Greetings from Charlotte,
Mr. Wallace Smith gave Tomorrow’s World Presentations last weekend in Russellville and Fayetteville, Arkansas, with 40 and 43 guests attending, respectively. Total visitor attendance at last week’s Presentations was 138. Presentations are scheduled this weekend for Sydney, Australia and Corpus Christi and Houston, Texas, with follow-ups in five additional cities. These presentations, along with their follow-ups, are a major tool for adding new members to the Church. The Canadian Family Civic Weekend was a great success, with about 180 in attendance last weekend. Living Education will be launched this week (see accompanying article below). We saw an uptick in the number of co-workers and donors in June. Our Northern Hemisphere camp season is coming to an end, with the Adventure Camp in Colorado completed and the European camp in Belgium finishing up this coming week.—Gerald Weston
Ministerial Transfers in South Africa
The Cape congregations have been without a full-time pastor for some time. To rectify this situation, Mr. Lawdi Ferreira, who has been serving in the Durban, Pretoria, and Johannesburg congregations, will move to Western Cape to fill this role. He will continue to lead the Living Youth Program in South Africa and to pastor outlying brethren in Zambia and Zimbabwe. Mr. Christo Botha, who has been serving as pastor of the Cape churches by remote, will now pastor the Durban congregation. Mr. and Mrs. Botha will continue to reside in Harrismith and operate the office support facilities in South Africa. Mr. Patrick Wallace will pastor the Swaziland congregation. Mr. Louis Bouwer will continue to pastor the Johannesburg and Pretoria congregations, assisted by Messrs. Mansie Bouwer, Roger Herbert and Patrick Wallace. These changes will take place immediately. The Ferreira family will move to Western Cape after the end of the school year in November.
News Contributions from the Field
We would like to receive brief articles related to Church-sponsored activities in our local areas, to be considered for publication in The Living Church News. These would include write-ups about family weekends, singles activities and outings of various types. Local pastors can designate one or more people to submit a short write-up describing the nature and purpose of the activity, along with several pictures taken at the event. This is an opportunity to develop both journalistic and photographic skills. Write-ups and pictures should be sent to both firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
On-site and Online Programs Begin—Must Read (for English-speaking areas)
This weekend marks the beginning of both our Charlotte on-site program, and our pilot class in our new online program. Students in our Charlotte program are arriving and preparing to begin classes on August 15. The first unit in our online class is now open for you to log in and view the introduction, and the first lesson will begin on Sunday, August 12.
New lessons in our pilot unit will be made available one by one over the course of the following weeks. There is no deadline to enroll in the courses, and you can review them at your own pace.
Those who have pre-enrolled can access the course by going to lcgeducation.org and entering their PIN or username and password that they have confirmed over the past few weeks. If you have not pre-enrolled, you may still access the class after first ensuring that you have a MyLCG account set up. For help with your MyLCG account, just go to cogl.org or lcgeducation.org.—Jonathan McNair
Spanish YouTube Channel Growth!—Repeat Announcement
The Spanish-language El Mundo de Mañana YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/elmundodemanana) recently passed two major milestones: more than 12 million total lifetime views, and more than 75,000 subscribers! So far this year, the El Mundo de Mañana channel has added more than 4,800,000 additional views and more than 41,000 subscribers. Most of this traffic has been from YouTube “suggesting” videos (73 percent) or from people simply browsing and finding the videos organically (15 percent). Most of these visits have come from the United States (28 percent), followed by Mexico, Colombia, Argentina and Chile. The most popular telecast on the channel is “Siete pruebas que Dios existe” (“Seven Proofs God Exists”), with more than 1.3 million lifetime views! We are very thankful for God blessing the Spanish Tomorrow’s World YouTube channel and for it reaching many thousands more Spanish-speakers around the world!—Wyatt Ciesielka
Feast of Tabernacles
Activity Registration Live!
Good news! Activity registration is now open! What this means is that Living Church of God attendees and guests may now sign up for activities at the Feast. How? Simply go online to the lcg.org website, click on “Feast of Tabernacles,” and follow the links. You will also find information on how to pay for activities. To pay for activities, please read and follow carefully the written instructions provided by your Festival Site Coordinator (and, of course, NEVER send CASH in the mail).
Speakers at the Feast—Send Your Message Titles to the Festival Coordinator by August 15
If you are going to be giving a sermonette or sermon at the Feast of Tabernacles, please e-mail the title(s) of your message(s) to your Festival Site Coordinator by Wednesday, August 15. If you do not have your message fully completed, that’s ok—just send your coordinator at least a draft title of what you are working on. All of the U.S.A. Feast speaking schedules have been sent out, and most of the remaining international schedules are being sent out tomorrow. Thank you to all of our Feast speakers for prayerfully and thoughtfully preparing messages to inspire and encourage all of us at the Feast!
The Festival Office is processing the Festival assistance requests for this year’s Feast. We hope to have those finalized soon.
Feast of Tabernacles Sermons
Attention Pastors: The deadline to submit U.S. requests for Feast of Tabernacles sermon CDs is August 17. 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.) Note: For those who have Internet access, Feast sermons will be uploaded (one per day) during the Feast at www.lcg.org. The French sermons will be uploaded to www.eglisedieuvivant.org. All requests for Feast sermons for international recipients should already have been sent in to CAD.
Living Youth Program
Thirty-two determined campers completed the strenuous 29-mile Four Passes Loop in the Maroon Bells wilderness area, near Aspen, Colorado. All campers and staff returned safely from the hike on Monday afternoon, and enjoyed hot showers and a home-cooked meal prepared by the base camp staff. The route included four different passes that were each over 12,400 feet in altitude. Most of the hiking was done at over 10,000 feet and at times the weather was so challenging that some other groups on the trail turned back and didn’t complete the loop.
Daily morning Bible studies throughout the trip inspired the campers and staff to push themselves and encourage those around them. Inclement weather on Friday made everyone appreciate the Sabbath even more than usual, and we spent it near a river with small waterfalls.
After completing the hike, the campers enjoyed whitewater rafting on the Colorado River on Tuesday, followed the next day by an exciting visit to Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, which is located on a mountain just above the city of Glenwood Springs, Colorado.
Everyone is happy to be back and is appreciative of the opportunity God provided and the remarkable experience they shared.—Sheldon Monson, William Long and John Robinson
Trials Test Our Faith: Jesus predicted that the end of the age would be marked by trials and turmoil on a global scale (Matthew 24). Jesus also wondered aloud, “when the Son of man [comes], shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8, KJV), and He prayed that Peter’s faith would not fail when he encountered trials and tribulation (Luke 22:32). When the challenges of life begin to mount, we need to remember that faith is one of the fruits of God’s Spirit (Galatians 5:22) and that God gives His Spirit to those who trust Him and obey His instructions (Acts 5:32). We must do our part to stir up God’s Spirit to help us overcome trials and fears (2 Timothy 1:6-7). We can also ask God for more faith (Luke 17:5). It is also important to remember that faith comes from hearing (and studying) examples of faith in God’s word (Romans 10:17). The Scriptures also state that God is faithful (Deuteronomy 7:9) and that He is like a rock and a fortress protecting His faithful people (Psalm 31:3, 23) because He has a purpose in mind for each of us. James wrote that we can rejoice in trials because “the testing of [our] faith produces patience” (James 1:1-3), and Paul reminds us that God knows our limits and that He will make a way through the trials we encounter (1 Corinthians 10:13). As trials come, let’s remember to review the examples of faith in Hebrews 11, trust in God’s promises (Romans 8:28), and look to our Father to bring us through the challenges we face.
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—August 9, 2018
Anti-American Attitudes Growing: The “America First” slogan and actions of President Trump are taking a toll on America’s allies. Recently, a German weekly stated, “Seldom has an American president exploited the country’s economic power to the degree the Trump administration has. Washington appears to be attacking German companies at every opportunity” (Der Spiegel, June 13, 2018). More than a year ago, a German writer compared President Trump to the maniacal Roman ruler Nero (Der Spiegel, February 5, 2017). German parliamentarian Norbert Röttgen referred to President Trump’s performance at the recent G7 summit as “childish” (Washington Post, June 10, 2018). European Council President Donald Tusk commented that, “with friends like that who needs enemies” (Wall Street Journal, May 16, 2018). Another German commentary noted, “Trump’s latest lies are an open attack on the German government and the European Union. This U.S. president was never a partner. He is an aggressive opponent and should be treated as such” (Der Spiegel, June 20, 2018). In spite of the undeniable domestic accomplishments of the President, his leadership style is creating a serious breach with America’s allies.
Now, as the United States scuttles long-held alliances, an international power vacuum is forming—and Germany is moving to fill the void. On a recent trip to Japan, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to propose a new alliance (Der Spiegel, July 27, 2018). “In the coming months, a network of globally oriented states is to be created that closely coordinates its foreign, trade and climate policies. ‘We need an alliance of the multilateralists,’ says Maas… an alliance that stands for the global rules and structures of the postwar order that Trump rejects.”
While Maas’ comments may appear routine, Bible prophecy sheds light on the potential implications of such thinking. Scripture foretells a strong, geopolitical force emanating from Europe that will arise at the end of the age. Led by Germany, this “great worldwide trading combine will seem to offer incredible profits to international cartels,” making nations of the world rich for a time (The Beast of Revelation, p. 39; cf. Revelation 18:3)! The future of Germany and its impact on the U.S. and the world is outlined in the pages of your Bible. For more details, be sure to read “A Clash of Eagles: America and Germany in Prophecy.”
Life on Earth Appears Unique! Is there life anywhere else besides planet Earth? Is it just a matter of time until it is discovered? Will the billions of dollars spent searching for this extraterrestrial life pay off?
Oxford University scientists have recently shed new light on these questions—light that is disappointing many of the hopeful. A study by the Future of Humanity Institute concludes, “It’s quite likely that humans are alone in the observable universe” (Fortune, June 27, 2018). The study examined “the Fermi paradox—the apparent discrepancy between the seeming likelihood of alien life, given the billions of stars similar to our sun, and the scant evidence that such life actually exists.” Oxford University scientists concluded that the probability we are alone in the universe is far greater than once thought! Theirs is not a unique conclusion, even among atheistic and agnostic scientists. Many cosmologists and other scientists have long understood that the great number of variables that need to be tuned “just right” for life to exist makes the existence of life beyond Earth nearly impossible.
The Bible focuses its attention on life-forms right here on earth—aside from those in the spirit realm (God, Jesus Christ and the angels). The fact that God is working out a plan for mankind and will ultimately place His very throne here on Earth is a telling truth (Revelation 21:1-2). God created the universe for a purpose, and central to that purpose is the creation of mankind. Earth is far more than a “pale blue dot,” as the late Carl Sagan described it. It is the focal point of the plan of God! For more exciting insights on this topic, read “Do We Live in a Multiverse?”—Scott Winnail, Francine Prater and Winston Gosse