December 20th, 2018
Greetings from Charlotte,
This has been a busy week in the office trying to close out the year and also prepare for the Charlotte Family Weekend (CFW). Mr. Ciesielka is handing the batons to Mr. Michael DeSimone (Television) and Mr. Daniel Guidry (Internet), and is already making Sabbath trips to the eastern North Carolina congregations he will soon pastor. Mr. John Strain is scheduled to be in town for the Family Weekend and to begin looking for housing in preparation for his move here to pastor the Headquarters congregation and work with Ministerial Trainees. Mr. Stuart Wachowicz recorded two Tomorrow’s World telecasts in Mississauga, prior to traveling here for the CFW and to touch base on a number of needs in Canada. I want to remind everyone to be extremely careful using social media and the Internet. Scams are proliferating. Long-time users recognize many of them, but they may not appear so obvious to less savvy and newer users. Even if something reportedly comes from someone you know, be careful. Hackers get into people’s e-mail lists and send out fraudulent requests for money (“I was robbed and can’t get back home—please send money”) and invitations to invest. Then there is the one where you have been chosen to help a rich widow transfer millions of dollars from another country. These are the easy ones to spot, but some schemes are becoming more sophisticated and members need to be wary. When in doubt, ask someone who knows more than you.—Gerald Weston
Mr. Nathan’s Visit to South Africa
Mr. Peter Nathan will arrive in Johannesburg, South Africa, from Bujumbura, Burundi, early on Friday, December 21. I will meet him at the airport and we will go to the Living Youth Program South African Teen Camp at Jubaweni in Limpopo, where he will deliver the sermon on the Sabbath to a congregation of campers and parents, and a Christian Living Class on Sunday, December 23.
After spending the following two days with me in Pretoria to discuss the plans and budget for 2019, and investigating a potential 2019 Feast site, Mr. Nathan plans to return to London on Tuesday evening.—Christo Botha, South Africa Office Manager
LCG Webcast Live Stream of Sabbath Service and Bible Study from Charlotte Family Weekend
LCG congregations and members are welcome to join us online for the Charlotte Family Weekend Friday night Bible Study on December 21, and for the Sabbath service on December 22. The Friday night Bible Study will begin at 7:30 p.m. (EST) and the Sabbath service will begin at 1:00 p.m. (EST). Note to technical crews: For testing purposes, the stream will be “live” beginning 30 minutes before the start of the Bible Study and Sabbath service. To join, please go to www.lcgwebcast.org, and under “Stream Site” select “Charlotte Family Weekend.” Enter the password, your name (or congregation name), and the number of people viewing (for attendance purposes). Please note: this Internet broadcast is for LCG membership, and you can find the password at your “MyLCG” account. (Just go to www.cogl.org and click on the “MyLCG” link.)
Kansas City Family Weekend—Repeat Announcement
The Kansas City congregation is ready to welcome you to the 2018 Kansas City Family Weekend from Friday, December 28, through Sunday, December 30. Our guest speaker will be Mr. Jonathan McNair. We will have many opportunities to learn more of God’s word, to fellowship, and to enjoy being with family and brethren. Please register at kclcg.org (not an official LCG website) to let us know you are coming and to sign up for the catered BBQ brisket meal.
We’d love to see your artwork or craftsmanship! If you’re planning to bring one of your projects to display, please sign up under our “Art Show” link so we can make room.
If you’ve already registered for the Sunday Activities, you’re not done yet! Click “Sunday Activities” and choose the activity you signed up for. Then build your team using the handy team-building form. Create a team and select a team captain. Then add your teammates from there. As you build your teams for the Contest of Christians, remember, it’s for all ages and a variety of skills—not just young or athletic or quick, but also for quick-witted, artistic, musical, and regular folks of all ages. For basketball or volleyball, we’ll let you decide how athletic or quick or quick-witted you want your teammates to be.
We look forward to seeing you there!—Mike Keesee
As we head into the home stretch of Unit 3 of “The Life, Ministry, and Teachings of Jesus Christ,” our current featured online class, you may feel that you have missed out. Perhaps you haven’t had time for the class. Maybe you didn’t have access to a computer, tablet or smartphone. No problem! You can still access all of the lessons up to this point, and continue to work at your own pace. Each unit is “stand-alone,” meaning you can choose to focus on either “The Early Life of Christ,” “The Judean Ministry,” or “The Galilean Ministry.” Or, if you’d like, you can enroll in our upcoming class, “Passover to the Resurrection,” the last in the series of four units. This class will focus on Christ’s last Passover with His disciples, His crucifixion, and His resurrection. This would be an excellent way to prepare for this year’s Passover!—Jonathan McNair
Living Youth Program
Online Living Youth Friday Evening Study Cancelled Next Week
There will not be an online Friday evening Teen Bible Study on December 28 because of the Kansas City Family Weekend. However, archives of previous Living Youth Bible Studies can be found on the Living Youth website. The next online Friday evening Teen Bible Study will be on Friday, January 4.
Promoting Unity: King David wrote, “how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity” (Psalm 133:1). Unity does not happen by accident; it is the result of conscious actions. The Apostle Paul advised Christians to “keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” by being humble, gentle and patient in our dealings with others (Ephesians 4:1–3). Paul also encouraged believers to be “kindly affectionate to one another” and treat others with respect and concern and strive to live peaceably together (Romans 12:10–18). Solomon noted that a virtuous woman speaks with wisdom and kindness (Proverbs 31:26), and both Paul and Peter reveal that treating others with patience and kindness are fruits of God’s Spirit (Galatians 5:22–23; 2 Peter 1:5–8). We are admonished in Hebrews 10:24–25 to be considerate and thoughtful of others and encourage each other to “stir up love and good works.” The prophet Malachi reveals that God notices and remembers how we relate to others: “Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD listened and heard them.... ‘They shall be Mine,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘on the day that I make them My jewels’” (Malachi 3:16–17). Blessings will come in this life and in the future if we develop the skills of promoting unity.
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—December 20, 2018
Missiles Fuel Rising Tensions: As the United States moves forward with plans to exit from the INF arms control treaty with Russia and also discusses placing more missiles in Europe, Russian leaders are voicing growing concerns. Recently, the Russian ambassador to the EU warned that “the US risks triggering ‘dramatic events’ if it stations missiles in Europe” (Financial Times, November 21, 2018).
While the U.S. and several of its European allies have accused Russia of breaching the current arms control treaty, Russia points to “US missile defence batteries already deployed in Romania and under construction in Poland” as also breaching the treaty. Observers warn that failure to address the issue will result in another Cold War-type arms race that could put many nations at risk in the future.
Over the last 70 years, America and Russia have had a tenuous history. Distrust, disrespect, and dishonesty have all played a role in the friction between the two very different cultures. Will the current disagreements between these two nations lead to war? Will they attack each other with nuclear weapons? Bible prophecy provides informative perspectives on these sobering questions. For more information about where events in Europe will lead, read “What’s Ahead for Russia?”
Temple Activists Dedicate an Altar: During a small ceremony on December 10, the last day of the Jewish Hanukkah festival, temple activists dedicated a portable altar just outside the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The dedication ceremony involved priests in traditional dress and a slaughtered lamb as an offering, although the sheep was slaughtered off-site. Invitations to attend the ceremony were issued to 70 nations (Jerusalem Post, December 10, 2018; Breaking Israel News, November 29, 2018).
For years, temple activists in Jerusalem have been preparing implements for use in the hoped-for future temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The purpose of the dedication of this portable altar is to be able to move onto the Temple Mount and begin sacrificing on short notice, should permission to sacrifice there be granted. Current political conditions in Jerusalem and the Middle East preclude such an event taking place in the immediate future because the Temple Mount is also holy to Muslims.
Bible prophecy reveals that in the future an altar will be erected and daily sacrifices will resume (possibly on the Temple Mount) before they are suddenly stopped (Daniel 9:26–27; 12:11). These events will occur prior to the return of Jesus Christ. The resumption of daily sacrifices by the Jews is just one of the signs that will mark His impending return. Whether the portable altar recently dedicated will be the altar upon which these end-time sacrifices occur remains to be seen. However, Jesus specifically told His disciples to watch for these events (Matthew 24:15, 42). To learn about more events that will happen prior to Christ’s return, be sure to read or listen to Fourteen Signs Announcing Christ’s Return.—Scott Winnail, Francine Prater, Jodi Bower, and Deborah Lincoln-Strange