April 4th, 2019
Greetings from Charlotte,
It was mentioned at the National Religious Broadcasters convention in Anaheim, California that Spanish-speakers share YouTube videos five times more than those who speak English, and we are certainly seeing this on our El Mundo de Mañana YouTube site. The Tomorrow’s World telecast “Ezekiel’s Message, Mystery Unveiled” has passed the 1.5 million mark. Mr. Rod King’s program on “Seven Proofs God Exists” is closing in on 1.4 million and “The Hidden Messages of John 3:16” has over 1 million views. Overall, the Spanish language YouTube channel has more than 18 million views. Mr. Hernandez and Mr. Armando Orrego are in Argentina until next Wednesday, visiting members and congregations throughout the country. We have six more Tomorrow’s World initial or follow-up presentations this weekend. Mr. Ames recorded a new telecast titled, “Seven Signs of the Second Coming.” Dr. Meredith’s book on the Protestant Reformation should be back from the printer and ready to mail in a day or two. We have our first baptism in the Philippines as a result of Tomorrow’s World going on CNN television.—Gerald Weston
Charlotte Annual BRiC Weekend
Exciting news! Plans are underway for the upcoming BRiC (Building Relationships in Christ) weekend, and we encourage any singles who can make it to consider visiting Charlotte for this occasion! The event will once again take place over Memorial Day weekend, May 24–27. For several years running, this has been a great opportunity to enjoy fellowshipping together through activities, Bible Studies, games, and special meals, all with a God-centered focus. Registration for the BRiC weekend will begin next week, so look for further updates soon for how to register and prepare. In the meantime, feel free to contact Mr. Jacob Hall ([email protected]) with any questions you might have.—William Williams
We’ve launched our Passover Focus unit to assist you in studying and preparing for the Passover. The material includes sermons, articles, and special study guides detailing why the Passover is important, what it means, how to prepare, and how to keep the Passover according to the word of God.
To access this special compilation, just go to lcgeducation.org and click on the “Access Course” button under the title “The Passover.” If you don’t have access to a computer, you may also speak to your pastor regarding downloading the material so he can assist you.—Jonathan McNair
Your Online Purchases Can Benefit the Church—Repeat Announcement
Did you know your online purchases can benefit the Church, at no cost to you? It’s true! Amazon has a charity program called “Amazon Smile.” When an Amazon customer purchases any item through the Amazon Smile portal, Amazon donates 0.5 percent of the price of the eligible purchase to a charity of your choice. You simply type in smile.amazon.com, select “Living Church of God” as your charity, and make your purchase as you normally would. To date, Amazon Smile has donated a total of $6,800.00 to the Living Church of God. Thank you for selecting “Living Church of God” when you shop through Amazon Smile!
These days, it seems as though we hear of a new data breach every other week, where passwords or financial information are exposed in one way or another. Last week we noted that Facebook was improperly storing the account passwords of millions of their users in plain text, and these passwords were accessible by as many as 2,000 employees. This incident, and others like it, highlight the need for each of us to use good security practices in our daily lives as we interact with the technology around us. It’s always a good idea to avoid using the same password on multiple websites, particularly on those sites you use to do banking or manage credit cards. E-mail services, social media platforms, or any other websites that store critical information about your identity should also be well-protected. Using password managers such as LastPass, Dashlane, or KeePass can help you to avoid using the same password too often. This recent Facebook breach is not the first incident and will almost certainly not be the last. As technology becomes more and more integrated into our lives, we must become increasingly vigilant to protect ourselves from the world around us.—Daniel Guidry, Information Technology Department
Feast of Tabernacles
Goa, India Open to International Transfers
The Goa, India site will be open to international transfers (it was previously closed to transfers). If you would be interested in transferring to Goa for the Feast, please contact Mr. Rajan Moses at [email protected].
Looking for a Place to Transfer with a Little More “Elbowroom”?
Thank you to everyone who has registered for the Feast. At this writing, over 4,000 brethren have successfully registered and been approved. If you have not registered, even if you are planning to attend your assigned site, we ask you to register soon so we will know how many more openings there may still be.
In the United States, we have a number of sites that are well below capacity, and we encourage you to consider them, if you would like to go somewhere where space won’t be at a premium! Here they are:
Sites with plenty of room left!
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Mt. Snow, Vermont
Cathedral City, California
Several other sites are approaching maximum capacity. If you are attempting to transfer to one of the following sites that are already approaching capacity, please be advised that your transfer may not be accepted:
Sites approaching capacity:
Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri
Finally, there is one site that is now at maximum capacity and CLOSED to further transfers:
Site closed to further transfers:
Williamsburg, Virginia: Pre-Feast Sightseeing Trip in Washington, DC—Repeat Announcement
A pre-Feast sightseeing trip is planned for Thursday and Friday, October 10–11 (the two days following the Day of Atonement), in the Washington, DC area. Thursday will include a guided Big Bus tour with stops at many of the major area attractions (up to 35 stops with buses running every 15–20 minutes). Friday will include a trip to the Bible Museum in the morning and to Mount Vernon in the afternoon. Group rates have been secured for these activities. A group rate has also been secured at a hotel north of DC in Rockville, Maryland, near a Metro Station. The group will take the Metro to downtown DC. If you are interested in taking advantage of this opportunity, please check the Feast of Tabernacles microsite for Williamsburg, Virginia for details.—Sheldon Monson, Festival Site Coordinator
Living Youth Program
U.S. Camp Application Deadline for Ministry and other LCG Employees
Any ministers or other employees of the Living Church of God wishing to attend any U.S. camp must apply no later than the deadline of Sunday, April 14, by midnight (Eastern Time zone). Acceptances will be approved before the end of April, and staff assignments posted in early May.—Sheldon Monson, Living Youth Director
Holy Day Envelopes (U.S. Only)
Pre-addressed green Holy Day envelopes for the spring Festivals were mailed in the U.S. the week of March 16. If you have not received yours by now, please contact us at [email protected] 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
Can You Forgive? One of the most challenging things that we must do as Christians is to forgive someone who has offended or hurt us or someone close to us. Jesus said that we must not only love our neighbors, we must also show love to our enemies (Matthew 5:43–48). This involves being able to forgive—which means developing the mind of God and learning to use the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Bible reveals that God is abundant in mercy and ready to forgive (Psalm 86:5). Jesus taught that if we do not forgive others—on a regular basis—then God will not forgive us (Matthew 6:14–15; 18:21–22). The Apostle Paul said that we should “be kind to one another… forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” and, “do not let the sun go down on your wrath” (Ephesians 4:32, 26). Real Christians cannot hold grudges or dwell on past offenses—they must learn to forgive. Jesus asked God to forgive those who crucified Him, and Stephen also made a similar request (Luke 23:34; Acts 7:60). We must do the same. As the Passover approaches, we need to carefully examine ourselves in this area of our lives (Matthew 5:21–24; 1 Corinthians 11:27–32). We need to really make an effort to remove the “beam” from our own eye instead of focusing on the speck in someone else’s eye (Matthew 7:1–5). Is there someone you need to forgive? Is there someone you need to apologize to and ask for forgiveness from? It would be good to do this before the Passover. The capacity to forgive is one of the marks of a true Christian.
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—April 4, 2019
“Nones” Vie for Top Religious Spot: Newly released General Social Survey data analyzed by Eastern Illinois University faculty member Ryan Burge indicates that the proportion of the U.S. population claiming to be “nones”—individuals with no religious affiliation—continues to rise (Religion News, March 21, 2019). Nones now make up 23.1 percent of Americans—on par with the most prevalent religious groups, Evangelicals (22.5%) and Catholics (23%).
According to Burge, “Nones have been on the march for a long time now… It’s been a constant, steady increase for 20 years now. If the trend line kept up, we knew this was going to happen.” The article discusses the powerful and sobering impact this growing proportion of nones will have on U.S. politics. Professor Burge also notes that over the last few decades, it is mainline Protestants who have been giving up their religious affiliation to become nones. While the majority of nones do believe in God (78%), they feel no need to affiliate with organized religion.
The Apostle Paul warned that one of the signs we will witness “in the last days” would be an increasing number of people “having a form of godliness but denying its power” (2 Timothy 3:5). These individuals will be part of a society the Bible describes as “lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good” (vv. 2–3). As our societies become more secular, we see more people moving away from organized religion to seek spiritual experiences of their choice, just as Bible prophecy predicts. This trend is being driven by the irrelevance and lack of answers from modern professing Christianity. To gain a better understanding of the nature of modern mainstream Christianity and how this relates to the growth of the nones, be sure to read or listen to Satan’s Counterfeit Christianity.
Bacteria Ride on Plastics: “Dangerous sewage pathogens have been found ‘hitchhiking’ on plastic litter washed up on some of Scotland’s finest bathing beaches, raising concerns from scientists the phenomenon could have far-reaching implications for human health worldwide” (The Guardian, March 11, 2019). Scientists from the University of Sterling confirmed that 45 percent of plastic particles found on five different Scottish beaches were transporting live, infectious bacteria and 90 percent of these were bacteria that cause major intestinal problems in humans.
Plastics allow infectious agents to live much longer than if they entered the ocean by themselves, basically by providing them a “life raft.” Scientists speculate that plastics from one side of the globe could easily transport bacteria, or even a virus, to another side of the world by simply floating through the oceans. So far, scientists have tested for only two types of bacteria. However, they believe that plastics are capable of supporting even more types of disease-causing agents.
While the Bible does not specifically mention plastics, Jesus Christ did warn that one of the signs of the end of the age would be an increase in “pestilences” or diseases (Luke 21:11). Plastics appear to have the potential of transporting disease-causing agents from one region of the world to another. Considering all the plastic pollution around the globe, especially in developing nations where infectious diseases run rampant, this is especially concerning. Plastics contaminated with pathogens could be one way that prophesied end-time disease epidemics will spread. For more information on the future of the world’s oceans, read “Oceans in Trouble.”—Scott Winnail, Kenneth Frank, and Francine Prater