Greetings from Charlotte,
I am happy to report that Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Stewart arrived safely in England to serve in the London area congregations. Mr. Peter Nathan has been in Africa conducting visits and holding meetings. Dr. Douglas Winnail attended the Saratoga Family Weekend in Wyoming and is making ministerial visits prior to his scheduled return this Tuesday. A number of us returned to Charlotte from Texas after a very successful two-week Teen Camp. The Preteen Camp in Texas wraps up this week and the teen Adventure Camp begins this coming week. The Canadian office reported last week that its short Viewpoint videos have now garnered more than one million views. Mr. Richard Ames gave a Tomorrow’s World presentation to 47 guests and 23 members in Greenville, North Carolina. Mr. Gary Stein conducted a follow-up to the Dallas TWP with 19 guests and 87 members (many members were visiting the Teen Camp near Athens, Texas or the attendance would have been higher). Dr. Richard Franz held a follow-up in Columbia, Missouri for nine guests, six of which had not attended the first presentation! Twice a year we send from Charlotte what we call a “mid-lit” offer. We call it this because it goes out approximately mid-way between the two semi-annual offers.
In it, we offer to individuals a booklet, DVD, or CD that we think they might be interested in based on what they have ordered previously. This gives us the opportunity to focus on a particular segment of our subscribers, as well as reduce over-stock items. This mid-lit offer is going out in the next couple weeks to about 60,000 subscribers and offers the CD “Vital Keys to Happiness,” a compilation of three past Tomorrow’s World telecasts.—Gerald Weston
Saratoga Family Weekend 2018
Forty-two brethren gathered in Saratoga, Wyoming, July 20-22 for three days of fellowship, good food and spiritual rejuvenation. Friday evening started the weekend with Mrs. Mary-Pat Whitfield’s famous antelope chili. Later on that evening, Mr. Ray Clore gave a very interesting presentation on “Jerusalem: Past, Present and Future” for the Bible study. His slides supported the biblical record of the Temple Mount and Jerusalem’s critical location for many prophecies talked about in the biblical text. With freshly brewed coffee and mountain air, Sabbath morning awakened the beautiful setting of the meeting hall and flowing river to portray what the Millennium will be like with God’s Spirit flowing throughout the world as it brings peace and harmony to mankind. Mr. Shawn McMillin’s sermonette on “Trials and Trust” paved the way for Dr. Winnail’s sermon on “Why We Are Here!” He covered additional topics on Saturday evening: Jesus in England; His relationship with His uncle, Joseph of Arimathea, and their possible interest in the tin trade of southwest England around Cornwall. Sunday morning continued with fellowship and a special program on Christian leadership, relationships and resources, by Dr. Winnail. We all said our goodbyes, finished packing and headed to Mr. and Mrs. Alan Williams’ for lunch and Mr. Eugene Api’s Filipino chicken adobo! We all hope to return to Saratoga next summer for the 21st Saratoga Family Weekend. Stay tuned.—Ben Whitfield
“Ezekiel’s Message” Telecast Update
The telecast, “Ezekiel’s Message Unlocked” by Mr. Weston, recently passed another milestone of more than 750,000 views on YouTube since being published in November 2016. So far, this is our highest performing YouTube video in English. It continues to generate thousands of views each week, and has so far been shared more than 8,580 times. The majority of views—more than 430,000 views, or about 57% of the total number of views—have come from YouTube “suggesting” the video when someone was watching similar or related videos. More than 225,000 views, or about 30% of the total number of views, came from people “browsing” in YouTube. Only about 0.6% of the views were a result of paid advertising. More than 384,000 of the views have been from the United States, and it has reached all around the world. For example, it has so far generated about 5,400 views from Saudi Arabia, 14,900 from Singapore, and 1,688 from Japan. Please join us in continuing to pray that this telecast, and all of our telecasts—including in multiple other languages—on YouTube, Roku and of course over cable and satellite television, continue to be effective tools in reaching millions of people around the world with the true Gospel and the Ezekiel warning.—Wyatt Ciesielka
Feast of Tabernacles
Feast of Tabernacles Sermons
Attention Pastors: The deadline to submit requests for international recipients to receive Feast CDs is tomorrow, July 27. Please send the Church Administration Department at firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
2019 Greece Feast Pre-Registration Closing
Pre-registration for the 2019 Feast site in Greece will be open only until July 29. As of right now, we have more people pre-registered than we have room to accept. If you want to be considered to attend this unique Feast site, please pre-register and pay the registration fee right away at https://goo.gl/forms/ZRWhNjtw2ECMQezQ2. If you have already registered, but have not paid the registration fee by the deadline, your name will be removed from the registration list. All current information on the tours is on this page. Please understand that you are only registering to attend the main Feast tour—the pre and post tours mentioned are optional. Detailed plans are still being worked out and information, as well as instructions for pre-registration, are on this webpage. This link is also available on the MyLCG page of our cogl.org website. Pre-registration will close permanently at the end of July 29, no other requests will be considered after that.
Defending Your Beliefs: The Bible reveals that God’s people will be persecuted for their beliefs (John 15:20) and that deceivers will try to undermine and discredit those beliefs (Matthew 24:4-5, 24). However, the Apostle Peter wrote “always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15). Peter did this on numerous occasions (Acts 3-5) and so did Stephen (Acts 7-8) and the Apostle Paul (Acts 22-26). So how can we prepare to defend our beliefs? Peter urged believers to “add to your faith virtue, [and] to virtue knowledge” (2 Peter 1:5). Paul urged Christians to “test [examine, prove] all things; hold fast what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21). He also encouraged believers to diligently study the Holy Scriptures so they can properly explain and apply them (2 Timothy 2:15). Studying one doctrine at a time is a good way to start. To avoid being misled, Christians must be able to recognize whether a teaching agrees with the Holy Scriptures or not (Isaiah 8:20), which is what the people of Berea actually did (Acts 17:11). We are living in an age that is becoming increasingly hostile to biblical beliefs, so we need to prepare to defend what we believe.
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—July 26, 2018
Crushing Inflation in Venezuela: Earlier this year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicted a 13,000 percent annualized inflation rate in Venezuela (Washington Post, July 24, 2018), yet its recent revision makes its earlier prediction seem miniscule. Experts now predict an unbelievable inflation rate of one million percent by the end of the year—a figure some local economists believe is far too low! These scary predictions harken back to the Weimar Republic in Germany prior to World War II and images of people carrying money in wheelbarrows! As a result, two million people will leave Venezuela this year—more than six percent of the population.
Just two years ago, in this nation that was once the richest in South America, cannibalism occurred in one Venezuelan prison, with prisoners killing each other for food (Reuters, October 17, 2016). How might the current financial crisis impact conditions in prisons and society? Several years ago in Zimbabwe, the government switched its currency to the U.S. dollar in order to quell hyperinflation. However, Venezuela’s dictator, Nicolás Maduro, is unlikely to follow that example—yet the country is running out of options (Washington Post, July 24, 2018).
Venezuela is an example of the impact that self-focused leaders can have on a nation. It could also be a glimpse into the future of Israelite-descended nations. Ezekiel wrote “Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock. The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them” (Ezekiel 34:2–4). Few realize these ancient prophecies have an application today. For more prophetic insights, read or listen to Fourteen Signs Announcing Christ’s Return.
Powerful STDs Strike Back—in Britain: Like many sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in their early state, Mycoplasma genitalium (MG) usually has no symptoms. This means an infected person can unknowingly transmit his or her disease to other sexual partners (BBC, July 11, 2018). The disease causes pain, fever, and bleeding, and even leads to infertility. Medical professionals are watching this bacteria mutate and develop immunity to certain antibiotics, rendering it untreatable in some cases.
The number of STD infections is increasing in many nations around the globe as high risk sexual activities are promoted as normal behavior. Public health agencies know these diseases are preventable but opt to make condom use their only advisable prevention choice. Rather than focusing on changing behaviors that cause MG and all other STDs, medical professionals are opting for politically correct solutions, which are nothing more than “band aids” that do not address the cause of the problem.
However, the Bible contains a true and lasting solution to the problem. This biblical solution totally removes the risk of infection and, if followed faithfully, could eradicate STDs entirely. God’s solution to the STD crisis plaguing humanity today is to confine sexual relations to a monogamous marriage between one man and one woman (Genesis 2:24; Exodus 20:14). This simple, time-tested behavior totally prevents exposure to these potentially deadly infectious agents and puts an end to their spread. Although our modern society balks at these effective laws for living, the Bible provides simple, easy-to-follow rules for life that can eliminate these diseases and their consequences. Imagine a world where no one is sick or dying from an STD. This can be the result of keeping just one of God’s Ten Commandments. To better understand the powerful effects of these ancient and currently applicable biblical instructions, read or listen to our booklet The Ten Commandments.—Scott Winnail, Francine Prater and Chris Sookdeo