September 12th, 2019
Greetings from Charlotte,
Mr. Richard Ames recorded a Tomorrow’s World telecast asking, and answering, the question of whether there will ever be: “Peace in the Middle East?” This weekend, Tomorrow’s World Presentations, either initial events or follow-ups, will be conducted in Fredericton and Moncton, New Brunswick; Raleigh, North Carolina; Okemos, Michigan; Allentown, Pennsylvania; and Naseby, Northants, United Kingdom. Carol and I returned from a very uplifting weekend in Wisconsin Dells, where I gave the sermon on the Sabbath and Mr. Rand Millich and I conducted a Ministerial Conference. It was great seeing some old friends and meeting new ones. We have significantly improved the speed with which someone can order a booklet online, and are already seeing good results. We are also seeing a significant rise in the number of GOTOs this year over the past two years. Canadian Director Mr. Stuart Wachowicz updated me on a couple projects they are working on, and you will hear more about them shortly.—Gerald Weston
U.S. Requests for Feast Sermon CDs—Last Call
Attention U.S. Pastors: Next Wednesday, September 18 is the deadline to request Feast sermons for members who will not be able to attend the Feast. Please send the Church Administration Department at [email protected] the names of those in your congregation(s) who will not be able 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.) 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.
As you prepare for this fall Festival season, take advantage of our new Feast of Trumpets Focus Unit. This short study course is similar to our Passover Focus Unit, which was published this past spring. It highlights different aspects of the Feast of Trumpets with articles and study helps, along with exclusive interviews with Mr. Weston, Mr. Ames, and other authors of various articles explaining aspects of this special day. Just go to lcgeducation.org to begin!—Jonathan McNair
Feast of Tabernacles
September 25: Deadline for Paying for Feast Activities
To sign up for Feast activities, please 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.
Day of Atonement and the Weekly Sabbath Before the Feast
We are now posting a listing of 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. You can access this information at MyLCG (cogl.org).
Those Not Going to the Feast
While excitement is growing for most of us as we plan for the upcoming Feast, we understand some brethren will not be able to attend, for health or other reasons. If you are among those not able to attend the Feast, please note that Feast of Tabernacles sermons are uploaded (one per day) during the Feast at lcg.org for those who have Internet access. Also, many of our Festival sites will offer remote, live services to shut-ins. If you are a shut-in wishing to make connection via Internet livestream or phone hook-up, please contact the Festival Coordinator for the Feast site you are assigned to. If you don’t know what Feast site your congregation is assigned to, please check with your Festival Advisor.
Williamsburg, Virginia: Added Activity for Singles
Singles Mixer (ages 36 and up)
Location: Riverwalk Restaurant, 323 Water Street, Suite A-1, Yorktown, VA 23690
Date: Wednesday, October 16, 2019
Cost: $30 per person (price includes tax, service charge, and tip)
Description: Riverwalk Restaurant is an ideal location for this year’s “Singles Mixer.” This fine restaurant is located on the York River in beautiful historic Yorktown. Appetizers will include Seared Tuna with Sticky Rice and Wasabi Sauce, Beef Tenderloin Sliders, Caprese Skewers, Sweet and Sour Chicken Bites, and Slow Braised Short Rib Sliders. The Riverwalk will ensure that everyone has plenty of food to eat! A cash bar will be available all evening—at an additional/individual expense. Come and enjoy the evening on the York River in an elegant private banquet room and get to know other singles attending the Feast in Williamsburg.
U.S. Deadline for Payments Before Feast
Please note that our last scheduled day to print checks will be Thursday, October 10. After that date, we will not be able to print any checks again until Thursday, October 24. Any invoices we receive before October 7 will be paid before the Festival break. Any invoices we receive after October 7 may not be able to be paid until October 24.
If you have any questions concerning specific invoices or payments, please contact Michelle Broussard in the Accounts Payable Department at 704-708-2234 or Meagan Meredith at 704-708-2237. You can also e-mail [email protected].
Holy Day Envelopes (U.S. Only)
Green Holy Day envelopes for the fall Festivals were mailed on August 28. If you have not received yours by now, please contact us at [email protected] or call the office at 704-844-1970 and we will send you a new set. Please include your PIN (the 11-digit number above your name on mailings from Headquarters) on any correspondence. Using the pre-labeled green envelopes for your offerings speeds up processing and saves the Work money. We also recommend that you place your envelopes with your church materials so you do not forget to take them with you to Holy Day services.—Jerry Ruddlesden
What Does God Require? People often say, “I just want to do God’s will”—but what is it that God looks for in those He calls? God told Abraham, “walk before Me and be blameless” (Genesis 17:1)—and Abraham was blessed for keeping God’s commandments (Genesis 26:5). God told the Israelites that He wanted them to fear Him, love Him, walk in all His ways and keep His commandments (Deuteronomy 10:12–13). Solomon wrote that God looks for kindness in people (Proverbs 19:22), and Isaiah states that God looks for a humble and repentant spirit in people who “[tremble] at My word” (Isaiah 66:2). Micah reveals that God requires us to “do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly” before Him (Micah 6:8). Jesus continued this same theme, urging His disciples to “be perfect [become spiritually mature and blameless], just as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). Jesus also taught His disciples, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). The commandments of God show us how to love God and how to love our neighbors (Matthew 22:37–40). The Bible also reveals that at the end of the age, God’s people will still “keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:17)—because this is what God requires, and this is the way to a better life (Deuteronomy 28:1–2). Let’s all strive to do what God requires, so we can receive the reward He wants to give to those He calls.
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—September 12, 2019
Disaster in the Bahamas! Just over two weeks ago, the Category 5 hurricane Dorian devastated the northern islands of the Bahamas. “Dorian was the most powerful hurricane on record to hit the Bahamas… with wind gusts topping 320 kph (200 mph)” (Deutsche Welle, September 7, 2019). Recent reports indicate some 50 people have died, and that number is expected to rise.
According to the United Nations, some 70,000 people are in need of food and shelter (BBC, September 9, 2019). The devastation is far-reaching and extreme. “Mark Green, head of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), said he had been ‘struck by the focused nature of the devastation’ on the Abacos, and that some areas looked ‘almost as though a nuclear bomb was dropped.’” Residents are reporting no food, no water, no medicine, and no fuel.
The totality of the destruction on the Abacos Islands is alarming and heartrending, and the fact that well into the twenty-first century, with our modern construction capabilities, we still experience such devastation is a sobering reminder of the power of natural forces. Storms like Hurricane Dorian should motivate us to think about and pray for those who are suffering. These disasters can also provide us a glimpse into far more widespread devastation that is prophesied to impact the world in the years just before Christ’s second coming—a time when “disaster will come upon disaster” (Ezekiel 7:26). For greater insights into that prophesied future and the reasons why such disasters will come, be sure to read Acts of God: Why Natural Disasters?
When World Leaders Play “Chicken”: “Chicken” is a game where two people challenge each other to see who will quit or back down first. Historian and writer Niall Ferguson referred to this game to build an insightful analogy in his recent commentary in The Times (August 25, 2019). Professor Ferguson wrote, “Games of chicken are all around these days. Indeed, it starts to feel as if the whole world is playing a massive, multiplayer game of chicken.” He then described world-changing games of chicken with potentially dire consequences, including the Brexit situation between the EU and Britain, the trade war between China and the U.S., the rift between China and Hong Kong, and others.
One particularly sobering “game of chicken” is now being played between Brazil’s president and the international community, with regard to fires in the Amazon rainforest. The situation has drawn international attention. Brazil’s president clearly stated the Brazilian rainforest is fully a domestic matter. However, many international players seem increasingly committed to taking action themselves in the Amazon, seeing the fires as a global concern related to alleged manmade “global climate change.” If other nations choose to take action in Brazil, what results will such actions bring?
Author Bertrand Russell once observed that “when the game [chicken] is played by eminent statesmen, who risk not only their own lives but those of many hundreds of millions of human beings, it is thought on both sides that the statesmen on one side are displaying a high degree of wisdom and courage.” Russell further observed that “when neither side can face the derisive cry of ‘Chicken!’ from the other side… the statesmen of both sides will plunge the world into destruction.”
Bible prophecy warns that, as the end of the age approaches, “wars and rumors of wars” will increase and “nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom” (Matthew 24:6–7). As nations push each other to the brink, how long will it be until threats become actions and leaders make decisions that cannot be reversed? To learn more about coming end-time events, read or listen to our eye-opening booklet Fourteen Signs Announcing Christ’s Return.—Scott Winnail, Chris Sookdeo, and Francine Prater