August 29th, 2019
Greetings from Charlotte,
Last weekend we had Tomorrow’s World Presentations, mostly repeat presentations, in five U.S. cities, reaching 15 first-time and 10 returning guests. Upcoming presentations are scheduled for next week in Montreal, Quebec; Birmingham, U.K.; Lansing, Michigan; and Raleigh, North Carolina. A men’s training camp was held in Blowing Rock, North Carolina, for 84 men. Among the activities were exercises in proving from the Bible the doctrines of the Church against heresies. I recorded a telecast Wednesday titled, “The Problem with Christmas,” and Mr. Wallace Smith is scheduled to record a telecast this coming Wednesday. Your prayers for our Work of preaching the “good news” of the Kingdom of God and of warning this troubled world of what is to come are important to the success of our collective efforts. We hope you are profiting from the latest Tomorrow’s World and Living Church News magazines.—Gerald Weston
Why Get Pre-Engagement Counseling?
The Bible tells us that good counsel is critical for making good decisions (Proverbs 1:5; 11:14; 12:15). Marriage is one of the most important decisions of one’s life (second only to baptism). The ministry must never become a “blessing factory,” just putting the Church’s stamp of approval on a marriage, no matter what. Rather, the ministry is here to help couples seeking marriage discern God’s will as they consider making a covenant with each other before God.
While the Church has historically suggested premarital counseling for all couples considering marriage, it makes much more sense to seek pre-engagement counseling. The intended purpose of counseling has always been to help couples themselves better determine if they are “right for each other” in God’s sight and to increase their opportunity for success in a potential marriage. Regrettably, in all too many cases, once a couple is engaged, the couple’s focus is no longer on evaluating their relationship and whether or not they are right for each other. When their main concern is planning the wedding, they are far less evaluative of their relationship. Counseling can become simply an afterthought.
Pre-engagement counseling makes far more sense. The couple may be dating seriously, but they have not yet publicly committed to marriage in an engagement, and they are much more open to honestly evaluating themselves as potential marriage partners. This, in turn, gives much more opportunity for God to guide their decision-making. To better serve our membership in these critical decisions, the Church requests that all couples considering marriage seek pre-engagement counseling from the ministry before any formal engagement.
Caution on Internet Fund Requests
More and more often we see friends, relatives, church members, and total strangers requesting financial assistance over the Internet through various funding sites, such as “GoFundMe” and others. By way of examples, some requests are for medical emergencies, disaster relief, or family tragedies. Other requests are made to help fund honeymoons, business ventures, vacations, personal desires, or trips to the Feast. Members should exercise caution, using their heads as well as their hearts. Why is the request being made? Are the requests true needs or emergencies? If the request is coming from a member, it might be a good idea to seek advice from one’s minister. As in many situations involving online activities, please exercise caution when considering a donation to a funding site.—Church Administration Department
U.S. Requests for Feast Sermon CDs—Repeat Announcement
Attention U.S. Pastors: 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 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.) The deadline for these requests is September 18. Note: Feast sermons in English will be uploaded (one per day) during the Feast at www.lcg.org for those who have Internet access. French sermons will be uploaded to www.eglisedieuvivant.org and Spanish sermons to youtube.com/IDVsermones.
Children’s Lessons Art Contest
As previously announced, we are looking for artists of all ages whose work could be featured in our Special Edition Children’s Lessons for the fall Holy Days. Submit your artwork relating to the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, the Feast of Tabernacles, and the Last Great Day. Artwork can depict symbols, Church traditions, characters, or biblical scenes relating to these fall Holy Days. Of course, the second commandment must be kept in mind, and we don’t want artwork with depicted images of God, Jesus Christ, or heavenly creatures. We are especially interested in cartoon-style work, although we will accept any suitable style to use with our Special Edition Children’s Lessons publication, “God’s Fall Festivals: A Study Guide for Parents Teaching their Children God’s Way.” For more information, just go to www.lcgeducation.org/fall-holy-days-art-contest.
Feast of Tabernacles
“Know Before You Go” Feast Information Digest
Each year there are a number of issues that we all need to be aware of as we prepare to go to the Feast. We are compiling this information in a “Know Before You Go” Digest, and it is being made available to Festival Advisors on the MyLCG website. Festival Advisors, under the direction of your Pastor, please distribute the “Know Before You Go” digest to brethren in your congregations.
Deadline for Paying for Feast Activities
Feast of Tabernacles activity registration is now open. To sign up for Feast activities, go online to the lcg.org website, click on “Feast of Tabernacles,” and follow the links. To pay for activities, please read and follow carefully the written instructions provided by your Festival Site Coordinator (and, of course, never send cash in the mail). Please note: Deadline for paying online for Feast activities is Wednesday, September 25. Please check with your Festival Coordinator if you have any other questions about paying for activities at your particular site.
Titles for Feast Speaking Assignments
All those who will be giving sermons or sermonettes are asked to submit their titles to their Festival Coordinator in the next few days. Your message isn’t finalized? Don’t worry—just pass on a tentative title, if that’s all you have. Festival Coordinators: Please send a compilation of your site’s message titles to CAD by September 9.
Day of Atonement and the Sabbath Before the Feast
We are now contacting all pastors to collect information about services to be conducted on the Day of Atonement and the Sabbath before the Feast. This information includes which congregations will hold services, what time services will be held, and whom to contact for more details. After compiling this information, we’ll post it online so brethren can use it as they plan their travels.
Williamsburg, Virginia, Attractions of Interest
There are three main historical attractions in Williamsburg—Colonial Williamsburg, Yorktown, and Jamestown. You may purchase a “Triangle Ticket” online (not through the Church or the Feast microsite) should you wish to attend all three. If you wish to visit just one or two of these attractions during the Feast, we have scheduled group attendance options to secure a group rate for those interested. The schedule is: Colonial Williamsburg on Wednesday, October 16; Yorktown on Friday, October 17; and Jamestown on Sunday, October 20. If you are interested in being in those groups, you will need to meet our representative at the main gate of the attraction at 1:30 p.m., and you will pay there. Also, please note that Busch Gardens (which is next door to the Doubletree) will be open on Friday and Sunday afternoons, should you wish to take your friends and family to this attraction. Most people will take advantage of this on Friday afternoon, October 18.—Sheldon Monson, Festival Site Coordinator
Williamsburg, Virginia, Feast Site—Repeat Announcement
If you plan to attend the Feast of Tabernacles in Williamsburg, please check the Feast microsite and note a couple of changes/additions. The Singles Activity is now posted, and there are changes to the Family Day Activity. Also, please let us know if you plan to attend the Day of Atonement or the Sabbath of October 12 in Washington, DC, or if you plan to attend the Sabbath service after the Feast (October 12) in Williamsburg. We need those counts so we can plan accordingly. Finally, if you plan to come to the pre-Feast sightseeing activities that have been organized, we also need you to check those boxes. Pre-Feast activities include: Red Bus Tour of DC’s major attractions on Thursday, October 10; and the Bible Museum in the morning and Mount Vernon in the afternoon of Friday, October 11.—Sheldon Monson, Festival Site Coordinator
Boerne, Texas, Feast Site—Repeat Announcement
Reminder for those attending the Feast in Boerne, Texas, this year: Activity payments are needed at least two weeks in advance of the event. It is ideal to submit your payment when you sign up for an activity, if possible, in order that our caterers can have an accurate count for planning purposes. Please help us out by not waiting until the deadline to make your payments. For those who do not have Internet access or a computer, your Festival Advisor can help you with this. Credit card payments are preferred, but if you want to pay by check, make checks payable to the Living Church of God, and mail them to Mr. Raymond Garcia, 9706 Valley Ranch Pkwy W., Irving, TX 75063. Be sure to include what activities are being paid for, and please do not send cash through the mail. Looking forward to seeing y’all at the Feast!—Gary Stein, Festival Site Coordinator
Living Youth Program
South Africa Teen Camp 2019—Repeat Announcement
We are excited to announce that this year’s South African Teen Camp is open for registration. We will again use the Jubaweni camp facilities in Limpopo, South Africa (www.jubaweni.co.za). The camp is situated on a large game farm and surrounded by unspoilt nature, activity courses, and authentic bushveld sports fields. Camp will officially start on Saturday evening, 21 December, and all activities will end on Tuesday morning, 31 December 2019. Staff will arrive on Thursday, 19 December. There will be a Sabbath service at camp on the Saturdays of 21 and 28 December. Some of the camp activities will include daily Christian Living classes, softball, volleyball, netball, soccer, an obstacle course, a team-building course, evening ultimate frisbee, swimming, water polo, dance, arts and crafts, a game drive, and much more!
The camp is open to teens aged 12–18 and staff from age 19 and older and the cost is R2550 ($180) per person. If you would like to attend the camp or be part of the staff, please contact Mr. Lawdi Ferreira ([email protected]) to get a Camper or Staff application form.
Adventure Camp Photo Contest Winners!—Repeat Announcement
The 2019 Adventure Camp photo contest winners have been chosen! The female winner is Abigail Jolteus (15 years old). The male winner is Brandon Spencer (18 years old). Congratulations to Abigail and Brandon! They will each receive a $100 gift card to Dick’s Sporting Goods, which they may find useful for camp next year. We send a big thanks to all the campers who submitted beautiful and creative photos. Take a look at all the awesome photos on the Living Youth Program’s Facebook page!—Mike Kreyer
The Value of Hope: Having hope for the future—something positive to look forward to—is a vital aspect of life. Many have long understood that life without hope is empty. The Bible states, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick” (Proverbs 13:12). But, what is the real hope in life for a Christian? King David wrote, “You are my hope, O Lord God” and “I hope in Your word” (Psalm 71:5; 119:147). The Apostle Paul said under cross-examination before a Roman governor, “I have hope in God,” and that he believed “all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets,” including the hope of a resurrection and eternal life that he would receive at the return of Jesus Christ (Acts 24:14–15; Titus 1:2; 2:13). In the Scriptures, we are urged as Christians “to lay hold of the hope set before us” (Hebrews 6:18) and to purify ourselves (1 John 3:1–3) so we can reign with Jesus Christ in the coming Kingdom of God (Revelation 5:10). Let’s not lose sight of this incredible goal, and let’s be “ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15). We all need to be motivated by this positive and powerful hope today!
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—August 29, 2019
Confrontation over the Temple Mount! Two weeks ago, Israel’s Public Security Minister commented in a radio interview that Jews should be allowed to pray on the Temple Mount along with Muslims (Jerusalem Post, August 20, 2019). Since 1967, Jordan has been the “custodian” of the Temple Mount where only Muslims are allowed to pray and worship. For Muslims, the Al-Aqsa mosque is the third-holiest site in Islam—a location from which Muhammad ascended into the sky, according to traditional Islamic belief. For Jews, the Temple Mount is their holiest site—where both Solomon’s and Herod’s temples stood and sacrifices were offered to God.
The official’s comments have angered Jordanian officials. They subsequently summoned the Israeli ambassador and directed him to inform the Israeli government to “immediately cease all violations and attempts aimed at changing the historical and legal situation in the holy compound.” Jordan is contemplating closing the Israeli embassy in its capital and summoning the U.S. ambassador to pressure the Israeli government to avoid changing the “status quo” on the Temple Mount.
This current conflict over worship on the Temple Mount is not a new one, nor is it likely to be the last. Bible prophecy reveals that one day Jews will be allowed to resume daily religious sacrifices—a practice that is also prophesied to be brought to an abrupt end (Daniel 11:31; 12:11; Matthew 24:15). Could those coming sacrifices take place on the Temple Mount? As Richard Ames explains in The Middle East in Prophecy, “Jews are not currently allowed to publicly worship on the Temple Mount; only Muslims now have that privilege. So, it remains to be seen where the Jews will begin sacrificing. It will probably take a national crisis to precipitate that event” (p. 21). The conflict over the Temple Mount bears watching (Mark 13:37). To learn more about future events that will involve the Middle East, Jerusalem, and the Temple Mount, read or listen to The Middle East in Prophecy.
The Filtering Powers of Shellfish. Shellfish—including lobsters, oysters, mussels and crabs—are consumed by people around the globe as a gourmet delicacy—yet few realize they are dining on creatures that God created for an entirely different purpose. A recent AFP article noted, “The mussel is the hoover [vacuum cleaner] of the sea, taking in phytoplankton for nourishment along with microplastics, pesticides and other pollutants…. It’s a super-filter in the marine world, filtering up to 25 litres of water a day… [Mussels] store almost everything else that passes through—which is why strict health rules apply for those destined for human consumption” (AFP, August 18, 2019).
Because mussels store the contaminants they filter from the water (which are passed on to those who eat them), they are excellent sentinels or “bio-indicators” of the health of the waters in which they live. Scientists are now using mussels to determine which toxins are present in aquatic environments, and researchers are also considering “deploying” mussels and oysters to rid polluted waters of microplastics, pesticides, bacteria, and other environmental toxins.
Shellfish are actually scavengers—part of the “clean-up crew” for aquatic environments. Mussels and oysters were designed by God to be underwater filtration systems and actually work to purify water. They were never intended to be eaten by humans, and the Bible clearly states that these creatures are “unclean” and not a food source for people (see Leviticus 11:9–12 and Deuteronomy 14:9–10). To better understand the reasons why God created different types of creatures, be sure to read “Do You Really Want to Eat That?“—Scott Winnail and Francine Prater