Announcements – 23 August 2014

Dear brethren,

This week the world was shocked by the brutal killing of a captured American reporter by ISIS radicals.  What a horrific world we live in!  As God’s people, we pray “Thy Kingdom come!” and yearn for the time when men will no longer behave like ravenous beasts.  What an exciting opportunity when we, reigning under Christ, will have a part in stopping these evil men in their tracks!

Meanwhile, God’s Work at HQ and around the world goes forward.  Dr. Meredith has been busy writing the co-worker letter, Holy Day member letter, and an article for the upcoming Living Church News.  He and Mr. Ames will be viewing the final cut of the Behind the Work 2014 film tomorrow.  Mr. Hernandez recorded two French telecasts this week.  Dr. Douglas Winnail has been visiting ministers and congregations in the Southwest, and will be in Dallas for the Sabbath. Mr. Jonathan McNair reports that the adventure activity held recently at Mt. Katahdin in Maine was successful.  LYC Europe has been underway this week as well. Eleven on-site Living University students met with Dr. Meredith and other HQ leaders last evening at the New Student Reception, to kick off the eighth year of Living University.  LU classes began last Monday, with a record number of 231 students registered—33 percent more than the first semester last year. Around 200 guests attended Tomorrow’s World Presentations last weekend in French Guiana; Louisville, Kentucky; and Chicago, Illinois.  My family and I had the pleasure of being in Chicago and enjoyed very much meeting TWP guests, as well as fellowshipping with brethren from all over Illinois and Southeastern Wisconsin.  This week TWPs will be conducted in St. Catharines, Ontario; and Buffalo, New York.  Please continue praying for God’s Work and His people all over the world.—R.McNair

Church Administration

Tomorrow’s World Presents in Chicago, Illinois

One hundred sixty-two visitors mingled with 68 members at the Tomorrow’s World Presentation in Chicago, Illinois, on August 16.  God blessed the presentation immensely with a truly energetic but respectful crowd.  Some of the visitors traveled from out-of-state to attend and many had been studying our literature for years.  There were a number of “Amens!” as the powerful Truth of God’s word was explained in the two presentations. Mr. Rod McNair gave the first presentation on “After Armageddon” and I gave the second on “The Mystery of God’s Holy Days.”  Many visitors, some with a Church of God background and others who were new to the Truth, asked about attending weekly services.  Members felt strongly that God intervened to bless the day in many, many ways.  We give thanks to Him for His merciful intervention and for all of the blessings!  Many thanks to all of those who helped to serve the Work of God in such a zealous way!—Phil West

Tomorrow’s World Presents in Louisville, Kentucky

A total of 73 people attended the Louisville, Kentucky, Tomorrow’s World Presentation on August 16.  I spoke about end-time events and “After Armageddon” and then Dr. John Riehm, elder in this area, explained “The Mystery of God’s Holy Days.” The feedback we received was 100 percent positive.  Quite a number of new people stated that they would be attending services this coming week.  In addition, we had three requests for visits on the Feedback Forms.  The brethren were very encouraged, both by the presentations themselves, and by the enthusiasm and interest of the visitors.  Many of the guests stayed and visited for quite some time following the presentations.—Lambert Greer

Spanish Work Update

In the last 12 months, the subscription list of our Spanish bi-monthly magazine, El Mundo de Mañana, has increased by almost 32 percent, from a circulation of 1,900 copies to 2,500 copies. We hope to reach the goal of 3,000 subscribers soon. Most of the growth is coming from literature requests submitted via our Web site www.MundoManana.org and from responses to the radio program.  We are very thankful to God for this growth.

2014 Charlotte Winter Weekend:  December 24-28—Must Read

The Charlotte congregation will once again be hosting our annual Family Weekend of fun and fellowship in December. Activities for all ages are being planned. Arrival will be Wednesday, December 24, and departure will be Sunday, December 28. Bible Studies, Sabbath services, a dinner-dance and seminars will once again be held at the Renaissance Charlotte Suites Hotel. Plans are underway for a full day of sports tournaments and games on Thursday, December 25. On Friday morning there will be various seminars for teens, young singles, mature singles and married couples, followed by activities in the afternoon. More details will be announced in the coming weeks. Please start planning now to join us for three days of spiritual rejuvenation and fellowship!—Jim Meredith

Young Adults Retreat:  December 28January 1—Must Read

Living Church of God young adults are invited to attend a Winter Retreat from Sunday afternoon, December 28, through Thursday morning, January 1.  Plans are being finalized now for this event in the mountains of western North Carolina. Activities will include skiing and other winter recreational sports, as well as Bible Studies focused on topics of interest to young Christian adults. More details and costs will be coming soon. Please put this on your calendar and plan on joining us for this event!—Jim Meredith

Feast of Tabernacles

Park City, Utah, Feast Site at Capacity

The Park City, Utah, Feast Site has reached capacity and is now closed to further transfers.

Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri

There is still space in both the Adult and Youth Choruses at the Lake of the Ozarks.  If you would like to serve by joining one of these choruses, please sign up at MyLCG.

We have also added a second Family Scenic Lake Cruise, as the first one filled up quickly.  We can accept only 120 more, so please register before it is too late.—Gene Hilgenberg, Festival Site Coordinator

Feast Speaking Schedules—Repeat Announcement

Speaking Schedules for the Feast of Tabernacles are being sent out to all those who will have speaking assignments at the Feast.  Those who are on the speaking schedule are encouraged to put in the time, prayer and preparation now—even though it’s still summer—to bring messages that are inspiring, stimulating and focus on the wonderful message of Christ’s reign on this earth! We thank all of those who will be preparing to bring spiritual nourishment to God’s Church during this highlight of the year.—Festival Office

Local Church Services on the Day of Atonement and the Sabbath after the Feast

Pastors: You should have received an e-mail requesting information about Sabbath Services on the Day of Atonement and the Sabbath immediately after the Feast.  Please respond to that e-mail by this coming Monday, August 25, so that we can compile the information and make it available to brethren who are traveling to and from the Feast sites.

Living University

Living University classes successfully began on Monday with 231 students worldwide. This was a 33 percent increase over the same semester last year and a new record for the University. This year we set another new record, with 11 on-site students in Charlotte. Registration is now closed until mid-November, when registration opens for the Spring Semester/Semester II. Those interested in learning more about Living University should visit our Web site for more information (www.livinguniv.com). Be sure to look through the online catalog. Those who might be interested in attending the on-site program for the next academic year (August 2015) should begin seriously considering this option now. Watch for more information about on-site study to appear in The World Ahead weekly update soon.

Comments

Racial tensions… soon a thing of the past!

The crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, over the last two weeks has once again highlighted the deeply divided world we live in (see News and Prophecy).  It is truly a sad state of affairs.  As Christians, we understand that God loves all mankind (John 3:16) and that every last human being—regardless of race—is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27).  God is not a respecter of persons, nor does He show partiality (Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11).  Neither should we “hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality” (James 2:1).  Paul says, “we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe” (1 Timothy 4:10).  Thank God for that!

We each come from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and we should appreciate one another’s uniqueness.  In this world, however, these differences often lead to conflict, antagonism and violence.  As members of God’s Church, we are grateful that we are all the “Israel of God” (Galatians 6:16).  As Paul said, there is “neither Jew nor Greek” when it comes to our relationship with God, and being in His household.  If we are Christ’s, then we are “Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:28-29).

When Jesus Christ returns, the way of racial antagonism will be a thing of the past.  All people will learn to appreciate one another, and treat each other with respect.  Isaiah speaks of a coming time when, “The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever” (Isaiah 32:17).  What a blessing to know that time will be coming soon.

Have a unifying and blessed Sabbath,

Rod McNair

News and Prophecy—August 21, 2014

Pope’s Star Is Rising: “He’s an ambassador of peace to a world in great need of it” wrote one journalist during the Pope’s recent visit to South Korea (Catholic News Agency, August 14, 2014). Following a mass in Seoul attended by mostly non-Catholics, the Pope performed the “beatification of 124 Korean martyrs.” A Thai woman in the audience commented “‘I think that the Pope is not just for Catholics, but for the world. He is for peace, and his kindness to the whole of humanity’ displays that” (Catholic News Agency, August 17, 2014). During his trip, the Pope also reached out to both North Korea and China (Associated Press, August 18, 2014). Bible prophecy reveals that a charismatic leader (false prophet) of a “world church” will play a dominant role at the end of the age. He will perform signs and wonders and also cause the earth to worship a political beast (Revelation 13:11-18). Revelation 17:1-6 reveals that this “mother church” will draw back her “harlot daughters.” The current Pope is unifying scattered Catholics and encouraging the Protestant “daughters” to return. Popes are known for their strategy of planning centuries ahead, and this Pope is not different. He is “setting the stage” for a powerful future revival of the church—a revival that may not be far off. For more on this topic, read our insightful article, “Who Is the Harlot of Revelation?

Divide and Conquer: Jesus Christ taught that a house divided against itself will not stand (Luke 11:17). He also taught that one of the signs of the end of the age will be “nation fighting nation”—in the inspired Greek, this means “ethnic group against ethnic group” (Matthew 24:7). When we look around the globe, we see these prophecies being fulfilled more and more as Syria, Iraq, Egypt, the Holy Land and Ukraine are torn apart by internal divisions. And the United States is not immune! Racial tensions in the U.S. have reached another high as emotions and the use of force to deal with them escalate in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson (USA Today, August 19, 2014). Powerful protests have erupted in Ferguson in response to the shooting of an 18-year-old black man. Police action against black males has created problems in several cities this summer, including Detroit and now St. Louis. The U.S. is also experiencing increasing divisions among its elected officials at the national and state levels and among its citizens. Long ago, God prophesied that the Israelite-descended nations would begin to “fall” at the end of the age, because of rejecting Him and His laws of peace and love. It will get to the point where families will become divided and turn each other in to the authorities to be killed (Mark 13:12). Leaders will care only about themselves (Isaiah 56:11-12; Ezekiel 34:1-6). One of Satan’s most powerful tools is to “divide and conquer.” He uses racial, ethnic, and religious tensions, corruption and power. One day soon though, Christ will return as the King of kings to usher in a government of perfect righteousness, love, and peace, when all people will matter and none will be overlooked. For more on this soon-coming reality, read “Perfect Government Coming Soon!

Caring for God’s Creation: Elephant ivory has been treasured for millennia, but “Researchers believe that since 2010 an average of nearly 35,000 elephants have been killed annually on the [African] continent. They warn that if the rate of poaching continues, the animals could be wiped out in 100 years” (BBC, August 18, 2014). Some areas in Africa are harder hit than others.  For example, “In Central Africa it is estimated that elephant numbers have fallen by about 60% in a decade” (ibid.). “The illegal trade in elephant tusks has soared in recent years, and a kilogram of ivory is now worth thousands of dollars” (ibid.). God long ago gave humans the job of taking care of the earth and its creatures (Genesis 1:26, 28). Today though, due to greed and lack of understanding, humanity is largely responsible for the destruction of God’s creatures and His creation. God describes how His creation is “subjected to futility” against its will and how it yearns for deliverance from the “bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Romans 8:19-21). As a result of human mismanagement, the creation actually “groans and labors” under man’s subjugation (v. 22). When Christ finally returns, not only will humanity be rewarded with peace and safety, but so, too, will creation and even the animals! Scripture reveals how different things will be for the animals after Christ’s return (see Isaiah 11:6-9). For more on this wonderful vision of God’s Kingdom, be sure to read our exciting booklet, The World Ahead: What Will It Be Like?Scott Winnail and Ron Ramsingh