March 14th, 2019
Greetings from Charlotte,
Dr. Douglas Winnail returns tonight from an extensive trip to hold ministerial meetings in a number of international locations, and to hold several Tomorrow’s World Presentations. Until now, Mr. Richard Ames and I co-pastored the headquarters congregation in Charlotte, and prior to that Mr. Ames and Dr. Meredith served as co-pastors. I consulted with Mr. Ames and we agreed to turn over the responsibility and title to Mr. John Strain, who will devote full time to pastoring as well as mentoring younger men that we hope to use in the field ministry. Mr. Strain is now in Charlotte and taking on these new responsibilities. Mr. Mario Hernandez made an emergency trip this week to Guatemala, to provide comfort and encouragement to a family who experienced a violent home invasion from gun and machete wielding gang members. Their lives were spared, but not without injuries. It was a traumatizing experience and highlights the dangers some of our members face. Tomorrow’s World Presentations are scheduled this weekend for Victoria, British Columbia (Canada); Lake City, Florida; St. Louis, Missouri; and Fort-de-France Martinique. Last week TWPs were held in London, England for 80 guests and 70 members; and in Gosier, Guadeloupe for 22 guests and 17 members. At least 60 first-time or repeat guests attended follow-up TWPs in several countries around the world.—Gerald Weston
Passover 2019—Repeat Announcement
Important Notice to All Pastors: Please send all requests for additional Passover Service supplies, or a copy of the Passover Service recording and letter, to the Church Administration Department at [email protected]. Also, please let us know of any scattered members who need to receive the Passover Service recording and letter instructions for observing it at home. To ensure timely delivery and to save on shipping costs, we need this information before March 19 for U.S. congregations.
Babysitting for Passover—Repeat Announcement
Each year, the question comes up for many baptized parents, “What if I need babysitting service during the Passover service?” The simplest solution we suggest is that parents make arrangements personally with a babysitter, rather than relying on the Church to provide babysitting service. Otherwise, the Church takes “care, custody, and control” of your children, which is a real legal responsibility and sets in motion a number of processes we are required to take (vetting volunteers, background checks, etc.). If, however, you have no option of working out babysitting personally, contact your pastor and discuss the situation with him.
Pastors: An e-mail has been sent to all pastors about the steps to take if you decide you will be providing babysitting service for your congregation(s).
There is a growing trend in higher education for students to take a “gap year.” This “gap” in the educational treadmill is taken most typically (but not always) between the senior year of high school and the freshman year in college. According to a recent article in Christianity Today, Harvard University is one of many colleges and universities that actually encourage this practice. The article asks, “Why would one of the most prestigious schools in the country encourage high school grads to wait to go to college?” In a nutshell, taking a year to expand one’s horizons, prepare for further training, and mature is a winning game plan for success in life.
With the Living Education–Charlotte program, you can add a more important reason: building a godly foundation for life. For young people who have grown up in the Church, a year of concentrated training in learning and living the Bible can help to strengthen the foundation that you, as parents, have built within your child’s heart and mind.
Applications are still being accepted for the 2019–2020 year. For those who have applied and met our March 1 early acceptance deadline, we will begin to send out letters this week to those who have been accepted into the program. Please note that those who apply early will be given priority with regard to our work-study positions.—Jonathan McNair
Feast of Tabernacles
Feast Website Opening
Please do not make housing reservations before registering and being approved at your Feast site! From time to time, we hear of members who contact their desired hotel before their registration transfer request has been officially approved. Some even make housing reservations before registration opens! This can result in unintended consequences for the individual, such as not getting the Church’s rate, or other confusion with the establishment. In some rare cases, when we’ve had to move a Feast site at the last minute, those who acted prematurely on housing have been left trying to get deposits reimbursed or air travel cancelled. So, for your good and everyone’s, please show love to your brethren and wait to make your arrangements until your registration or transfer request has been approved.
By the time this announcement is read, the Festival website should be open. You can find out about the Church’s Feast sites by accessing this colorful and informative website. To access, go to lcg.org and click on “Feast of Tabernacles.”
NOTE: Festival Registration is tentatively scheduled for Sunday, March 31 at 12:00 noon (Eastern Daylight Time, USA). Please do not make housing or travel reservations until you have successfully registered and been approved for your site.
Living Youth Program
Living Youth Friday Evening Bible Studies Now on Summer Break
The online Friday evening Teen Bible Studies are now suspended for the summer, and are scheduled to resume again on November 8. Archives of previous Living Youth Bible Studies can be found on the Living Youth website.—Josh Penman
LYC 2019 Europe—International Applications Invited—Repeat Announcement
The European LYC takes place in Chevetogne, Belgium from August 2–11, with staff and campers coming to this ideal location mainly from the UK and Europe. The camp is English-speaking with French translation provided, so don’t let language concerns prevent you from coming. We invite and encourage teens and staff from around the world to come and experience a smaller camp with a close, family atmosphere. You will meet and get to know our European teens during ten days of biblical instruction, and many and varied activities. Campers ages 12–19 and staff 20+ will have a chance to get a flavor of Europe and most importantly, build godly friendships to last a lifetime. Remember that the Morgan Montgomery Fund was established to help teens around the world realize their dream of participating in our Youth Camps, if there is a need, and we will do our best to help you come to LYC Europe. Camper and Staff applications are available from the UK Office ([email protected]). If you have questions, please contact Rees Ellis ([email protected]) for more details.—Simon Roberts
College Entrance Scams and Passover: The news broke this week that dozens of wealthy parents around the United States have been involved in a cheating scam to get their children into prestigious universities. In one case, a parent paid $75,000 to get his daughter a private ACT testing with a bribed proctor (“Federal Prosecutors Charge Dozens in College Admissions Cheating Scheme,” wsj.com, March 14, 2019). How could some parents feel so privileged they can dismiss basic honesty this way? When we look at modern culture today, lying and cheating is not confined to the super-wealthy elite. It has actually become common in many schools, businesses, and families. Unfortunately, for too many today, the rule is, “If you don’t get caught, it didn’t happen.”
Maybe we haven’t been personally tempted to spend $75,000 to get our kid on the fast track to college! But maybe we’ve been tempted in other ways to shade the truth, fudge the numbers, or slant the story to fit what we wanted or would make us look better. As we approach Passover, we all must be honest and ask God to show us any self-deception—the most dangerous deception of all. As David said in Psalm 19, “Cleanse me from secret faults. Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, and I shall be innocent of great transgression.” Let’s make sure we don’t assume dishonesty is confined to the rich—it’s part of human nature, which every one of us must overcome.
Have a meaningful Sabbath,
News and Prophecy—March 14, 2019
Arabs and Europeans Forge New Link: A few weeks ago, the European Union and the Arab League met in Egypt for a crucial summit—the first of several summits planned to continue into the future on a regular schedule (German Foreign Policy, February 26, 2019). “The summit was convened in accordance with Berlin’s strategic plans to play a leading role in the “arch of crisis” at Europe’s southern and southeastern borders, and counter not only the influence of Russia and China, but also of the United States.” To highlight their mutual cooperation “Brussels alludes to the fact that the EU is the Arab League’s most important trading partner”—a statement that is only partially true.
Despite strong differences between European and Arab nations in social policies and overall worldviews, leaders of the 49 nations in attendance (including 24 from the EU) came to general agreements regarding maintaining the status quo of holy sites in Jerusalem and working to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by bringing both sides to the negotiating table (Politico, February 27, 2019). European Commission President Donald Tusk commented near the end of the summit, “It is time to get real about partnership between the Arab world and Europe. We are confronted by many of the same challenges, in a geopolitical context that has become even more dangerous and unstable…. As close neighbors, we have no alternative but to work together on these and other issues.”
This summit and a future relationship between Europe and the Arab nations is especially interesting in light of Bible prophecy. The prophet Daniel, writing of global relationships at the end of the age, spoke of a European “king of the North” (also known in Revelation as the “beast”) and an Arab “king of the South.” Though Bible prophecy speaks of earth-shaking conflict to come concerning these two powers (Daniel 11), it also suggests periods of early cooperation between related nations, including against Israel (Psalm 83:3–8). At least initially, such relationships will bring wealth and prosperity to much of the world (see Revelation 18). The EU’s involvement with the Arab League is one more reminder that God’s end-time prophecies are unfolding and will come to pass, and it is one tool God could use to make this happen. For more insights into this growing, dynamic relationship, be sure to read “Coming End-Time Conflicts” and The Beast of Revelation: Myth, Metaphor, or Soon-Coming Reality?
1,000 Top Scientists Disagree with Darwin’s Evolutionary Model: A growing number of scientists—now numbering over 1,000—are joining together to voice their lack of support for Darwinian theory. As they state on their website, DissentFromDarwinism.org, “During recent decades, new scientific evidence from many scientific disciplines such as cosmology, physics, biology, ‘artificial intelligence’ research, and others have caused scientists to begin questioning Darwinism’s central tenet of natural selection and studying the evidence supporting it in greater detail” (DissentFromDarwinism.org). And these scientists are not unknown or disrespected. The website lists many who hail from top universities, including Cambridge, Oxford, Harvard, Berkeley, MIT, and UCLA. The group is international in scope as well, including members of such prestigious scientific bodies as the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Russian, Hungarian, and Czech National Academies.
This growing body of anti-Darwinism scientists proclaims, “We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.”
Darwinian evolution does have many flaws, and an increasing number of highly reputable scientists are speaking out about it. Interestingly, the Bible maintains some of the most plausible answers to the origins of life. Yet, on the other side of the ideological spectrum, many who claim they support the Biblical creation account twist the Scriptures to fit their own agendas. To find out more, read our new and fairly presented booklet on this topic, Evolution and Creation: What Both Sides Miss.—Scott Winnail, Stephen Elliott, Chris Sookdeo, and Francine Prater