From the Presiding Evangelist
Dear Brethren and Fellow Servants of God,
We have much to be thankful for as we enter into the seventh-month Festival season. Events certainly seem to be speeding up, hastening the time when these Feasts will be fulfilled. We often turn to Nehemiah 8 when giving sermons during this time of year. There we read of how the Jews kept the Feast of Trumpets, the Feast of Tabernacles and Last Great Day. Although it does not mention Atonement, it is almost certain that they fasted on that day. We rarely go on to read the first verse of the next chapter, which offers an interesting insight. The Last Great Day ends on the 22nd day of the month. In chapter 9, verse 1, we see that they fasted two days later, probably on the first Sabbath after the Feast. It has been a practice of the Church to have a Church-wide fast from time to time, and since we have not had one this year, I thought it would be good to do so shortly after the Feast. Some of us discussed this at a recent meeting here in Charlotte, and since many travel all over the world, it seems best to hold a fast a couple weeks following the Feast. We are therefore calling for a Church-wide fast for the Sabbath of October 20. We recognize that some individuals or Church congregations already have plans in place for that Sabbath, so it is certainly fine to choose the next day or another day close to this day. Let us plan now to voluntarily set that day aside, or one close to it, to examine and humble ourselves before our Creator, and beseech Him to strengthen and bless His Church as we see an evil time descending around us.
Sincerely, in Christ’s service,
Mr. James Meredith is being transferred to serve in the Knoxville, Tennessee area under Mr. Martin Fannin, and Mr. Lenny Bower will be coming from Knoxville to Charlotte as a ministerial trainee. The moves will occur sometime after the Feast.
Mr. and Mrs. Peter Nathan and Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Stewart are settling into their new roles in the U.K., and Mr. and Mrs. Bob Rodzaj, Mr. and Mrs. Phil West and Mr. and Mrs. Adam West are all settling into their new areas and responsibilities in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Little Rock, Arkansas, and New York state, respectively.
News Contributions from the Field—Repeat Announcement
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.
This week was the kickoff for both our online and on-campus programs! A great deal of effort has been made by a team of people to get these programs off the ground—many of whom are behind the scenes and contribute one crucial component or another, then go about their normally assigned duties. The ultimate goal is to serve you and your congregation, with the help of your elder and pastor.
Here in Charlotte, 14 young adults enjoyed orientation sessions and jumped right into the rhythm of learning a “better way of life” with their first three days of classes. With an “all-employee” lunch welcoming them to the HQ office, and then a dinner hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Weston at their home on Monday evening, our group of seven men and seven women have begun the school year.—Jonathan McNair, Director of Living Education
Feast of Tabernacles
Activity Registration Open
Activity registration is now open and Living Church of God attendees and guests may sign up for activities at the Feast. For a detailed list of instructions on how to sign up for activities for your Feast site, please see the instructions below:
To Register for Feast Activities:
Go to www.lcg.org.
Click on “Member Resources” along the left margin of the page.
Click on “MyLCG” at the top of the next page.
Log in on the next page to the “MyLCG” page with your PIN, or username and password (using your PIN is recommended).
On your “MyLCG” page, click “Activity Sign-Up” under the blue-headed section titled “Feast of Tabernacles 2018,” along the right margin of the page. This will take you to the registration page.
On the registration page, click on “Activities Sign-up” near the top right hand corner of the red-colored margin. If you are redirected to the “MyLCG” log-in page, enter your username and password again, and then click again on “Activities Sign-up” on the registration page. This will take you to the “Activity Selection” page, which will list all the activities you can sign up and pay for.
After you have registered for activities and you are ready to pay for activities, click the “Payments” button on the registration page. You may be prompted to log in again using your MyLCG PIN and password.
Select/check the activities for which you are ready to pay, then click the “CHECKOUT” button.
Select “PayPal” or “Cash or Check” to pay, then click “SUBMIT.”
If you select “PayPal,” you have the option to pay with a credit card directly or use your PayPal account. If you select “Cash or Check,” the mailing address to send a check for payment is provided. Please print the page and send it with payment to the address provided. Make checks payable to “Living Church of God.” Please don’t send cash through the postal mail.
Green Holy Day Envelopes
Green Holy Day envelopes will be mailed in the United States this week. Using these preprinted envelopes greatly speeds processing of the offerings.
Send Your Message Titles to the Festival Coordinator Right Away
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 right away. 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 as well. Thank you to all of our Feast speakers for prayerfully and thoughtfully preparing messages to inspire and encourage all of us at the Feast!
Festival Assistance—U.S. Only
The Festival Office is finalizing the Festival assistance requests for this year’s Feast. We hope to begin sending out assistance checks and notices early next week.
Feast of Tabernacles Sermons
Attention Pastors: The deadline to submit U.S. requests for Feast of Tabernacles sermon CDs is tomorrow, Friday, 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.
Called to Overcome: The Scriptures clearly teach that we must be “overcomers” if we hope to be rewarded in the Kingdom of God (Revelation 2 and 3). Overcoming involves not only recognizing and repenting of our sins and weaknesses, but developing different ways of thinking and acting—which can be quite a challenge. However, Jesus told His disciples, “be of good cheer” because He had overcome the world—indicating that we, too, can overcome the pulls of this world (John 16:33). Peter records that we must be vigilant and resist Satan’s attempts to influence our thoughts and actions by planting doubts or appealing to our desires (1 Peter 5:8-9). The Apostle John writes that to overcome Satan’s devices we need to trust God to help us through our trials (1 John 2:13; 5:4-5)—because God promises that He will bring us through the trials we face (1 Corinthians 10:13). The Apostle Paul comments, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21). This involves not only recognizing and getting rid of sins and weaknesses, but replacing negative thoughts and actions with godly thoughts and behaviors. While this is not always easy, it is possible—with God’s help (Philippians 4:13). We need to ask God for that help (Matthew 7:7-8). We also need to nourish and be led by the power of God’s Spirit (Zechariah 4:6) to really be overcomers in this life.
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—August 16, 2018
Future Prospects for Europe and Israel: Israel’s new nation-state law has angered many across the globe and especially the Arab community. The new law clearly states that Israel is “the nation-state of the Jewish people” (New York Times, July 19, 2018). Opponents have claimed that the new law discriminates against Palestinians and other ethnic groups living in Israel and limits the concept of democracy in the country.
In a recent op-ed in The National (a United Arab Emirates publication), a Palestinian member of the Israeli Knesset called for European intervention in Israel in order to ensure democracy and equality for all citizens (August 7, 2018). In his essay, Mr. Tibi offered the following plea: “The European Union and its member states have the choice of either continuing to encourage such systematic policies by ignoring reality, or they can take action in order to save the prospects of a just and lasting peace that safeguards the rights of all, Israelis and Palestinians, Christians, Druze Muslims and Jews. Being Israel’s first trade partner, Europe has enough tools to stop the madness encouraged and enabled by the Trump administration.”
The EU and Germany have made efforts in recent years to support Israel and build a trusting relationship with it. The EU has also worked to support and encourage the Palestinian cause. The future of Israel and Europe is actually prophesied in the pages of the Bible. End-time Bible prophecy reveals that the armies of the European “king of the North” will invade the Holy Land in the future and occupy it for a time (Daniel 11:40–44). With support from the Roman church, this invading force will even stop the daily sacrifices there (see Revelation 17; Daniel 11:31; 12:11; Matthew 24:15–16). For more details about Europe’s coming involvement in Israel, read or listen to The Middle East in Prophecy.
Drought and Fires! High temperatures, strong winds and months of dry weather are creating severe conditions in various parts of the world. Over 400 fires are burning in western Canada, and more than 100 fires are burning in the United States (Vancouver Sun, August 8, 2018; Reuters, August 11, 2018). Much of the state of California has been ablaze for weeks, with 18 fires currently burning. Nearly a million homes are at high or very high risk of destruction from fire (LocalSYR.com, August 13, 2018)! The Mendocino fire, the largest in California’s history, has already burned over 450 square miles (MSN, August 8, 2018). Homeowners insurance rates are expected to rise drastically as a result of the fires.
On the other side of the globe, the state of New South Wales in southeast Australia is engulfed in drought. The government is now allowing farmers to shoot kangaroos who vie with cattle over limited pasture land (Deutsche Welle, August 8, 2018). Australia’s prime minister recently made the sobering observation, “Now we are the land of drought.” Australian farmers and ranchers expect major crop failures and even cattle deaths. Wild fires are also ravaging Greece and other European nations, bringing devastation and death (The Guardian, August 12, 2018).
While some blame “global warming,” others see these weather extremes as part of predictable weather cycles. However, Bible prophecies provide additional insights. Jesus Christ warned that as we approach the end of the age, we should expect to see “famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places” and said these dramatic events are just “the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:7–8). Long ago, God warned that Israelite-descended nations at the end of the age (such as Australia, Canada and the U.S.) would experience serious drought and related consequences due to their sins and rejection of Him (Deuteronomy 28:17, 23, 38). The Bible does far more than tell us these sobering circumstances are a foretaste of what is to come—it also explains why these disasters are coming. The current drought-related events we are watching are sobering, but the Bible helps us understand both “why” and “what is next.” To learn more about this timely topic, read or listen to Fourteen Signs Announcing Christ’s Return, or go online to read or listen to Who Controls the Weather?—Scott Winnail, Ryan Dawson and Francine Prater