December 19th, 2019
Greetings from Charlotte,
The United Kingdom and the United States are heading into uncharted territory. It looks as though Brexit will go through, with the landslide victory of Boris Johnson, and no one can say for sure what this means for the U.K. or for Europe. We know the endgame, but not all the twists and turns between now and then. What we can see is that there is a major geopolitical shake-up that will likely have end-time consequences. On this side of the “pond,” we now have a President impeached. It is widely believed that the incredibly partisan attempt will fail to remove him from office, but it has further divided and angered the country, and it is difficult to see how the divide can be bridged. There is no doubt there has been an attempt to undo the 2016 election. The lead FISA (Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act) court judge spoke out publicly this week in an unprecedented manner, sharply criticizing the FBI for filing a fraudulent document with 17 errors or omissions for the purpose of spying on the Trump campaign. Such corruption cannot be good for the country. Meanwhile, the Work of God goes forward. We are adding a fifth congregation in France. The Work in Canada recently recorded several French-language telecasts and Viewpoints. We saw a significant increase in the number of coworkers. The chaplain of a prison in Texas sent us this note of thanks: “This note is simply to say thank you for the recent box of Tomorrow’s World magazines. They have been a real hit with our inmate population. Keep up the good work, Jesus Christ is coming soon!” And finally, by this time next Sabbath, December 25 will happily be in our rearview mirror.—Gerald Weston
LCG Webcast Live Stream of Sabbath Services on December 28—Repeat Announcement
LCG congregations and members are welcome to join us “online” for the Charlotte Family Weekend Sabbath Service on December 28. Sabbath services will begin at 1:30 p.m. (EST). To join, please go to www.lcgwebcast.org, and under “Stream Site,” select “Charlotte Family Weekend” (listed under “Local Congregations”). 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 log in at the MyLCG link.) Note: The password won’t be posted until Monday, December 23. You will not find it before then.
Charlotte Family Weekend Just Days Away!
We are now just days away from the start of the Charlotte Family Weekend! To see a detailed schedule of activities, visit the cogl.org website, log into MyLCG, and click the link in the Charlotte Family Weekend section.
For those who registered for the Wednesday afternoon Headquarters office tour, please arrive at the HQ office by 1:20 p.m. to begin the 1:30 p.m. tour. The address is 2301 Crown Centre Drive, Charlotte, NC 28227.
Novelty Olympics and Sports Games on Thursday, December 26: The Novelty Olympics will consist of relay races, trivia, and team-building games—fun for both participants and spectators. Come to watch even if you don’t plan to participate! If you are participating, please arrive by 9:00 a.m. Volleyball and basketball players must attend the sportsmanship talk at 11:30 a.m. All participants should wear modest athletic wear and tennis shoes. We are looking forward to seeing everyone there at Carolina Courts, 240 Chestnut Parkway, Indian Trail, NC 28079. Let the games begin!
Israel Dig/Study Tour 2020
Once again we are reminding members about the Living Education Dig/Study Tour for 2020. We are still taking submissions of interest from members who are interested in attending. Just to clarify, since this is primarily a Living Education–Charlotte student trip, we will be giving first priority to current Charlotte students or students who are accepted for the Charlotte program for the 2020–2021 program by February 15, secondarily to former on-site LE or on-site LU students, and thirdly to other youthful members who can handle the high-paced tour of Israel and the rigorous work required on the Archaeological Dig of the biblical site of Libnah (with LE on-line participation also taken into consideration). If you would like to learn more about the requirements and details, just go to www.lcgeducation.org, read about the program, and pre-register.
Living Education–Charlotte 2020-2021 Registration
This week, we’re opening registration for our Living Education–Charlotte 2020-2021 program year. Living Education–Charlotte is designed as a nine-month intensive training program for young adults who are determined to build a strong foundation for a godly life. Students gain a comprehensive overview of the Bible through a book-by-book review, study the fundamental biblical doctrines that have defined the Church of God throughout history, and the basic principles that frame our Christian way of life. Each day is divided between classroom instruction and work-study within our Headquarters facility. In addition to the daily classroom instruction, students hear twice-weekly lectures on wide-ranging topics, presented by Mr. Gerald Weston, Mr. Richard Ames, Dr. Douglas Winnail, Mr. Mario Hernandez, and a bevy of other leaders, including visiting field ministers from the United States and abroad. Social opportunities to build camaraderie with other young people, field trips to interesting places in the area, and service opportunities round out the experience. If you know a young person who might be a fit for the program, encourage them to contact our admission staff for an application at [email protected]!—Jonathan McNair
Living Youth Program
No Living Youth Friday Evening Bible Study on December 27
There will be no online Teen Bible Study on Friday, December 27, because of the Charlotte Family Weekend. However, recordings of previous Living Youth Bible Studies, including last evening’s on Mark 15–16, can be found on the Living Youth Programs Live archive page at https://live.livingyouth.org/archive/. You will need to sign in with either your MyLCG or LYP camp registration credentials. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected] The online Bible Studies will resume on Friday, January 3.
Morgan Montgomery Memorial Youth Fund
The Morgan Montgomery Memorial Youth Fund was established in 2015 to provide access to Living Church of God Youth Camps for Church youth around the world. Since that time, many young people from various nations have enjoyed the wonderful experience provided by the camps. We heartily thank all those who have made donations to the Fund. Your generosity has been a great benefit to our youth.
The Fund has now been depleted, and sadly, we have had to turn down some applications. If you would like to make a donation to the Fund, you can do so at the cogl.org website under the “Memorial Youth Fund” link. Donations to the Fund should not be in place of our biblical tithes and Holy Day offerings, and they may be tax deductible.
We have great kids in the Church, and we will continue to serve them in every way we can!
Perspectives on Trials: Sometimes, when we encounter trials and difficulties, we wonder what is happening and whether God has forsaken us. However, in challenging times, we need to remember several fundamental scriptures. Jesus told His disciples, “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). God has also promised never to leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). The Apostle Paul reminds us that, “all things work together for good to those who love God” (Romans 8:28) and that even in trials, God will “make the way of escape” if we look to Him (1 Corinthians 10:13). James recorded that trials are opportunities to exercise faith in God and His promises and to build patience—while we do our part to work through the challenges we face (James 1:2–4). Let’s strive to remember and maintain this godly perspective when we encounter trials and difficulties in our lives.
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—December 19, 2019
Britain’s Uncertain Future: Last week, Britain held yet another election—one that had been promised by Boris Johnson in the wake of Britain’s last Brexit attempt. Pollsters predicted a very close race between the conservative, pro-Brexit incumbent, Boris Johnson, and his liberal, Labor rival, Jeremy Corbyn. However, the outcome of the election was anything but close. Johnson secured what many are calling a “landmark victory” over Corbyn, granting him a clear majority government. The victory is also seen as an unmistakable mandate for finally completing Brexit in January.
The election was a shock, in part, because the Conservative party won areas that have traditionally been strongholds for the liberal Labor party, and Labor experienced “its worst defeat since 1935” (BBC, December 13, 2019), giving Johnson’s Conservative party “their biggest majority at Westminster [in parliament] since Margaret Thatcher’s 1987 election victory.” Many expect Johnson’s government to move forward with Brexit, unencumbered by parliamentary squabbles. The EU is also prepared to move forward with the Brexit negotiations, and other nations are lining up for trade deals with Britain (EU Observer, December 13, 2019). However, Scotland’s election gave the Scottish Nationalist Party a majority of seats, and its leader promised a second referendum about leaving the United Kingdom. Northern Ireland’s election could also complicate the future of the UK (Politico, December 16, 2019).
For millennia, Bible prophecy has warned the Israelite-descended nations, “if you do not obey the voice of the Lord your God… all that you set your hand to do” will turn out badly (Deuteronomy 28:15, 20), and that even their allies (lovers) will turn against them (Ezekiel 16:37; Hosea 2:10). Events in Britain and elsewhere are moving in a direction that will enable the fulfillment of these ancient prophecies. For greater insight into the future of Britain, Europe, and the West, be sure to read “Brexit: Britain’s Nightmare Divorce.”
The End of the World Trade Organization? The Economist reported on December 10 that two of the three remaining members retired from the appellate body of the World Trade Organization (WTO), “which hears appeals in trade disputes and authorises sanctions against rule-breakers” (November 28, 2019). This means that any decisions made by the WTO that are appealed will have only one of the required three judges to hear the appeal. The United States is currently blocking the WTO from appointing new judges because it claims the organization practices “judicial overreach”—an opinion shared by 58 percent of those recently involved with WTO disputes. However, by blocking the replacement of the retiring judges, the U.S. has rendered the appellate body useless, after roughly 24 years of regulating global trade.
Experts suggest that “global trade is about to become a lot less predictable and a lot more contentious. Without the appellate body to act as an honest broker, disputes between the biggest members may escalate.” The Economist suggested that, “of all Mr Trump’s trade policies, it may prove the hardest to reverse and have the longest-lasting effects.”
The tone of international relations is definitely changing. The civility and decorum that once characterized statecraft has eroded into name-calling and shaming. The relative global stability among the world’s strongest countries appears to be crumbling, as the structures and rules by which nations have interacted are discarded. For Bible students, such a global environment should seem fertile ground for the attitudes prophesied to dominate the end of the age (see 2 Timothy 3:1–5). To learn more about end-time events, be sure to view our Tomorrow’s World telecast “The Collapse of World Order.”—Scott Winnail, John Meakin, Francine Prater, Marc Arseneault, and Stuart Wachowicz