August 2nd, 2018
Greetings from Charlotte,
Wallace Smith and I recorded Tomorrow's World telecasts for the upcoming season. I offered a brand new booklet titled, Evolution and Creation: What Both Sides Miss; and Mr. Smith offered a new DVD, The Antichrist and the Beast of Revelation, a compilation of three past Tomorrow's World programs. Some of our younger members are attending a Canadian Family Civic Weekend in the Toronto area this weekend. Tomorrow's World presentations or follow-up presentations are to be held this Sabbath and Sunday in Douglasville, Georgia; Bristol, Virginia; Rancho Cordova, California; Reno, Nevada; and Fayetteville and Russellville, Arkansas. In addition, Mr. Ames will be in Greenville, North Carolina for a second follow-up presentation in that area. Results from the first presentation and the first follow-up have been very encouraging and we hope to begin a new congregation in that area as a result. Dr. Douglas Winnail returned to Charlotte from an informative and successful trip to several western States. The Living Youth Adventure Camp is underway and the European Teen Summer Camp begins tomorrow, Friday, August 11. I signed up for the first Living Education course and found it to be an extremely simple process, taking about two minutes. If you have not yet done so, you can join the more than 1,100 others who have already signed up.—Gerald Weston
Death of Elder Jerry Clevenger
We are saddened to report the death of an elder in God's Church, Mr. Jerry Clevenger, of the Statesville, North Carolina congregation. Mr. Clevenger, an elder since 2013, died on July 24. Please remember his family, as well as the brethren in the area, in your prayers. He will be very greatly missed.
Some have asked if it is required to purchase a textbook for the upcoming "Life, Ministry and Teachings of Jesus Christ" class. The short answer is no. We will be providing an on-screen view of A.T. Robertson's Harmony of the Gospels, the study help that Dr. Meredith used for this class. However, if you would like to purchase a copy of the book, it is quite readily available and reasonably inexpensive. It is a book worth having in your reference library, along with a concordance, Bible dictionary and other basic Bible study helps. The format of the Harmony of the Gospels is quite helpful, as it positions the four gospel accounts in columns across the page, allowing the reader to see a synchronized narrative of Christ's life. Again: helpful, but not required.
If you are planning to participate in the online "Life, Ministry and Teachings of Jesus Christ" class, this is a reminder that you'll need a unique e-mail address and your Living Church of God PIN to log into the system. If you know the PIN for your head of household, but don't know the PIN for someone else in the family, just use our convenient PIN-Check system, by going to the following address: mylcghelp.azurewebsites.net. For any other questions regarding Living Education, just e-mail us at [email protected], or call the Headquarters office (704-844-1970) and ask for Living Education!—Jonathan McNair
Spanish YouTube Channel Growth!
The Spanish-language El Mundo de Mañana YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/elmundodemanana) recently passed two major milestones: more than 12 million total lifetime views, and more than 75,000 subscribers! So far this year, the El Mundo de Mañana channel has added more than 4,800,000 additional views and more than 41,000 subscribers. Most of this traffic has been from YouTube "suggesting" videos (73 percent) or from people simply browsing and finding the videos organically (15 percent). Most of these visits have come from the United States (28 percent), followed by Mexico, Colombia, Argentina and Chile. The most popular telecast on the channel is "Siete pruebas que Dios existe" ("Seven Proofs God Exists"), with more than 1.3 million lifetime views! We are very thankful for God blessing the Spanish Tomorrow's World YouTube channel and for it reaching many thousands more Spanish-speakers around the world!—Wyatt Ciesielka
Feast of Tabernacles
Activity Registration—Almost There!
We are very close to opening up activity registration on the Feast of Tabernacles website. This week, Festival Site Coordinators made final edits to activity descriptions in coordination with the Festival office. We are now finalizing those activity descriptions in preparation for activity registration. Please listen carefully to next week's The World Ahead for further instructions.
Feast Speaking Schedules—USA Being Sent Out
Mr. Weston has approved the USA Feast speaking schedules, so we are preparing the first of those to be e-mailed tomorrow. The other, non-USA Feast speaking schedules will soon follow!
The Festival Office is currently processing the Festival assistance requests for this year's Feast. We hope to have those finalized soon.
Feast of Tabernacles Sermons
Attention Pastors: The deadline to submit U.S. requests for Feast of Tabernacles sermon CDs is August 17. Please send the Church Administration Department at [email protected] the names of those in your congregation(s) who will be unable to attend the Feast, who do not have Internet access to Feast sermons online, and who wish to receive a set of the Feast of Tabernacles sermons on CD. (Sermons are available in English, French or Spanish.) Note: For those who have Internet access, Feast sermons will be uploaded (one per day) during the Feast at www.lcg.org. The French sermons will be uploaded to www.eglisedieuvivant.org. All requests for Feast sermons for international recipients should already have been sent in to CAD.
Humility—Key to Unity: King David wrote, "How good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity" (Psalm 133:1). The Apostle Paul urged Christians to "walk worthy" of your calling "with all lowliness and gentleness… endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Ephesians 4:1–3). He stated that the work of the ministry is to edify (build up) the body (the Church) "till we all come to the unity of the faith" (Ephesians 4:12–13). Paul also told the contentious Corinthians that they should be "perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment" (1 Corinthians 1:10). In order to grow together in unity, we need to understand what causes contentions that disrupt unity. The Scriptures reveal that pride is an underlying cause of contentions (Proverbs 13:10), and that pride will contribute to a person's downfall and destruction (Proverbs 16:18). Insisting on our own way also causes dissentions and strife (James 4:1). However, humility will eventually bring a person honor (Proverbs 15:33; 29:23), and true humility will promote peace and unity (James 3:13–18). Just as Jesus Christ humbled Himself and followed His Father's instructions (Philippians 2:5–9), as Christians we must be subject to government (within and without the Church) and not resist authority (Romans 13:1–2). As we learn to exercise true Godly humility and treat each other with love and respect (Romans 12:10–18), we will promote unity within the body of Christ.
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—August 2, 2018
The Growing AIDS Crisis: Contrary to popular belief, the AIDS crisis is still with us. The media seems "comfortable" with the epidemic and thus has paid it little attention over the last decade. In 2016, the most recent year with complete global AIDS statistics, nearly 37 million people were living with AIDS and nearly two million new cases were contracted each year (AIDS.gov). HIV infection rates have increased by a staggering 30 percent in Eastern Europe and Asia since 2010, and infection rates are currently increasing in 50 countries (Deutsche Welle, July 23, 2018). Even more sobering is the infection rate among adolescent females. "One girl between the ages of 15 and 19 becomes infected with HIV every three minutes, according to a UNICEF report" (Deutsche Welle, July 25, 2018). Many experts cite complacency as a major reason for the increase in HIV/AIDS infection rates in recent years. Many, including many adolescents, no longer see AIDS as a health risk to themselves or others.
Major disease epidemics have been prophesied in the pages of the Bible for millennia. God warned that degenerative and "wasting diseases" like AIDS would come upon those who reject God's life-saving laws and way of life (Leviticus 26:14–16; Luke 21:11). The Bible gives clear guidelines, which, if followed, would eliminate the causes and prevent the spread of diseases like AIDS (Leviticus 18:22; 1 Corinthians 6:18; Ephesians 5:3). The time is coming when HIV and AIDS and the suffering associated with these and other diseases will be eliminated—when Jesus Christ returns to establish His Kingdom on this earth (Isaiah 35:4–6). For more biblical information on the future of disease, read "Disease Epidemics: The Fourth Horseman."
More Heatwaves and Fires: In recent days, multiple parts of the globe have experienced searing temperatures and devastating fires. Currently, deadly fires have claimed lives, destroyed homes and scorched thousands of acres in California, western Canada, Greece, Sweden, the Netherlands and Britain, and heat is even searing Finnish Lapland above the Arctic Circle. The Economist recently stated, "Heat is causing problems across the world," and as fires burn in Siberia, "Japan is in a state of emergency" and "has declared its heatwave to be a natural disaster" (July 28, 2018).
In addition to the expensive destruction of property caused by fires, there is also the loss of lives due to both the fires and the heat itself. As the same article highlighted, "In 2003 more than 70,000 Europeans may have died as a direct result of an infernal summer." Extreme heat is especially dangerous for the elderly and very young, but it also ravages crops, decimates livestock, causes power outages and increases the risks of lightning strikes (The Telegraph, July 27, 2018). The actual costs of these current heatwaves, in terms of lives and property, will not be known for several months.
What many do not realize today is that the Bible warns that extreme temperatures will also be one of the signs of the end of the age. While the current heatwaves may not be the direct fulfillment of Bible prophecies, they provide insights into what will happen in future years. Jesus warned that famines at the end of the age will be part of the "beginning of sorrows" (Matthew 24:7–8). Later, in the book of Revelation, God warns that fires will burn up one-third of the trees and all the grass (Revelation 8:7). And at the very end, the sun will burn even hotter and scorch the earth just prior to Jesus Christ's return to rule the earth (Revelation 16:8–9). Scientists suggest there will be more frequent cycles of extreme heat in the years ahead—which the Bible also confirms, though, perhaps, for reasons far different from those that scientists will accept. To learn more about weather events to watch for in the years ahead, read or listen to Who Controls the Weather?—Scott Winnail and Francine Prater