January 16th, 2020
Greetings from Charlotte,
God willing, Carol and I, Mr. and Mrs. Cristian Orrego, and Mr. Hernandez will be in Mexico City for Sabbath services and a short leadership conference this weekend. Carol and I are looking forward to meeting our brethren in one of our fastest growing congregations. Also, Regional Director Rob Tyler and Mr. Brian McKenzie are visiting brethren in Sri Lanka this weekend, and Mr. Moses is joining them. January 1 began a new year as our modern world counts time. It is virtually impossible to function in our world without recognizing this reality. However, we ought not get caught up in worldly “New Year’s Day” celebrations. Some newer and younger members do not understand this. It is important to remind everyone regarding the background of our modern calendar. As you can read on History.com about New Year’s, “[Julius] Caesar instituted January 1 as the first day of the year, partly to honor the month’s namesake: Janus, the Roman god of beginnings, whose two faces allowed him to look back into the past and forward into the future. Romans celebrated by offering sacrifices to Janus, exchanging gifts with one another, decorating their homes with laurel branches and attending raucous parties.” Decorating homes with evergreen wreaths, exchanging gifts, and raucous parties on December 25 were customs borrowed from Kalends (New Year’s) celebrations. While the common calendar is a reality that we must recognize, we ought to steer clear of celebrations and expressions such as “Merry Christmas” and/or “Happy New Year.”—Gerald Weston
Passover 2020—Repeat Announcement
Important Notice to All Pastors: In 2020, the Passover Service will be observed on Tuesday evening, April 7. Please let us know as soon as possible if any of the congregations you serve will need additional Passover Service supplies (bread trays, wine trays, and/or glasses) or a copy of the Passover Service recording and letter instructions (available in English, French, and Spanish). A new Passover Service recording in English is being made for 2020 by Mr. Ken Frank. To ensure timely delivery and to save on shipping costs, we need this information before February 6 for international congregations and by March 5 for U.S. congregations.
Also, please let us know of any scattered members who are unable to keep the Passover with a congregation and who need to receive the Passover Service recording and letter instructions for observing it at home. International requests should be received before February 6 and U.S. requests before March 5. Please direct your requests to the Church Administration Department at [email protected] as soon as possible.
Program that Provides Help with Elderly Relatives (USA only)—Retracted and Replaced
Information was shared with us regarding long-term care for the elderly. We have subsequently concluded that such information was incomplete. We hereby retract the previous announcement on this matter, and replace it with the following:
Note: The Church does not endorse the products, services, or other offerings of outside entities, including government agencies or programs. The information presented here is with the understanding that the Church is not engaged in rendering legal, risk, or other professional service or advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a qualified and competent professional person should be sought.
A member in one of our congregations has an aging grandfather who needs nursing-home care but who can live independently with some degree of professional help. The gentleman lives in one of the 31 states where the U.S. government has authorized PACE (Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) programs, which can help the indigent elderly get the care they need, minimizing or eliminating the need for nursing-home care. PACE programs also provide training and respite care for caregivers, which our member has found very helpful. To see whether PACE may be helpful for your own caregiving needs, visithttps://www.medicaid.gov/medicaid/long-term-services-supports/program-all-inclusive-care-elderly/index.html to learn more.
Medical Emergency Plan—Repeat Announcement
Pastors should take the lead in formulating a medical emergency plan for each congregation they serve. To prepare for this, the pastor should make sure each congregation he serves has a functioning, well-supplied First Aid kit available and on-hand at each congregation service. The pastor should also designate a Contact Person (“CP”) in each congregation who can take the lead in medical emergency situations. This may be a nurse or health practitioner, a member trained in providing First Aid, or simply the head usher or deacon. As a quick tip, all ushers and other leaders in the congregation should keep a notecard in their wallet with the address of the meeting hall, in case it needs to be given quickly to a 911 operator.
In the event of a medical emergency situation:
- Ushers should immediately notify the Contact Person, (or head usher if no CP has been assigned).
- The Contact Person should assess the situation, assist the victim, and instruct someone to call 911 if necessary. The 911 operator will ask questions about the situation.
- The Contact Person should administer First Aid procedures as appropriate until the medical response team arrives.
- It should be understood that if the pastor or an elder is present, the victim should be anointed at the first opportunity.
New Class: General Epistles
There are already 295 members enrolled in the new General Epistles class. The first unit, with lectures presented by Mr. Gerald Weston, focuses on James and Peter. If you’d like to enjoy these new studies, simply go to lcgeducation.org and log in!
Spring Holy Day Family Weekend—Blowing Rock, North Carolina
The mountains of North Carolina will provide a peaceful setting for the beginning of the 2020 Spring Holy Days. Our event will begin with the Night to be Much Observed on April 8. We’ll observe the First Day of Unleavened Bread together, enjoy educational activities on Friday, April 10, and then keep the weekly Sabbath on April 11. Our final wrap-up activity will take place on Sunday morning, April 12, with departure by noon. For more information, go to lcgeducation.org and click on the “Activities” button, then on the “Holy Day Weekends” button. Registration is available by going to cogl.org, logging in to MyLCG, and clicking on our announcement.—Jonathan McNair
Feast of Tabernacles
Feast of Tabernacles, 2020—Pre-registration for Trim, Ireland—Repeat Announcement
Festival Site Coordinators are busy working on preliminary plans for the Feast of Tabernacles 2020. The tentative date for Festival Registration in 2020 is Sunday, May 17. A few sites—such as Trim, Ireland—will have a pre-registration before the May registration date, to accommodate local U.K. brethren, and then overseas brethren. Watch for future announcements in The World Ahead, as more information on pre-registration for Trim, Ireland will be forthcoming.
Living Youth Program
Living Youth Friday Evening Bible Study
The online Friday evening Teen Bible Study on January 24 will cover Luke 6, 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 last evening’s covering Luke 4–5, can be found on the Living Youth Programs Live archive page at https://live.livingyouth.org/archive/.—Josh Penman
Are You in Satan’s Crosshairs? Satan never rests, and he is certainly active in our modern world. This is why the Bible contains numerous warnings about how Satan operates to deceive, divide, and destroy God’s people. Satan is described as a hunting lion who stalks his unsuspecting prey (1 Peter 5:8). He is a dangerous adversary searching for vulnerable individuals (1 Timothy 5:14–15). Satan does not hunt with claws or bullets, but instead spreads gossip, rumors, lies, and negative comments about others (1 Timothy 5:13; Leviticus 19:16; John 8:44). He fosters dissention and divisions by stirring up fears, jealousy, and wrong ambitions (1 Corinthians 1:10–13). He will use anyone—members and ministers—to sow discord and do his work (2 Corinthians 11:1–15). Satan zeros in on people who have doubts, hurts, and resentments; who feel wronged; or who feel their ideas, opinions, or ambitions have been overlooked or denied. He uses such individuals to criticize, lash out at, or undermine others—especially those in leadership positions. We are advised not be ignorant of Satan’s devices (2 Corinthians 2:11). As we get closer to the end of the age, we need to be able to recognize and resist Satan’s attempts to deceive and divide. Let’s not become unsuspecting victims of negative attitudes that Satan beams at those in his crosshairs (Ephesians 2:2).
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—January 16, 2020
Water Wars Ahead? The Pacific Institute based in California has amassed a database linking global conflict to vital resources like clean drinking water. In the past ten years, water-related conflicts around the globe have doubled compared to previous decades (The Guardian, December 31, 2019). “Violence associated with water has surged in the past decade driven by attacks on civilian water systems in Syria’s civil war and increasing disputes over supplies in India.” Experts note that population growth, soaring demands for and shrinking supplies of water, and poor water management have all contributed to spreading conflicts over water.
Pacific Institute president Peter Gleick has commented, “As water becomes more scarce, because it’s such a critical resource, people will do whatever they can [to] meet their basic needs.” This perspective is consistent with recent struggles in the Middle East, where civilian fresh-water systems have been targeted by military operations.
More conflicts over water are predicted in water-stressed parts of the world that are already troubled with social and political unrest aggravated by burgeoning populations that put additional strains on vital resources like water (The National Interest, “Water Wars: The Next Great Driver of Global Conflict?”). End-time Bible prophecies about “wars and rumors of wars” (Matthew 24:6–7) could also include spreading conflicts over access to water. For greater insight into the future impact of water on geopolitics, be sure to watch “Could your city go to war over water?”
New Testament Refutes Traditional Belief: Dr. N.T. Wright is a professor of New Testament and Early Christianity and is a prolific writer. He is affiliated with both St. Andrews and Oxford Universities, and recently wrote a revealing article for TIME magazine (December 16, 2019). According to Dr. Wright, in order to truly understand the New Testament, one must understand the context of Jewish life and beliefs at the time of Christ and the Apostles. Dr. Wright explained that, rather than God removing people from earth and rewarding them with heaven (as most professing Christians believe), the New Testament actually teaches, “The point was not for us to ‘go to heaven,’ but for the life of heaven to arrive on earth.”
Dr. Wright continued, noting that “some Christian teachers tried to blend this with types of the Platonic belief, generating the idea of ‘leaving earth and going to heaven,’ which became mainstream by the Middle Ages. But Jesus’ first followers never went that route.” Dr. Wright further noted that the Old Testament prophesied that the Messiah would return and reign on the earth, not in heaven. “Studying the New Testament historically, in its own world (as opposed to squashing and chopping it to fit with our own expectations), shows that the first Christians believed not that they would ‘go to heaven when they died,’ but that, in Jesus, God had come to live with them.”
Dr. Wright does not get everything right concerning the state of the dead, but his recognition that the Bible does not hold out “eternity in heaven” as the true hope for Christians is refreshing to see. For true Christians who are honest with their Bibles, the teaching of the New Testament concerning the future resurrection of the saints and their coming reward here on earth in the Kingdom of God is clear—even though it conflicts with the traditional teachings of nominal Christianity. To learn more about the future and the real purpose of human life, be sure to read or listen to Your Ultimate Destiny.—Scott Winnail and Francine Prater