born to mothers infected with syphilis, the prognosis for untreated chlamydia and gonorrhea is infertility in both men and women! An additional worry is that many who carry these diseases have no symptoms, and they continue to spread their disease unknowingly. According to the same article, California public health officials have stated, “STIs are preventable by consistently using condoms, and many STIs can be cured with antibiotics. Regular testing and treatment are very important for people who are sexually active.” A federal public health official noted, “We’ve known how to control syphilis since early 1900s. Seeing it come back like this is a sign of failure of the public health safety net.”
The skyrocketing rates of STIs are sad to watch, but also predictable in a society where biblical morality has been relegated to the trash bin of history. While public health officials promote the use of condoms, regular screening and antibiotics as the tools to prevent and cure these diseases, they intentionally ignore the most effective treatment: abstaining from sex until marriage between one man and one woman, and then remaining faithful to one’s spouse. This behavioral choice alone would eradicate these diseases—and public health officials know it! The sobering truth is that knowledge of this powerful disease prevention tool has been available for thousands of years in the pages of the Bible. In fact, God noted, “If you diligently heed the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians” (Exodus 15:26). The way to prevent many disease epidemics is relatively simple, but it requires character and self-restraint! For more informative insights on this current topic, read “Defeating Disease: How the Bible Can Help.”—Scott Winnail, Francine Prater and Gary Ehman