LCG Weekly Update 09/06/2018

Greetings from Charlotte,

Everyone is finishing up work prior to the Holy Days and Festivals that are now upon us. Mr. Ames recorded a Tomorrow’s World program this week, which will be the first of a four-part series. The program “Holidays or Holy Days” will offer the Easter booklet. The three programs to follow will focus on the seven annual biblical Festivals and Holy Days. The final program will offer the four-part series in a new DVD. Mr. Rod McNair also recorded a telecast this week.

Mr. Mario Bais sent this encouraging report regarding the Work of God in the Spanish language: “As of yesterday (August 30, 2018), the translated telecast ‘What’s Ahead for 2018 and Beyond?’ [in Spanish voiceover]… just exceeded 1 million visits in less than eight months! That broke all records so far!… It also has quite a number of ‘likes,’ being the second video with most likes on the YouTube Spanish channel, with over 8,500 likes.” Mr. Wakefield will be leaving for India this week for the Feast and to give a Tomorrow’s World Presentation in Goa. We are receiving encouraging responses to Tomorrow’s World in the Philippines, where it is airing on CNN. We are already having individuals desire to become co-workers and it has only been on the air about two months.—Gerald Weston

Church Administration

Dire Situation in Venezuela

The world continues to watch the economic collapse of Venezuela, a socialist country on South America’s Caribbean coast. The International Monetary Fund predicts that inflation will hit one million percent in 2018. That means that a $1 bar of candy purchased January 1, 2018 could cost $10,000 by the end of the year. The nation has serious shortages of food and medical supplies.

A small LCG congregation is located there, and we are carefully monitoring their situation. Our minister in Colombia, Mr. Armando Orrego, advises us that our members have the food they need. At this time, should the need arise, the Church already has sufficient emergency funds in place.

We have three radio stations in Venezuela broadcasting the El Mundo de Mañana program, and ten prospective members. Another 80 people have requested a ministerial contact, but safe travel from Colombia is not possible at this time. Hopefully, our ministry will be able to serve them soon. Please remember them all in your prayers.—Dexter Wakefield

Update on Mr. Sheldon Monson’s Injured Eye

Last spring, Mr. Sheldon Monson’s eye was injured in a freak accident while doing yard work. His vision has not improved much and a recent follow-up examination has showed that scarring on the eyeball is contributing to poor vision. After the Feast, he will be able to use a contact lens that should help to smooth the scarred surface of the eye and improve vision. It is still not known if he will again be able to read with the damaged eye. Mr. Monson wrote, “Looks like patience and persistence are needed. Not much more the doctors can do. Only God can heal the blind!” He does have limited vision in that eye now, and appreciates prayers for the restoration of normal vision.

Holy Day Envelopes (U.S. Only)—Repeat Announcement

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 records@lcg.org 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

Living Education

The pilot unit for the “Life, Ministry and Teachings of Jesus Christ” is now fully available to all members. As an additional feature, once you have completed all the lessons, you can go back and watch or listen to the lectures as part of a “playlist,” without having to go through all the lesson material. Just click on “Conclusion” at the bottom of the menu, and then click “Audio Playlist,” or “Video Playlist.” Again, you can move at your own pace through the lessons, so enjoy the learning experience! Our next unit will begin after the Feast of Tabernacles. The first lesson of the second unit will go live on October 7. Happy studying!—Jonathan McNair

Internet Department

Whiteboard Videos—Repeat Announcement

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 posting a listing of 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. You can access this information at MyLCG (cogl.org).

Before You Go… Take a Hymnal!

Brethren who don’t have a personal hymnal to take are encouraged to bring a hymnal (one or two songbooks per household) from their local congregation’s supply for use at the Feast. For those who do take a blue congregational hymnal, please be sure to bring the same hymnal(s) back to your congregation after the Feast, so that the number of hymnals returned to each congregation is equal to the number of hymnals taken. Please make sure that all hymnals are clearly marked as to which congregation they belong.

What Is Appropriate Dress at the Feast?

General Guidelines: In most modern cultures, coats, collared shirts, ties and nice slacks are considered appropriate attire for men on special occasions. This may vary in tropical climates, yet, in all climates there is a distinction between what is appropriate and what is not. 1 Timothy 2:9–10 explains that ladies should dress “in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation.” This does not include the trendy and immodest apparel that is commonplace for many women in our society today: short, tight, form-fitting dresses, necklines displaying cleavage, bare shoulders, backless dresses, belly-baring tops, etc. Our challenge as Christian men and women is to come out of this world (2 Corinthians 6:17) and recapture true values so we can be lights to a world that has lost its way (Matthew 5:14–16). This is especially true as we gather to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles—picturing Christ’s glorious reign on earth!

Beachwear

Beachwear at the Feast for ladies should be a modest one-piece or a modest tankini (covering the mid-section); and for the men, no Speedo-type swimsuits, except when pool facility rules require them. Fathers and husbands have a responsibility to be leaders in the family to teach and guide regarding what is appropriate and what is not (Ezekiel 22:26).

Special Music

In most Western-culture settings, the appropriate clothing for men doing special music is coat and tie; for ladies, a dress or skirt and blouse that are modest and conservative. Because being on an elevated platform or stage at the Feast makes hemlines appear higher than they actually are, a good rule of thumb when performing special music is for a dress or skirt to at least reach the knees, including when seated. Avoid high slits in a dress or skirt. If dress attracts undue attention, it will draw the minds of those in the congregation away from their focus on the music and worship of God. For sake of example, those chosen to be on the special music list at the Feast should dress appropriately and modestly, based on these guidelines above, at all times, even when not performing.

Elders, Deacons, Deaconesses Luncheons at the Feast—and Widows

The question sometimes comes up about whether or not a widow of an Elder or Deacon should attend the luncheon for ordained individuals which we often have at the Feast. The answer is yes! We certainly do want to honor those widows of Elders and Deacons, for the sake of the service they and their deceased mate have rendered to the Church.

Holy Day Offerings if Transferring to a Different Country

If you are traveling internationally for the Feast, it is recommended that you leave your Holy Day Offering in your home country. This will ensure that you receive proper documentation for a tax deduction, if your country allows it. You should make an additional offering at the international site you attend, and can plan accordingly. Your attention to these instructions and your use of the preprinted Holy Day envelopes is greatly appreciated.

Living Youth Program

Adventure Camp Photography Contest Deadline Extended to September 14

The deadline to submit entries in the Adventure Camp Photography Contest has been extended to September 14. All campers and staff from the Adventure Camp are encouraged to submit up to five photos each, to Mr. John Robinson at jrobinson@lcg.org. Winners will be announced on October 19.

2017 and 2018 Summer Camp Balances—Must Read—Repeat Announcement

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 jennypenman@livingyouth.org or call 704-844-1970. Thank you in advance for your help and cooperation.—Sheldon Monson

Finance

U.S. Deadline for Payments Before Feast

Please note that our last scheduled day to print checks will be Tuesday, September 18. After that date, we will not be able to print any checks again until Thursday, October 4. Any invoices we receive before September 14 will be paid before the Festival break. Any invoices we receive after September 14 may not be able to be paid until October 4.

If you have any questions concerning specific invoices or payments, please contact Lanna Moluf in the Accounts Payable Department at 704-708-2234 or Meagan Rand at 704-708-2237. You can also e-mail accounting@lcg.org.

Comments

God’s Incredible Plan: Once again in just a few days, we have the unique opportunity to rehearse the meaning of the last four Festivals in God’s Plan of Salvation—a plan that remains a mystery to the world (1 Corinthians 2:7; Ephesians 1:9; 6:19). Four Holy Days, in the short time span of twenty-three days, outline the sobering and yet exciting climax of God’s purpose for mankind. The Feast of Trumpets pictures the return of Jesus Christ and the resurrection of the saints. Atonement pictures the banishment of Satan—the source of all the world’s problems. The Feast of Tabernacles portrays the coming rule of Jesus Christ on this earth, and the Last Great Day pictures the White Throne Judgment period when all who have ever lived will have a chance to learn the Truth about God, His way of life and the ultimate purpose of human existence. As we observe these biblical Holy Days, let’s rejoice in the wonderful privilege that God has given to His people to understand His Incredible Plan (Matthew 13:10-17; 1 Corinthians 2:10-16).

Have a profitable Sabbath,

Douglas S. Winnail

News and Prophecy—September 6, 2018

More Trouble in the Vatican: Pope Francis is known around the globe as an emissary for peace and an advocate for embattled people everywhere. However, the pope has now become the focus of accusations related to the ongoing sex abuse scandals that appear to reach the highest levels of the church (New York Times, August 28, 2018).

In a recently published “testimony,” U.S. Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò accused numerous Vatican high officials of complicity in cover-ups related to sex crimes. Some of the cover-up implicates the pope and suggests he placed politics above the safety of his flock. Viganò’s accusations also point a finger at the pope’s predecessor, Benedict XVI. The Archbishop even went so far as to call for the resignation of the current pope. One journalist referred to Viganò’s “testimony” as “the most important Catholic news story since the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI” (Catholic Culture.org, August 28, 2018).

But will the current crisis within the Catholic church lead to its demise? On the contrary, Bible prophecy reveals that just before Jesus Christ returns to this earth, a powerful religious figure will come on the scene in Europe performing “great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven” (Revelation 13:11–17). This influential religious leader will be aligned with a great world church known as the “Mother of Harlots” (Revelation 17:5), and this religious leader will “ride the beast”—a political power with links to the ancient Roman Empire that will also emerge in Europe at the end of the age (Revelation 17:1–3). Despite its current troubles, the church of Rome will yet play a major role in the events at the close of this age. For more information on the future of the Catholic church, be sure to read or listen to our booklet on The Beast of Revelation.

Healing Power of Creation: For thousands of years, human beings have understood the healing power of contact with nature. Health spas and country retreats have long been used to experience the restorative power of “fresh air.” However, recent research is beginning to document the benefits of this ancient practice.

Doctors are actually beginning to prescribe spending time in contact with the natural world as a way to “combat stress and improve health” (New York Times, July 12, 2018). According to an “analysis of studies from 2010 that focused on exercising in nature found improvements in self-esteem, particularly among younger participants. Overall effects on mood were heightened when there was a stream or other body of water nearby.” Although mechanisms to explain how this all happens still evade scientists, many researchers and health professionals believe contact with nature is a powerful tool for improving and maintaining one’s health.

The Bible has long noted the positive effects of contact with God’s creation. King David wrote that spending time beside “still waters” was restorative to his soul (Psalm 23:1–3). He was moved mentally and spiritually to rejoice and meditate when he gazed on the grandeur of all God has created (Psalm 104). When David realized how small he was in the vastness of God’s creation, he was encouraged to know that God was aware of him (Psalm 8:1–6).

Today, many seek solace in shopping malls, movie theaters and sweating in gymnasiums watching exercise videos, as they live in urban high rise apartment buildings, cut off from the natural world. Yet, a wise God created human beings with the capacity to benefit mentally, physically, and spiritually from contact with His creation, where they can experience a connection with their Creator. To learn more about how the creation sheds light on the Creator, read “Seven Proofs of God’s Existence.”—Scott Winnail and Francine Prater

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