The World Ahead Weekly Update — April 24, 2014
Greetings from Charlotte,
The Days of Unleavened Bread appear to have gone very well. Dr. Meredith attended and spoke at the weekend of activities in Greenville, South Carolina. This week he has been working on a semi-annual letter. Mr. Ames was in Charlotte for the Last Day of UB, and I spent the Sabbath and the Last Day of UB with congregations in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and Laurel, Mississippi. Mr. Wyatt Ciesielka and his family were in Joplin, Missouri; Dr. Scott Winnail and his family were with congregations in North Florida; and Mr. Jim Meredith was in Washington, D.C. Mr. Rod McNair has returned from a very positive series of visits in the Caribbean, and Mr. Hernandez will be in Santiago, Chile this Sabbath before returning to Charlotte. Mr. and Mrs. Wakefield are currently visiting the office in South Africa and will be with the Pretoria congregation this Sabbath. Please pray that God will bless the upcoming Council of Elders meetings next week and all those traveling to the Ministerial Conference here in Charlotte the first week of May.—DSW
Obituary—Mr. Don Wood
We are saddened to report that Mr. Don Wood, long-time elder from El Dorado, Arkansas, died on March 28, 2014. His funeral service was on March 31, officiated by area pastor Daniel Friz. Cards for Mrs. Wood may be sent here to Headquarters and will be forwarded to her.
The Second Passover this year should be taken shortly after sunset on Tuesday, May 13. This Passover is for those baptized members who were unable to take the first Passover due to unavoidable circumstances. The biblical instructions regarding this ceremony are found in Numbers 9:1-14.
Tomorrow’s World Presentation in Mountain Home, Arkansas
Following a steady trickle of inquiries from new people in the Mountain Home area, we decided to have a Tomorrow’s World Presentation in that small north central Arkansas city of about 12,000. We rented the largest hall we could find after a diligent search—it seated 50. Besides the chairs available at the venue, we borrowed some from the fire station and from members, storing the extras in a closet. Three hundred forty-nine invitations were sent out. To our surprise, the first guest arrived two hours early. One hour before the presentation, a trickle of guests began to come in. After fifteen minutes, the trickle became a parade. Quickly we got the extra chairs out of the closet, making a total of 64 chairs set up. Every chair filled up. Members stood up so guests could sit, and still more guests arrived. The members moved to the hallway to make more room in the meeting area. The final count was 60 new people—a 17 percent response rate! The guests hung on Mr. Cieselka’s every word and even called out answers to his questions. The atmosphere was super-charged. We may establish a Bible Study in this small city and also expect attendance in Harrison, Arkansas, to take a jump in coming weeks.—Karl Beyersdorfer
Tomorrow’s World Presentation in Montego Bay, Jamaica
The Living Church of God in Jamaica hosted a Tomorrow’s World Presentation on Sunday, April 20, in Montego Bay. We were pleased to have 50 new visitors, with 15 Church members and prospective members from all the congregations for a total attendance of 65. Mr. Rod McNair gave an insightful presentation entitled “After Armageddon: Five Keys to End-Time Prophecy.” After a short ‘coffee break,’ Area Pastor Lascelles Fraser followed up with a very positive and thought-provoking presentation on “The Mystery of God’s Holy Days.” After the presentation Mr. Fraser took questions for more than an hour. It was a ‘testing’ session as we later learned that there were three ministers in the audience who came not for understanding but to offer their beliefs. After that the visitors enjoyed finger foods and fellowship. Most were in agreement with what was presented from the Bible and were a bit impatient with the ministers and their opinions. A few asked about attending LCG Sabbath services in Montego Bay.—Lascelles Fraser
Upstate South Carolina Spring Holy Day Weekend
Over 160 brethren and guests came together in Greenville, South Carolina, for the seventh Upstate South Carolina Spring Holy Day Weekend. Visitors came from as far away as Saskatchewan, Canada. Attendees were inspired by two sermons by the Presiding Evangelist of the Living Church of God, Dr. Roderick C. Meredith. One sermon was on the book of 1 John and the other was on “Put Out the Evil Heart of Unbelief.” Area Pastor Ron Poole spoke on “A 24/7 Way of Life” on the Holy Day. Dr. Richard Franz of the Atlanta, Georgia, congregation gave a Friday evening Bible Study on “The Holy Land and the Ministry of Christ,” and Anderson elder Manuel Burdette conducted a Bible Question-and-Answer Session on Sabbath morning.
Early arrivals enjoyed a 14-mile round trip bike ride from downtown Greenville to Furman University on the Swamp Rabbit Trail. A highlight of the weekend is always the Ball, with local member Robert Pitts as deejay. This year’s theme was “The Black Hat Ball” and many wore black hats for the occasion. On Sunday, runners gathered early for the 5K road race. This year’s winners were Tyler Wayne and Michelle Meredith. Softball has always been an enjoyable activity at the weekend. This year we had four teams and the playoff game was won by the team captained by Scott Lyons. A number enjoyed the stroll to Falls Park and the Liberty Bridge on Sunday afternoon. Seeing God’s handiwork in the beauty of spring blossoms and the Reedy River Falls has been an inspiring part of this Holy Day weekend each year.
We were blessed with God’s intervention to give us sunshine for Sunday’s recreational activities and multiply the food for the picnic. We are thankful for God’s blessing this weekend and for the past seven years and especially for providing the meeting space at the premier convention hotel here, the Hyatt Regency Greenville, for free. Guests have been inspired by the setting and the beauty of downtown Greenville. Most of all, we have felt God’s inspiration in the messages presented and in the fellowship of the brethren.—Manuel Burdette
Northeast Family Weekend
Attendance numbers were up this year for the Northeast Family Weekend in Kingston, New York, as our Church family members see the benefit of spending time together while keeping the spring Feast to the Eternal. This yearly event has been an effective tool for brethren to get to know each other better and draw closer together as family, as well as feed our fervor to draw closer to God.
For spiritual meals, we were fed an unleavened diet set around the theme, “Simplify.” It was interesting and enlightening to see how well this tied in with getting sin out of our lives. Through the sermons and an interactive seminar, we examined different aspects of “simplifying” our lives, such as creating a margin between ourselves and sin, identifying distractions, learning to focus, and also loving one another.
The women prepared the fine meals they had planned ahead of time and the men took care of kitchen cleanup duties, as well as setting up the main hall for either meetings or the meals. The activities included a speakers’ banquet mixed with musical performances. There was also free time for sports, children’s activities, conversation or hiking by the river in the perfect weather our Father provided over the weekend! Love of the brethren was evident as we worked together, played together, ate together, fellowshipped together, and worshiped together.—John Hunter
Carolina Singles Weekend 2014
Why wait until the Feast of Tabernacles to spend several days in a row enjoying fellowship, activities and biblical messages with friends? You don’t have to wait! Come visit us in Charlotte, North Carolina, for the Carolina Singles Weekend from May 23-26. Registration is still open and we would be happy to have you. To register, please visit charlottelcg.org (not an official LCG Web site). The registration deadline is May 5. For those already registered and those who plan on registering, please see this Web site for the latest details. If you have any questions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. See you during Memorial Day Weekend!—Jonathan Bueno
Important Update about the “Creation Weekend”!
If you are planning to come to Cincinnati for the “Creation Weekend” over May 24-26, then please register on our Web site as soon as possible! Just head over to ohiolcg.org (not an official LCG Web site) and click on any of the “Creation Weekend” links, where you will find the Registration Form and information on costs and housing.
Mr. Richard Ames plans to be at the weekend, along with Mr. John Robinson and myself, talking about science and the Bible, the dinosaurs and so-called “human” fossils, and a proper understanding of God’s wonderful Creation. Along with a group visit to the Creation Museum and crafts for young children, it should be a great family weekend!
Space may be limited and some of the hotel discounts are time-sensitive, so please register on ohiolcg.org as soon as possible! When space fills up, we may need to close down registration to ensure we have enough room and materials for everyone.
So, get online, register, and we’ll see you in Cincinnati!—Wallace Smith
Omaha, Nebraska, Visit to the Henry Doorly Zoo—June 22—Repeat Announcement
Come to Omaha, Nebraska, for an inspiring and interesting weekend of fellowship and a visit to the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo, June 21-22. You are invited to join us on the Sabbath of June 21 for services at Ralston High School at 1:30 p.m., followed by a covered-dish meal. The following morning we will visit Omaha’s renowned Henry Doorly Zoo and have an opportunity to tour all of the spectacular exhibits. More information will follow as the date approaches, so mark your calendars and plan to spend an exciting weekend with your brethren in the Midwest.—Brian Pomicter
Feast of Tabernacles
Feast Registration Update
More than 5,700 brethren have successfully registered and received approval for their Feast site of choice. If you have not already registered, go to fot2014.lcg.org and sign in with your MyLCG log-in information.
As a reminder, the sites that are closed are: Myrtle Beach, SC; Navarre, FL; Gatlinburg, TN; Jamaica and Argentina.
Still lots of room in… Barbados!
Once again this year the Feast of Tabernacles will be held on the south coast of Barbados—the easternmost of the windward islands of the Caribbean. Barbados is a beautiful island, full of history and friendly people. God’s people in Barbados are loving, focused on pleasing Him, and on seeking first His Kingdom. They are wonderful hosts for the Feast of Tabernacles and their zeal and excitement for God’s Truth is infectious.
We are planning to have the Feast once again at the Barbados Beach Club, which overlooks the turquoise waters and white sands of the southern Caribbean. The peace and tranquility afforded by the view and sound of the surf add a priceless element to the flavor of God’s Feast. Cruise the blue tranquil waters of the Caribbean along the beautiful west coast, taste unique cuisine, or just enjoy the sun on warm, white sandy beaches. The friendliness of the local brethren will encourage you to rejoice beyond your expectations!
To register for this site, go to fot2014.lcg.org and log in with your MyLCG log-in information. You can also contact the Festival Coordinator, Mr. Clyde Skeete, by phoning +1-246-422-7873 or by e-mail: email@example.com.
2014 Israel Feast Tour—Repeat Announcement
A few Feast sites are closed to further transfers but Israel still has room! A number of people have recently dropped out for health and other personal reasons, so we have some space on the Israel Tour. If spending the Feast of Tabernacles where Jesus, the Apostles, and many other of God’s servants did sounds interesting to you, check out the itinerary and pricing on the fot2014.lcg.org Web site. If you are able to join this amazing Feast tour, please register on your MyLCG page as soon as possible.—Jim Meredith
Living Youth Programs
No Online Teen Bible Study on May 2
There will be no online Teen Bible Study on Friday evening, May 2. However, archives of previous Living Youth Bible Studies, including last evening’s on “God’s Seven-Thousand-Year Plan,” can be found on the Living Youth Web site.—Sheldon Monson
Registration for LYC 2014 Camps
We are still accepting staff applications for the Texas Pre-teen camp, as well as Staff and Campers for the Pre-teen camps in Missouri and West Virginia and for the Teen camp in Ohio. However, our Texas Pre-teen camp is now at capacity for campers. Any further camper applications for the Texas camp will be placed on a waitlist.—Sheldon Monson
Trials Test Our Faith: The Apostle Paul warned, “know this, that in the last days perilous times will come” (2 Timothy 3:1). Jesus predicted that the end of the age would be marked by increasing trials and turmoil on a global scale (Matthew 24), and He wondered aloud, “when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). Jesus also prayed that Peter’s faith would not fail when he encountered trials and tribulation (Luke 22:32). When the challenges of life begin to mount, we need to remember that faith is one of the fruits of God’s Spirit (Galatians 5:22) and that God gives His Spirit to those who trust Him and obey His instructions (Acts 5:32). We must do our part to stir up God’s Spirit to help us overcome our trials and fears (2 Timothy 1:6-7). We can also ask for more faith (Luke 17:5). We need to remember that faith comes from hearing (and studying) God’s word (Romans 10:17) which states that God is faithful (Deuteronomy 7:9) and that He is like a rock and a fortress that protects and preserves His faithful people (Psalm 31:3, 23). James wrote, “the testing of your faith produces patience” (James 1:3-4). Let’s do our part to build faith by studying the examples of faith recorded in Hebrews 11, as we strive to please God and stay focused on His plan.
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—April 24, 2014
A Trigger for the Beast! Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its threats to intervene in eastern Ukraine have triggered a sobering response from the European nations—a region where the future Beast of Revelation will arise. “Speaking to press after a regular meeting of EU defence ministers in Luxembourg on Tuesday (15 April), the deputy chief of the EU’s external action service, Maciej Popowski, said: ‘We’ve had 70 years of peace now [in Europe], but we see that power politics is back with a vengeance, so it’s a wake-up call and now we need to get serious about defence’… The EU discussion comes after member states last December pledged to co-operate more strongly on defence, but with few concrete results so far” (EU Observer, April 16, 2014). Bible prophecy reveals that at the time of the end, a German-led European power, known as the king of the North (the Beast) will respond to a threat from the Islamic “king of the South” and ultimately take control of Jerusalem (Daniel 11:40-43). Current Russian actions appear to be pushing European nations to pull together and further develop their military capabilities—ultimately coming one step closer to fulfilling ancient Bible prophecies. For more on the future of Europe, be sure to read our insightful article entitled “Shadows Over Europe.”
Is Britain a Christian Country? In a recent article for an Anglican publication, Prime Minister David Cameron commented on the need for more Christian values in politics (responsibility, hard work, love, compassion, etc.). He then stated that Britain is a “Christian country”—alluding to Britain’s state church (New York Times, April 21, 2014). But critics jumped on Mr. Cameron’s comments, pointing out that Britain is “not a ‘Christian country’” (ibid.). The Telegraph published an open letter to Mr. Cameron, signed by more than 50 public figures who labeled his comments as “divisive” and reminding him that Britain is predominantly a “non-religious society” (The Telegraph, April 20, 2014). The sad truth is that this once professing-Christian nation, which brought order and justice to much of the world, is no longer the moral leader that it once was—just as God prophesied several thousand years ago. God warned that because of their sins, He would cast the “whole posterity of Ephraim” out of His sight (Jeremiah 7:15). God predicted that the British-descended nations (Ephraim) would be “joined to idols” (Hosea 4:17) and filled with “harlotry” (Hosea 5:3)—which will bring serious consequences. For more on this sobering topic, read our article on “Britain’s Religious Demise.”
Did Jesus Have a Wife? A papyrus unveiled in 2012 has just been pronounced “authentic” by archaeologists. The four by eight centimeter fragment known as the “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” contains the phrase, written in Coptic, “Jesus said to them, ‘My Wife…’” (New York Times, April 10, 2014). Experts date the papyrus to between 500 and 900 AD, based on handwriting and grammar (The Telegraph, April 10, 2014). Some scholars, however, find the assertion in the fragment absurd. One Egyptologist from Brown University believes “that the fragment was forged because it contained ‘gross grammatical errors,’ and each word in it matched writing in the Gospel of Thomas” (New York Times). The Gospel of Thomas is a Gnostic gospel widely viewed by many theologians to be a work of “historical fiction.” Also, the late date of the papyrus is a problem—when the true biblical Gospel accounts can be dated to the first century AD. While none of the biblical accounts in the Gospels give any indication that Jesus had a wife, Gnostic writings contain numerous heretical ideas. The Apostle Paul warned Christians to “avoid foolish disputes” (Titus 3:9). For more information on Gnosticism, read our informative article on “A Different Gospel?”—Scott Winnail, Chris Sookdeo and Deborah Lincoln-Strange