Greetings from Charlotte,
Tomorrow’s World telecasts were recorded by Messrs. Ames and Smith, and me over the last two weeks. Mr. Rodger Bardo and I conducted a Tomorrow’s World Presentation in Las Vegas for 43 guests and 20 members. Follow-up presentations were conducted in four additional cities. More than 26,000 guests have attended one of these presentations over the past ten years. Several of us met this week to plan for future presentations and leadership conferences. Our Living Education program now has over 1,300 online students working through Dr. Meredith’s “The Life, Ministry and Teachings of Jesus Christ” class. (Please note important information regarding the online program below.) We are calling for a Church-wide fast on October 20, as reported in a recent letter I wrote in The World Ahead. We will provide a live transmission at 2:00 p.m. EDT for those congregations who are able to arrange for it, considering technical availability, hall arrangements, and time differences. The sermon will also be recorded ahead of time and the recording will be available for download by those congregations that are not able to connect to the transmission.—Gerald Weston
Holy Day Envelopes (U.S. Only)
Pre-addressed green Holy Day envelopes for the fall Festivals were mailed in the U.S. the week of August 22. If you have not received yours by now, please contact us at email@example.com or call the office at 704-844-1970 and we will send you a new set. Please include your PIN (the 11-digit number above your name on mailings from Headquarters) on any correspondence. Using the pre-labeled green envelopes for your offerings speeds up the processing and saves the Work money. We also suggest that you place your envelopes with the things you take to Sabbath services so you do not forget to bring them with you on the Holy Days.—Jerry Ruddlesden
Course Time Limits
Many members and ministers are making use of the first unit of “The Life, Teachings and Ministry of Jesus Christ” course. As a reminder, none of the lessons have time limits on them, so your progress through the course is completely at your own pace. If you would like to move through the lessons at a quicker pace, leaving some of the resources for a later date, that is certainly acceptable. Once you have enrolled in the class, it will always be available for you to use or peruse. On the other hand, if you want to move through each lesson more deliberately, that is fine as well. For those who still need to enroll, here is the link: lcgeducation.org. Pastors and elders have the option to use the material in the course as they best see fit for each particular congregation, or leave it completely for members to use as personal study material. Happy studying!—Jonathan McNair
Many of you have made positive comments about the new “whiteboard” video initiative. These are designed to pack a lot of information into a visually rich and fairly fast-paced animation that will pique the interest of people looking for solid, concise, biblical answers to these particular questions. We have advertised these more than some of our other videos in order to reach a new audience. So far, these “whiteboard videos” seem to be producing good results. The three so far are: Timeline Explaining 3 Days & Nights—Easter / Passover, which has generated about 32,000 views and nearly 800 shares; Revelation’s “End of the World” Timeline Explained, with about 31,000 views and more than 230 shares, and What Happens When You Die?, with more than 20,000 views and about 200 shares. So far, most viewers have been slightly younger than our regular averages, with the 18-to-24 and the 25-to-34-years age groups typically being the biggest demographic for these videos. Thank you for your feedback, your prayers and your support for this and our many other initiatives to reach a world that so desperately needs to hear the Truth about these and so many topics! And as with all TW videos that you find most helpful, you can also help by “liking” and “sharing” these videos from time to time.—Wyatt Ciesielka
Feast of Tabernacles
PayPal Payments Deadline: Friday, September 7
Online PayPal pre-payments for Festival activities for U.S. sites must be made by Friday, September 7. This will give the Accounting Department at Headquarters time to disburse funds to the U.S. sites. After this date, brethren attending U.S. sites should wait until the Feast to pay for any additional activities. Please check with your local Festival Site Coordinator for other details of payment options at the Feast. For international sites, please check with your Festival Site Coordinator for more information.
Day of Atonement and the Sabbath Before the Feast
We are now contacting all pastors to collect information about services to be conducted on the Day of Atonement and the Sabbath before the Feast. This information includes which congregations will hold services, what time services will be held, and whom to contact for more details. After compiling this information, we’ll post it online so brethren can use it as they plan their travels.
Opening Night Service
The Feast is only a little more than three weeks away! This year, the Opening Night service will take place on Sunday evening, September 23. Everyone is encouraged to make every effort to arrive at their Feast site in plenty of time to attend this “kick-off” meeting at the beginning of the High Holy Day, which is the first day of the Feast. There will also be a special welcome message from Mr. Gerald Weston during this service. Check with your Festival Site Coordinator for the time of the Opening Night service at your site.
Living Youth Program
2017 and 2018 Summer Camp Balances—Must Read in All Congregations
If you still have an outstanding camp balance, please make every attempt to pay your 2017 and/or 2018 bill(s) as soon as possible. If you can only pay a portion now, and the balance later (hopefully by the end of the calendar year), even that would be greatly appreciated. Also, if you have received a bill, but do not think it is correct, please inform us so we can clear up the matter. You can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 704-844-1970. Thank you in advance for your help and cooperation.—Sheldon Monson
Adventure Camp 2018 Photography Contest: Deadline September 7
All participants in the Adventure Camp of 2018, staff as well as campers, are eligible to enter the Adventure Camp 2018 photography contest. Your photo entries should be sent to Mr. John Robinson at email@example.com by Friday, September 7. No more than five photo submissions per person, please. The contest winners will be announced two weeks after the contest ends.
How to Make Friends: Loneliness is one of the plagues of modern society, yet, we all want to have friends—but sometimes we lack the skills to achieve this goal. The Bible provides important guidelines for building and maintaining real friendships. Solomon advised that to have friends we must be friendly (Proverbs 18:24). We must treat people with kindness and have pure motives for our actions (Proverbs 22:11), and be supportive of others in their time of need (Proverbs 17:17). True friends will tell you the truth and offer wise counsel; they will not use flattery or spread gossip about you or other people (Proverbs 27:6, 9, 14, 17). Real friends are gracious, hospitable and concerned about the needs of others (Acts 27:3). True friendship involves being willing to make personal sacrifices for others who have needs—Jesus Christ was willing to lay down His life for people He called His friends (John 15:13). He said we can become His friends—if we follow His instructions and His example (John 15:14-15). This is how Abraham became a friend of God—by believing and obeying God (James 2:23). As people in our world become more angry, alienated and antagonistic (2 Timothy 3:1–5), let’s strive to be kind, caring and friendly people of God.
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—August 30, 2018
An Arab NATO? American President Donald Trump is facing criticism again as he plans for a fall meeting of the group of six Persian Gulf states, including the UAE and Saudi Arabia, plus Egypt and Jordan, hoping to forge what some have called an “Arab NATO” (Deutsche Welle, July 29, 2018). The purpose of this group would be a military alliance to counter Iran and other extremist groups, and bring peace and stability in the Middle East. Some also believe that such a group would have “the potential to transform the military balance in one of the world’s most unstable regions” (Washington Times, August 9, 2018). However, the future member states would need to overcome disagreements that fractured the Gulf Cooperation Council in 2017. Another item of concern is that several of these states harbored and supported major terrorist groups in the past.
Will an “Arab NATO” really work in the way that is intended? Many experts think that barriers to its existence are too numerous to overcome, yet they do see the benefits to the region if such a group could work. Bible prophecy has long foretold that an alliance or confederacy of Arab nations will form at the end of the age. What role the United States may play in this process remains to be seen. The Bible describes an Arabic “king of the South” who will ultimately end up fighting against and being overrun by a coming European “beast” power, also known as the “king of the North” (Daniel 11:40–43).
The military and political movements we are witnessing around the globe appear to be moving in the direction of fulfilling biblical prophecies about events that will occur just before the return of Jesus Christ. Few today realize that God actually guides the course of history (Daniel 4:17, 25, 32) and that the plans of men could turn out in a very different way than originally intended. To learn more about these important events, read “Five Prophetic Signs for the Middle East.”
Children Becoming Severely Obese: According to data from Public Health England, “Ten times as many children are severely obese now as was the case thirty years ago” (The Telegraph, July 24, 2018). “In just ten years, the percentage of 11-year-olds with extreme weight problems has risen by more than a fifth”—that is more than 20 percent! One National Health Service (NHS) official warned, “The country’s growing obesity epidemic poses problems for the NHS but is also extremely worrying for the nation’s overall health as obesity in childhood paves the way to obesity in adulthood, and overweight or obese people are at greater risk of a number of cancers, heart attacks, type 2 diabetes and other illnesses.”
However, obesity is not just an English problem. According to a study published in The Lancet, May 29, 2013, nearly 30 percent of the world’s population—about 2 billion people—are obese or overweight (IHME). One major cause of obesity is the production, promotion, and abundant availability of junk food—high calorie, low nutrient foods that are pre-packaged for long shelf life, and fast foods that are high in unhealthy fats. One study noted that children who remember junk food ads are twice as likely to be obese—reinforcing how powerful advertising can be. Another factor that promotes obesity is our modern sedentary lifestyle—too much TV and other passive activities, and too little physical exercise.
The Bible outlines many principles that would keep us healthy and even prevent obesity if they were followed. For example, God’s word directly steers us away from consuming many fats that are still used in many kitchens (Leviticus 7:23). The Bible also warns against overeating (Proverbs 23:21)—behavior that also leads to obesity. God’s way of life is one of balance and moderation (Philippians 4:5, KJV) and it even provides guidelines for the type of food we eat. For more insight into biblical principles to prevent obesity in children and adults, read “Biblical Principles of Health.”—Scott Winnail, Francine Prater and Chris Sookdeo