March 28th, 2019
Greetings from Charlotte,
The annual National Religious Broadcasters convention has been going on this week in Anaheim, California. Messrs. Weston, DeSimone, and Smith are attending with their wives. This annual convention provides a valuable opportunity for those involved in the media programs of the Church to connect with agents and media outlets, and learn about recent trends in the industry. Last week, the Living Church of God conducted Tomorrow’s World presentations in Hummelstown, Pennsylvania; Laurel, Maryland; and Palm Desert and Rancho Cucamonga, California. There was a total of 200 guests. (See note below regarding an unusual experience at the Rancho Cucamonga TWP.) Two “follow-up” TWPs were conducted last weekend as well, in Lake City, Florida and in London, U.K. We try to conduct follow-up events everywhere, usually about a week after the first TWP. Conducted by the pastor, TWP follow-ups are a vital link in giving the guests a “next step,” in bringing them along toward attending Sabbath services. Please note that this Sunday is Festival Registration (see announcement below). Thank you for your prayers for the Work and for remembering our brethren who are facing difficult trials related to health, weather extremes, and political unrest.—Rod McNair
Tomorrow’s World Presentation in Rancho Cucamonga, California
Is the contribution of each local member a vital part of the success of each Tomorrow’s World presentation? Absolutely! And sometimes in unforeseen ways! Here is an example, relayed in an excerpt from the report of Pastor Rodger Bardo, on the TWP held on March 23:
In Ranch Cucamonga we had a unique experience. Members from various cultural and language backgrounds were translating and communicating the message from Mr. Wallace Smith to new people from those backgrounds. Guests included a new person from Indonesia (and we have members who speak Indonesian), a guest from Nigeria (and we have members from Nigeria), Spanish-speaking guests (our Spanish-speaking brethren came up from San Diego and they all connected well in their first languages), and two Persian gentlemen also attended as guests (and we had a member from Los Angeles communicating with him in a Persian dialect). This was the most unusual experience I have ever seen. They each seemed to find each other and then called me over to see how excited everyone was that the new people heard the message as translated into their first language. This was not planned, but was a very interesting experience to see this happen.—Rodger Bardo
Passover Focus Unit
We have begun our “Passover Focus” unit in Living Education–Online this week. More than 300 people are currently enrolled and reviewing the different facets of Passover that make this season such an important part of the year. If you’d like to get involved, just go to lcgeducation.org and look for the prompts. Or, if you don’t have access to a computer, speak to your pastor and ask his help in obtaining the information.
Blowing Rock Spring Holy Day Weekend
We still have room for a few more participants in our LivingEd-sponsored activity in the Smoky Mountains, just two hours from Charlotte. The Blowing Rock Conference Center will host our gathering as we honor God, build bonds of brotherhood, and learn more about God’s plan of salvation. If you’d like to get involved, just go to livingeducationfamily.weebly.com.
Your Online Purchases Can Benefit the Church
Did you know your online purchases can benefit the Church, at no cost to you? It’s true! Amazon has a charity program called “Amazon Smile.” When an Amazon customer purchases any item through the Amazon Smile portal, Amazon donates 0.5 percent of the price of the eligible purchase to a charity of your choice. You simply type in smile.amazon.com, select “Living Church of God” as your charity, and make your purchase as you normally would. To date, Amazon Smile has donated a total of $6,800.00 to the Living Church of God. Thank you for selecting “Living Church of God” when you shop through Amazon Smile!
Social Media Department: Facebook Passwords Mishandled
In January of this year, it was recognized that Facebook had inadvertently stored hundreds of millions of user passwords in plain text that was searchable by thousands of their employees. This news has been published by many tech news sources. It is highly recommended that those with Facebook accounts change their Facebook password. The data does not appear to have been abused, but it is wise to change your password if you haven’t already done so.
Feast of Tabernacles
Registration Begins Sunday!
It’s here! Festival registration will begin Sunday, March 31, at 12:00 noon (Eastern Daylight Time, USA). At that time—on March 31—all LCG members and guests will be invited to register for the Feast site of their choice. Festival registration will be on the Festival website, which you can access at fot2019.lcg.org or by going to lcg.org and clicking on “Feast of Tabernacles.” The Festival website is currently open and available for you to peruse, and learn about each of the Feast sites that will be held in 2019.
Williamsburg, Virginia, Feast Site: Pre-Feast Sightseeing Trip in Washington, DC
A pre-Feast sightseeing trip is planned for Thursday and Friday, October 10–11 (the two days following the Day of Atonement), in the Washington, DC area. Thursday will include a guided Big Bus tour with stops at many of the major area attractions (up to 35 stops with buses running every 15–20 minutes). Friday will include a trip to the Bible Museum in the morning and to Mount Vernon in the afternoon. Group rates have been secured for these activities. A group rate has also been secured at a hotel north of DC in Rockville, Maryland, near a Metro Station. The group will take the Metro to downtown DC. If you are interested in taking advantage of this opportunity, please check the Feast of Tabernacles microsite for Williamsburg, Virginia for details.— Sheldon Monson, Festival Site Coordinator
Congregational Assignments for the Feast of Tabernacles, USA—Repeat Announcement
To find out what Feast site your local congregation is assigned to, please consult the following list. You may request to transfer to a site other than your assigned site. Please do not make housing or travel reservations until you have registered and have been approved for your choice of site.
Cathedral City, California
Arizona: Phoenix, Prescott Valley, Tucson
California: Banning, Fresno, Garden Grove, Los Angeles, Pleasant Hill, Sacramento, San Diego, Santa Barbara
Nevada: Las Vegas, Reno
Alabama: Dothan, Birmingham, Montgomery
Florida: Ft. Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Lake City, Melbourne, Ocala, Pensacola, Tampa
Georgia: Columbus, Thomasville
Louisiana: Baton Rouge, Ferriday, Lafayette, Monroe, New Orleans
Mississippi: Jackson, Laurel, Ocean Springs
Puerto Rico: San Juan
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Kentucky: Berea, Louisville
North Carolina: Asheville, Sylva
Ohio: Akron, Cincinnati, Columbus
Tennessee: Chattanooga, Clarksville, Crossville, Etowah, Knoxville, Nashville
West Virginia: Bluefield, Charleston
Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri
Arkansas: Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Little Rock, Russellville
Kansas: Chanute, Wichita
Missouri: Columbia, Joplin, Kansas City, Rolla, St. Joseph, St. Louis, Springfield
Nebraska: Lincoln, Omaha
Oklahoma: Oklahoma City, Tulsa
Montana: Great Falls, Helena
Oregon: Myrtle Creek, Portland
Washington: Richland, Seattle/Tacoma, Tonasket
Hilton Head, South Carolina
Georgia: Atlanta, Augusta, Braselton, Warner Robins
North Carolina: Charlotte, Fayetteville, Greensboro, Greenville, Jacksonville, Kannapolis, Raleigh, Statesville
South Carolina: Anderson, Columbia, Walterboro
Texas: Abilene, Amarillo, Beaumont, Big Sandy, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Houston, Lufkin, Midland, San Antonio, Temple, The Valley
Colorado: Colorado Springs, Denver, Grand Junction
New Mexico: Albuquerque, Santa Fe
Wyoming: Casper, Cheyenne, Saratoga, Thermopolis, Wheatland
Mount Snow, Vermont
New Hampshire: Tilton
New York: Albany, Corning, New York City, Plainview, Rochester
Rhode Island: Providence
District of Columbia: Washington
Maryland: Baltimore, Salisbury
New Jersey: Hammonton, Rahway
Pennsylvania: Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Tannersville
Virginia: Norfolk, Richmond, Williamsburg, Winchester
West Virginia: Morgantown
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Illinois: Chicago, Peoria, Springfield
Indiana: Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Knox, Terre Haute
Iowa: Des Moines, Dubuque, Keokuk
Michigan: Kalamazoo, Lansing, Traverse City
Minnesota: Duluth, Minneapolis
North Dakota: Bismarck
Wisconsin: Appleton, Merrill, Milwaukee, Wisconsin Dells
Prepare for Passover: In about three weeks, we will observe the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread. These annual Festivals are a memorial of the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for our sins, and a reminder that we need to recognize and eliminate sin and inappropriate actions and attitudes from our lives. For the Passover period to be meaningful and profitable—not just a routine—we need to do our part to prepare for this important step in God’s plan of salvation. In order to put the Passover into proper perspective, it will be very helpful to read several Gospel accounts of the events in Jesus’ life that led up to the Passover, the crucifixion, and the resurrection (Matthew 21–28; Mark 11–16; Luke 21–24; John 13–21). If we place our own period of self-examination in this biblical context, this can help us appreciate the tremendous significance of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for our sins and the sins of mankind. Take some time every day, between now and the Passover, to study your Bible and meditate on what needs to change in your life to become more like Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 11:27–32; Matthew 5–7; Galatians 5:16–26). Ask God to help you see what you need to change. This will be time well spent, and it will make the Passover and the coming year more meaningful.
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—March 28, 2019
Iran Heats Up Anti-Israel Talk: “All of Israel is within range of Hezbollah’s missiles, Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Maj.-Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari said in an interview with Iranian media on Sunday” (Jerusalem Post, March 18, 2019). Most of Hezbollah’s missiles are supplied by Iran. Iran has also developed an army of drones and is producing its own submarine with ballistic missile capabilities. In addition, Iran has sent warships to defend its shipping interests in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait—the entrance to the Red Sea. “The deployment of the fleet comes two weeks after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that Israel’s navy could stop illicit Iranian oil shipments.”
Israel has built up its air defense capabilities. It maintains three different Israeli-developed air defense systems capable of defending against short-range, medium-range, and even long-range missiles that travel outside the Earth’s atmosphere. They are also integrating the American-made THAAD anti-ballistic missile defense system. Israel has a small navy and a capable air force, and they also possess nuclear weapons.
Long ago, God prophesied that Jerusalem and the land of Israel will become a trouble spot that will attract the attention of the world and that He “will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples… a very heavy stone for all peoples” (see Zechariah 12:1–3). As many nations continue to strive and struggle with the nation of Israel, the stage is being set for a great external power, most likely from Europe, to reach in and invade the Middle East. To learn more about coming events that will impact Israel and Jerusalem, be sure to watch “Will Jerusalem Survive?”
Midwest Flooding Not Over: A recent “bomb cyclone” brought devastating rains, snowmelt and flooding to the American Midwest, the region known as the “bread basket” of the United States. In Nebraska alone, officials estimate $1.4 billion in losses—mainly in crops and cattle (Smithsonian, March 21, 2019). Nebraska’s governor noted that following a flood of far less severity in 2011, it took over 100 days for flood waters to subside. Many farmers doubt they will be able to plant crops in time for this harvest year, which will impact food prices (NBC News, March 21, 2019). Many farms could go out of business.
The bomb cyclone left devastation in its wake, but that is apparently not the last of the flooding. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is forecasting severe spring weather (NOAA, March 21, 2019). Its report notes, “Nearly two-thirds of the Lower 48 states face an elevated risk for flooding through May, with the potential for major or moderate flooding in 25 states.… Additional spring rain and melting snow will prolong and expand flooding, especially in the central and southern U.S. As this excess water flows downstream through the river basins, the flood threat will become worse and geographically more widespread”—potentially impacting up to 200 million people!
Thanks to heavy winter snows and excess rain, California’s seven-year drought is now over. But California, along with much of the rest of the nation, now looks to be at risk for too much water. End-time Bible prophecies warn of increasing extreme weather, including floods and droughts. God warns that, in the Israelite-descended nations, drought will consume some cities while rain will inundate others (Amos 4:7). God also warns, “Cursed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.… the produce of your land, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks” (Deuteronomy 28:15–19). The Bible clearly indicates that these troubles will come as a result of His people turning away from Him and violating His laws (see Leviticus 26; Deuteronomy 28; Jeremiah 2:13–19). For students of the Bible, these weather extremes should not come as a surprise—but they should be sobering. For more insights into weather to expect in the future, read or listen to Who Controls the Weather?—Scott Winnail, Francine Prater, and Ray Clore