Greetings from Charlotte,
Mr. Peter Nathan is making a trip to Africa, where he will be visiting congregations in Nairobi, Kenya and in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, South Africa. In addition, he will spend the Sabbath of July 28 with the Johannesburg-Pretoria combined congregations and will hold a Ministerial Conference on Sunday. The Tomorrow’s World Presentations held in Dallas and Big Sandy, Texas saw 49 and 20 guests respectively, along with good contingents of members. Mr. Gary Stein will hold follow-up presentations this week and next. The Teen Camp near Athens, Texas has gone extremely well. I personally have been impressed with the Christian Living classes delivered each morning and with the general atmosphere in the camp. Tomorrow’s World is now being broadcast in the Philippines on CNN each Sunday evening. Last week we had 42 telephone responses and expect that to increase once our call center is in place in the next few weeks. We have seen remarkable growth in South America in the last six months, with 41 new prospective members joining (see below).—Gerald Weston
Growth in South America
Mr. Armando Orrego, South America area pastor, reports that we are experiencing remarkable growth in South America, with 41 new prospective members joining the Living Church of God in the last six months. This has required establishing six new congregations in three countries, including one in Guayaquil—our first-ever congregation in Ecuador. This growth has been the result of the radio and television programs and we thank God for calling more people to be a part of His flock.—Cristian Orrego
As we approach the kick-off date for our pilot unit of “Life, Ministry and Teachings of Jesus Christ,” the Living Education team is working to ensure the system functions as smoothly as possible. This week, we sent an e-mail to all members who are pre-enrolled in this unit, asking each person to verify his or her name, e-mail address, and Living Church of God PIN. By ensuring this information is accurate, we’ll be able to properly chart each individual’s progress through the studies. It’s certainly not a problem for a husband and wife to watch and listen to the class lectures together. Some may want to watch with their children. But to keep a clear track of each individual’s progress and receive proper credit for that progress, each person will need to log in under his or her own name, e-mail, and PIN, to move through the lesson components, including a brief quiz at the end of each lesson. It’s not too late to pre-register for our pilot unit if you haven’t already. Just go to lcgeducation.org and follow the prompts.—Jonathan McNair
New Telecast Translation Initiative
Traffic to many of our international Tomorrow’s World websites has been growing nicely year-over-year. For example, visits to the Spanish Tomorrow’s World website (elmundodemanana.org) increased by about 105 percent from January 1 to mid-July this year, compared to the same time period last year. Traffic to the Afrikaans TW website (wvm.co.za) is up about 140 percent over the same time period, and traffic to the French TW website (mondedemain.org) is up about 25 percent. One of the most effective ways to increase website traffic is by having more quality content. With this in mind, Mr. Weston recently approved a new initiative to translate about one telecast a month into Dutch and German, and load them with subtitle translation and transcripts to their respective websites. The first translation was of Mr. Smith’s telecast, “What Is the Great Tribulation?” (“Was ist die Große Trübsal?” in German, and “Wat is de Grote Verdrukking?” in Dutch). You can now find that telecast, along with the Dutch transcript and the German transcript at the respective Dutch and German websites (wereldvanmorgen.nl and weltvonmorgen.org). It will be exciting to see what “fruit” this initiative produces, and we pray that this additional content will help these websites be even more effective in the years to come.—Wyatt Ciesielka
Feast of Tabernacles
Feast of Tabernacles Sermons
Attention Pastors: The deadline to submit requests for international recipients to receive Feast CDs is July 27. Please send the Church Administration Department at email@example.com the names of those in your congregation(s) who will be unable to attend the Feast, who do not have Internet access to Feast sermons online, and who wish to receive a set of the Feast of Tabernacles sermons on CD. (Sermons are available in English, French or Spanish.) The deadline to submit these requests for U.S. recipients is August 17. Note: Feast sermons will also be uploaded (one per day) during the Feast at www.lcg.org, for those who have Internet access. The French sermons will be uploaded to www.eglisedieuvivant.org.
Attention U.S. Pastors: All Festival Assistance requests should already have been submitted to CAD.
2019 Greece Feast of Tabernacles
Pre-registration for the 2019 Feast site in Greece will be open only until July 29. We need to make firm commitments to hotels soon, so if you want to be included, please pre-register at https://goo.gl/forms/ZRWhNjtw2ECMQezQ2. Detailed plans are being worked out and information, as well as instructions for pre-registration, are on that webpage. This link is also available on the MyLCG page of our cogl.org website. If seeing this part of the world, where the Apostle Paul and other biblical figures traveled, is on your bucket list, then sign up now to have the opportunity to be on this tour.
Living Youth Program
LYP Camp Photos
If you haven’t been checking, be sure to take a look at our Living Youth website and Facebook pages to see photos from the Teen camp this past week and the two earlier Preteen Camps. It’s an excellent opportunity for you to see what the camp experience is like, and to be a part of the Youth program, even if you’re not attending. Pictures from next week’s Texas Preteen Camp will be added through the week.
LYP Texas Camp Contact Information
The Texas Preteen Camp runs from July 22 to July 27. Mail or care packages for someone at this camp may be sent to:
Attn: [person to receive mail or package]
C/O: Camp Lone Star
Athens, TX 75752
To contact the camp office, you may phone 903-830-0198 or text 704-741-3636 or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember to Rejoice: Life is full of challenges, and it is easy to get discouraged. However, the Scriptures emphasize the importance of rejoicing! The Sabbath is a time to rejoice—a time to reflect on the blessings that God provides (see Isaiah 58:13–14). The Apostle Paul urged Christians to “rejoice in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4). James states that we should rejoice when trials come along (James 1:1–4). One of the fruits of God’s Holy Spirit is joy (Galatians 5:22). One key that enables us to rejoice—even during trials—is to remember that we can “rejoice in hope” (Romans 12:12). We need to remember the hope of our calling to be in the Kingdom of God, the hope of eternal life, the hope of forgiveness of our sins. We need to remember that God promises to bring us through the trials we face (1 Corinthians 10:13) and that He promises that “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). The Sabbath is a good time to remember these reasons that God has given us to rejoice!
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—July 19, 2018
Who Will Follow Angela Merkel? For nearly 13 years, Angela Merkel has been the Chancellor of Germany. She has been called the “most powerful woman in Europe” and “the most powerful woman in the world” (Forbes, November 1, 2017). The Chancellor has been deeply involved in the great “European Experiment” we know as the EU, and she is involved in the “Brexit” process as the UK becomes the first nation to depart from the EU. Since 2005, Ms. Merkel has led a Germany that is the most populous, most powerful and richest nation in Europe. In 2015, she encouraged Germany and Europe to open their borders to one million refugees—an action that could spell the beginning of the end of her political career (Jewish World, June 28, 2018).
Today, Chancellor Merkel is struggling to hold on to power after barely cobbling together a coalition government. While some critics doubt Ms. Merkel will last through the summer, some question whether the EU will remain intact as member nations move in more nationalistic directions. The question on many minds is “Who will lead Germany and Europe—perhaps a very different Europe—in the future?”
Bible prophecies indicate that as we approach the end of this age, we will see a power emerge in Europe with clear links to the ancient Roman Empire (Daniel 2:40–45; 7:23–25). This European power is referred to as the “king of the North” in Daniel’s prophecies (Daniel 11:40–45). It is referred to as a “beast” in Revelation 17 and will be led by a person also referred to as a “beast” (Revelation 13:1–9). Initially, this person may show an interest in peace, but he will later transform—perhaps in response to world conditions—into a powerful, militaristic, arrogant leader who will gain a large following and have the audacity to blaspheme God Himself (Revelation 13:5–6). As Europe moves into a new era, we need to watch world events and be alert to the rise of this powerful and charismatic leader. For more insights into who will follow Merkel and lead Europe, read “One ‘Strongman’ to Rule Them All?”
Eels Get High in Britain! New research shows “cocaine flushed into rivers is making critically endangered eels ‘hyperactive’ and threatening their survival” (The Independent, June 20, 2018). The human body does not metabolize all drugs it ingests. Thus, drug residue from “cocaine, amphetamines and ecstasy [has found its way into] European lakes and rivers, including the Thames.” These drugs survive sewage treatment plants and wind up in the environment, and there is little understanding about their long-term effects. Research from the University of Naples showed that even in low levels of cocaine-contaminated water, “the eels’ skeletal muscle showed evidence of serious injury, including muscle breakdown and swelling, which had not healed 10 days after they were removed from the drug-contaminated water.” These results raise other questions: How will this drug residue impact fish? What about fish that are later eaten by humans, or drinking water taken from contaminated lakes and rivers?
Sadly, many human activities have unintended, long-term impacts on the natural world. The prophet Hosea foretold a time when creatures of this earth would be imperiled (Hosea 4:1–3), and the Apostle Paul lamented that “the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now” (Romans 8:22). Yet, Paul also saw a brighter future ahead when he wrote that “the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (v. 21). Humanity, in putting selfish desires before all other things, has been a poor steward of God’s creation. Yet, the Bible reveals that, one day, the creation—including the waters of the earth—will be healed (Ezekiel 47:8–9)! For more information about this exciting future, read “Oceans In Trouble!”—Scott Winnail and Francine Prater