December 25th, 2019
Greetings from Charlotte,
Another year has come and gone, and we look forward to giving you some statistics in coming weeks demonstrating the growth in the Work. The Living Youth Program camp in Mexico is complete and the one in South Africa is wrapping up this Tuesday. Applications will soon be available for camps coming up in 2020. Some of you are aware that if you shop at Amazon, it has a program to give rebates back to charities. We recently received a quarterly check that was just 14 cents short of $900, due to members and others who have signed up for this program. Over the last several years we have earned more than $9,100. This is not a plea for you to shop at Amazon, as that is purely a personal choice and may not be your “cup of tea.” However, if you do routinely shop there, you may want to go to smile.amazon.com and name the Living Church of God as your charity of choice. That way, whenever you do make a purchase through Amazon Smile, a rebate will be put into the Church account and distributed quarterly. There is no cost to you, other than your purchase, and it is a win for the Church. We are going on the Folk TV network Sunday, January 5, at 9:00 a.m., so you will want to check our local listing and be praying for the success of this new open door.—Gerald Weston
LCG Webcast Live Stream of Sabbath Services on December 28
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 now find the password at your MyLCG account. (The password was posted on Monday, December 23.) Just go to www.cogl.org and log into MyLCG.
Death of Mr. Gerald Shoquist
We are saddened to announce the death of long-time elder Mr. Gerald Shoquist (91). Mr. Shoquist, who served in the Phoenix, Arizona, congregation, died on December 5. Please remember Mrs. Shoquist and their family in your prayers.
Men’s Training Camp—Southwest USA
On the weekend of February 15–16, we will have our first Men’s Training Camp for the Southwest Region. The location will be the Desert Outdoor Center at Lake Pleasant, on the northern outskirts of Phoenix, Arizona. Stay tuned for more details and registration information next week!
Israel Archaeological Dig and Tour
We have received quite a few responses for the handful of spots available in the 2020 Israel Archaeological Dig and Tour. As a reminder, this trip is primarily geared for young adults. If you are a young adult and are interested in participating in this unique experience, go to www.lcgeducation.org for more details.
We are now accepting applications for our 2020–2021 school year for our Charlotte program. For more details, just go to www.lcgeducation.org and click on “Charlotte” on the menu!—Jonathan McNair
Living Youth Program
Living Youth Friday Evening Bible Study
The online Friday evening Teen Bible Study on January 3 will introduce the book of Luke and cover chapter 1, and will be given by Mr. Sheldon Monson. Join us at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The chat room will be open for a half-hour before and after the Bible Study.
To join the study, visit https://live.livingyouth.org, and 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]. For those who are unable to make it to the study, recordings of previous Living Youth Bible Studies, including December 21’s on Mark 15–16, can be found on the Living Youth Programs Live archive page at https://live.livingyouth.org/archive/.—Josh Penman
Texas Camp Dates 2020–2029
Year Teen Camp Dates Texas Preteen Camp Dates
- 2020 July 12–July 26 July 26–July 31
- 2021 July 11–July 25 July 25–July 30
- 2022 July 10–July 24 July 24–July 29
- 2023 July 9–July 23 July 23–July 28
- 2024 July 7–July 21 July 21–July 26
- 2025 July 6–July 20 July 20–July 25
- 2026 July 12–July 26 July 26–July 31
- 2027 July 11–July 25 July 25–July 30
- 2028 July 9–July 23 July 23–July 28
- 2029 July 8–July 22 July 22–July 27
NOTE: Texas Teen Camp start dates represent the staff arrival dates. The arrival dates for campers and the dates camps begin are one day later.
Are You a Peacemaker? As the world approaches the end of December, we hear a lot about “peace on earth” and the need for “peaceful relations” among the peoples and nations of the world. Yet, the Bible reveals that human beings do not know “the way to peace” (Isaiah 59:8). In light of this crying need, it is not surprising that a fundamental aspect of Christianity involves learning how to be a peacemaker. Jesus taught, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). The Apostle Paul advised Christians to “live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:17–21). Paul explained that we can become peacemakers by not seeking revenge, by not mistreating others when we are mistreated, and by overcoming evil with good. Solomon wisely observed, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). Solomon also stated, “He who covers [overlooks and forgives] a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats [talks about and won’t let go of] a matter separates friends” (Proverbs 17:9). Peter mentions that getting rid of pride and learning to work together with humility leads to peaceful relations with others. Real peacemakers will go to their brother or sister when problems arise and talk things over in a spirit of meekness (Matthew 18:15; James 3:17–18). The Bible reveals that the key to peace and peaceful relations with others is to love and follow the laws of God (Psalm 119:165).
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—December 25, 2019
Frustration and Desperation in Italy: Reuters reports that a recent poll in Italy is causing some concern: “Almost half of Italians are in favor of having a ‘strongman’ in power who does not care about parliament and elections… casting doubts on the strength of democracy in a major European nation” (December 6, 2019). Italians are fed up with the lack of economic recovery following the 2008 global recession, as well as with ongoing governmental failures. Most of Italy’s governments last just over a year, adding to the ongoing instability, and many are ready for a major change. According to Reuters, the Censis Research Institute poll indicates that almost half of Italy’s citizens believe the nation “should be led by a Messiah-like leader who does not have to worry about being accountable.”
Far-right groups continue to gain ground in Italy as a growing percentage of the populace loses faith in the government. Among the poorer and less educated, over two-thirds are in favor of a powerful leader who can essentially operate above the law. Many just want the government to provide stability and certainty in their futures—and they seem not to care how it happens.
This extreme frustration with government enables dictators to rise to power with the support of their people. Bible prophecy reveals that a strong dictator will emerge in Europe at the end of this age and that ten “kings” or national leaders will give their power and authority to him (Revelation 17:12–13). Ultimately, this European “beast” or “king of the north” will be worshiped and will be very powerful (Revelation 13:1–10). As nationalism increases across Europe, students of the Bible should not be surprised to see the desperation in Italy begin to appear in many other European nations. For more information on this sobering topic, watch our telecast “The Beast of Revelation.”
Benefits of Singing Together: Modern research supports an activity God has long commanded and reveals benefits He no doubt designed: Singing in a group benefits those involved by helping people bond and feel part of the group and by improving physical and mental health (The Conversation, October 28, 2015). Oxford University researchers point out that the social benefits of singing in a group, including in a choir, are “particularly valuable in today’s often alienating world, where many of our social interactions are conducted remotely via Facebook and Twitter.”
Researchers also note that singing and making music “exercises the brain as well as the body, but singing is particularly beneficial for improving breathing, posture and muscle tension. Listening to and participating in music has been shown to be effective in pain relief, too.” Other studies suggest that music may help improve immune function by reducing stress levels and that individuals are happier after actively singing than they are when passively listening to music.
In the Bible, God encourages Christians to sing, “speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19). The gospels tell us that Jesus Christ sang a hymn with His apostles the night before He was crucified (Matthew 26:30). Singing together has long been a part of Sabbath worship for many, and it is exciting to realize there are so many benefits to an activity that God commands in His word!—Scott Winnail, Francine Prater, and Richard Franz