July 17, 2012
July 17th, 2012
Dear Brethren and Co-Workers with Christ,
Warm greetings to you all from Charlotte, NC! Dr. Meredith has asked me to write this month’s co-worker letter, as he has been devoting much time to videotaping sermons for the October Feast of Tabernacles, which the Living Church of God will celebrate in more than 40 nations around the world. Since turning 82 years of age in June, he has also been spending time researching and writing his autobiography—a project many of you have encouraged him to complete. Please continue to pray for his wife Sheryl, who after completing her recent cancer treatments is often feeling well enough to attend Sabbath services.
We are very, very thankful for God’s many blessings on His Work around the world. Our Mail Processing Department Manager, Mr. Gaylyn Bonjour, reports that we recently mailed Feed My Sheep—our free “Bonus DVD” sent to those who responded to last November’s semi-annual letter—to more than 44,000 households in the U.S. and around the world. Another 15,000 were sent to our regional offices for local distribution. If you have not viewed the DVD, I urge you to do so. You will see and hear encouraging and inspiring comments by our ministers from Kenya, South Africa, the Philippines, Great Britain, Australia, the Spanish-speaking and French-speaking regions and other international congregations. As Jesus said, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Matthew 9:37-38).
Brethren and co-workers, we thank all of you for doing your part laboring in the great harvest! Please continue to pray that God will call more laborers, co-workers, ministers, and servants to support His Work. Time is growing short as we approach the “crisis at the close” (Daniel 12:9, Moffatt). We have yet much work to accomplish in completing the Great Commission, but we can take encouragement from the words of the Apostle Paul, who preached in an Antioch synagogue quoting the prophet Habakkuk, “Beware therefore, lest what has been spoken in the prophets come upon you: ‘Behold, you despisers, marvel and perish! For I work a work in your days, a work which you will by no means believe, though one were to declare it to you’” (Acts 13:40-41).
The Gentiles in that synagogue responded positively to Paul’s warning! Read the following verse: “So when the Jews went out of the synagogue, the Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath” (v. 42).
God says that He will do a Work that will powerfully witness to His purpose and plan, even though the vast majority in this age will reject that message! We serve the living Christ, who said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).
Yes, it is through Christ’s power and authority that His end-time Work will be accomplished! We all need the faith and boldness of Christ to march on through these troubled times, faithfully doing our part as His zealous and profitable servants! As the Apostle Paul encourages us: “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32).
Through His power, Christ has opened more mass-media doors for the preaching of the true gospel. Just a week ago (July 10), the Tomorrow’s World telecast began airing at 6:30 a.m. Tuesdays on BET (Black Entertainment Television). BET reaches 80 million television households. Our Chinese edition of the Tomorrow’s World telecast is doing well, broadcasting in Hong Kong and in the neighboring Chinese province of Guangdong. China television requires a different format limiting the advertising of our free literature to the end of the program. Our Canadian office in Mississauga, Ontario—which produces a Chinese version of the Tomorrow’s World telecast—recently moved to a new facility, which includes a dedicated television recording studio. Mr. Gerald Weston, evangelist and Regional Director for Canada, presents most of the programs. Mr. Rod King and I have also taped several new-format programs there in the Canadian studio. Ten of our booklets have been translated into Chinese and are offered free at the end of the program. You can view these programs at LCGCanada.org/hk.php. The program is subtitled in traditional Chinese, while booklets are available in traditional and simplified Chinese as well as English. Brethren and co-workers, please pray for the success of the telecast on all of these television networks!
Technology is opening other exciting new doors for the gospel. As many of you know, with the increasing popularity of eBook readers such as iPads, Kindles and Nooks, a growing segment of the reading public no longer purchases hard-copy books. In fact, major national bookstores have closed their doors because of faltering business. Millions now prefer to read electronically. God’s Church has the responsibility of reaching out to these readers. So, we are pleased to announce that users of Apple iPad, iPhone and iPod touch devices can now download Living Church of God booklets from the Apple iBookstore! You can find the booklets by title, by author or by category, and download them absolutely free of charge for viewing with the iBooks app.
Almost from the start of its availability, one of our booklets—Dr. Jeffrey Fall’s booklet Successful Parenting: God’s Way—became the second most popular download in the iBookstore’s section for free books on the subject of parenting. Other booklets especially popular in the iBookstore so far include Dr. Meredith’s Christian Baptism: Its Real Meaning and the late Mr. John Ogwyn’s Revelation: The Mystery Unveiled! As of today, our English-language booklets have been downloaded from 17 of the 32 country-specific iBookstores—including 13 where English is not the primary language spoken.
Of course, all our booklet ePubs continue to be available at the TomorrowsWorld.org Web site for users of Nook, Sony and other ePub readers (as well as Apple devices). MOBI format booklets are also available for Amazon Kindle users. We look forward to expanding into additional online stores and formats in the future.
Many of you are certainly aware of the growing pervasiveness of mobile broadband devices. In fact, some of you are reading this letter on your smartphone! Industry experts report that by the end of 2011 there were 1.2 billion active mobile-broadband subscriptions worldwide, with 5 billion mobile-broadband subscriptions predicted by 2017! To reach these vast numbers of people with the true gospel, we are very pleased to be launching Tomorrow’s World mobile apps. They are designed to give smartphone users convenient access to the Tomorrow’s World telecast, along with magazine articles and commentaries. To find out more about installing the Tomorrow’s World app on your smartphone, go to TomorrowsWorld.org and click on the “Mobile Apps” link at the bottom of the home page.
Another exciting medium for preaching the gospel is “Roku”—a device that streams high-definition video over the Internet to people’s television sets. Since early June, more than 6,000 households around the world have installed the Tomorrow’s World Roku channel, with hundreds more installing it every week! Roku allows us to bring high-definition video of our telecasts—in English, French and Spanish—even to those who do not have over-the-air or cable access to our programs. Brethren and co-workers, if you have the technology to use Roku in your own home or office, I urge you to join the Tomorrow’s World Roku channel, and consider giving it a “5-star” rating—which will increase its popularity and potential for reaching many thousands more with the true gospel.
In another exciting milestone, the Tomorrow's World Twitter account now has more than 15,000 followers! Tomorrow's World typically sends two or three “tweets” each day, keeping followers current on prophecy trends, Bible topics, and news of the Work. You can find the Tomorrow's World Twitter account by visiting TomorrowsWorld.org and clicking on the “Twitter” icon at the bottom of the home page. Thank God for the open doors He is giving us through various media to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God!
As we near what Jesus Christ called the end of this age (Matthew 24:14)—the “time of the end” spoken of by the prophet Daniel (Daniel 8:17; 11:35; 12:4)—we must “watch and pray always” (Luke 21:36). You, our brethren and co-workers, have been called to support the preaching of the gospel—the good news of the Kingdom of God coming soon to this earth. We must remain watchful and alert to the signs of the times, as we warn the world of the soon-coming Great Tribulation, which will fall in a special way on the Western nations because of their national sins.
All around us, people are suffering. The global financial crisis continues to plague the U.S., Europe and many other Western nations. The United States, already the world’s greatest debtor nation, will soon face enormous added expense on top of its already massive financial obligations! A Barron’s article titled “Watch Out!” warns that “the costs of eldercare will drain the federal budget.” “For years, politicians and retirees could safely ignore the crisis facing America’s Social Security system. The problems lay in a distant, hazy future, far beyond the next Election Day and the next round of golf. This is now changing; the ground is starting to shake. The first of America’s 78 million baby boomers are turning 66, which means they’re eligible for full Social Security benefits…. In short, the future has arrived, and it doesn’t look pretty” (June 18, 2012, p. 23).
As our Western nations ever more brazenly reject the Ten Commandments and God’s way of life, we will pay the penalties for greed, selfishness and sin. God warns us: “The alien who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower. He shall lend to you, but you shall not lend to him; he shall be the head, and you shall be the tail” (Deuteronomy 28:43-44). Indeed, the two nations now holding the most U.S. debt are China with $1.3 trillion and Japan with $1.0 trillion.
Barron’s further reports: “Eventually, at the rate they’re growing, the combined cost of Social Security and Medicare alone will gradually take over most of the federal budget. Add in other programs, including Medicaid, and entitlements would swallow the entire budget” (ibid., p. 24).
I have had the privilege of giving several Tomorrow’s World Special Presentations, where some of you may have heard me emphasize that there is a solution to all of these problems—a solution that only a very few are willing to apply. God warns us individually and nationally, “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings” (Malachi 3:8). A tithe is a tenth of our increase or income. The Creator God owns the earth and the entire universe. He gives us every breath of life we breathe. Thankfully, thousands of you who are reading this letter have proven for yourselves the blessings that God gives to His obedient servants.
But notice the national penalty for disobedience: “‘You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it’” (Malachi 3:9-10).
If our Western nations would repent, turn to God wholeheartedly and begin tithing, their financial curses would be reversed. God’s way is the way of love. Robbery is a sin, and robbing from God brings a curse. We need to proclaim powerfully God’s true way of life, and warn our nations even more powerfully as Jesus Christ continues to open doors for preaching the gospel of the soon-coming Kingdom of God.
Thank you for your continuing prayers and support of God’s Work. Every heartfelt donation helps. Jesus commended the widow who contributed just two mites to the temple treasury (Mark 12:41-43). God will multiply our service and sacrifice.
Dear brethren and co-workers, please continue to pray for the response to the Tomorrow’s World telecast on its new television networks, and for the success of our social media initiatives. And let us all be sober and alert to the signs of the times! “You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober” (1 Thessalonians 5:5-6).
May God bless you with His grace, love and peace!
With love, in Jesus' name,
Richard F. Ames