February 20th, 2020
Greetings from Charlotte,
We continue to look for new opportunities to preach the Gospel to the world. Canada is excited to announce that Tomorrow’s World will begin airing the Canadian-produced program on CTV Alberta on Sunday, February 2, at 11:30 a.m. This is a significant station, but it remains to be seen whether Canadians will respond, on a secular station, in numbers that will make it financially feasible. We will keep you updated. I’m looking forward to visiting our Canadian office this coming week, where I am scheduled to record four Tomorrow’s World programs prior to traveling to Asia for a Tomorrow’s World Presentation in Manila and holding a leadership meeting in Thailand. Dr. Douglas Winnail will be in Jamaica this weekend, for services and to hold leadership meetings. We are sad to announce the death in Florida of Mr. Randall Kobernat, a 1968 graduate of Ambassador College and long-time minister who served faithfully in congregations and later in CAD until becoming disabled several years ago.—Gerald Weston
French Audio Booklets
The Work in the French language has begun the reading of booklets for the blind and for those who enjoy listening to audio books. At this time, two audio booklets are available: The United States and Great Britain in Prophecy and The Middle East in Prophecy. Additional booklets will become available every week in the coming months. To access the audio files of the booklets online, go to our French website www.MondeDemain.org, select a booklet, and click on the HTML option of the booklet’s page. The MP3 audio file will be available on the top section of that page, under the booklet’s title and author’s name. The audio booklets are also available on CD and may be requested from your nearest regional office.
Passover and Night to Be Much Observed 2020—International Deadline Next Week
Important Notice to All Pastors: Please let us know 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). For international congregations, we need this information before February 6, and by March 5 for U.S. congregations, to ensure timely delivery and to save on shipping costs. In 2020, the Passover Service will be observed on Tuesday evening, April 7. A new Passover Service recording in English is being made for 2020 by Mr. Ken Frank.
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.
Also, Pastors, if you need copies of last year’s Night to Be Much Observed recording, please let us know.
Invitation to “Virtually” Join Living Education-Charlotte Friday Evening Meal—Must Read
We are starting to accumulate applications for Living Education-Charlotte 2020–2021. The deadline for applications is March 31, after which we’ll complete our selection process and send notification to those who have been accepted into next year’s program. Our current students are beginning their second semester of study, with a full schedule of activities for the next three months. Their graduation will be on May 15, after which some will travel to Israel for our Tour and Archaeological Dig program at Tel Barna. Two others will be travelling to Thailand to take part in a pilot English Teaching program. If you’d like to know more about the program, just go to lcgeducation.org, or contact me at [email protected].
And, for an up-close-and-personal chat with our students, just tune in to our Facebook channel next Friday evening (February 7) at 7p.m. You’ll have the chance to virtually join our Friday evening meal and fellowship activity as we begin the Sabbath together! The channel is at https://www.facebook.com/LCGEducationProgram/. Join us and say hello!—Jonathan McNair
Feast of Tabernacles
Pre-Registration for Trim, Ireland—OPEN for Irish and UK Members
Pre-registration is now open for Irish and UK members only. To register, you will need to log in to your MyLCG account to access the link to the online pre-registration form. ALL Irish and UK members wanting to attend the Feast in Trim MUST pre-register by March 1. International members will be able to pre-register beginning at 12 noon on Sunday, March 1 (EST). Please do not try to register prior to this deadline unless you are an Irish or UK member. If you need assistance, please check with your congregation’s Festival Advisor.
Living Youth Program
Living Youth Friday Evening Bible Study
The online Friday evening Teen Bible Study on February 7 will pick up at Luke 9, 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 7–8, can be found on the Living Youth Programs Live archive page at https://live.livingyouth.org/archive/.—Josh Penman
Judging vs. Judgment: Jesus said, “Judge not, that you be not judged” (Matthew 7:1–5). He admonished His disciples not to condemn, criticize, or sit in judgment of others, but to make sure that our own houses are in order. However, Jesus also warned that we must be able to spot false teachers who will be recognizable by their fruits (Matthew 7:15–20). This requires individuals to make decisions and judgments. A person who lacks judgment makes foolish decisions. Making wise decisions and judgments requires wisdom and spiritual discernment—and that comes from experience, from seeking and listening to wise counsel (Proverbs 11:14; 15:21–22), and from receiving, nourishing, and using the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 1:6–7). The Scriptures reveal that God gives His Spirit to those who repent and obey His instructions (Acts 2:38–39; 5:32). If we nourish God’s Spirit daily (2 Corinthians 4:16) and are willing to be led by that Spirit in our thinking and in our actions (Romans 8:14), we can develop the discernment that is needed to make wise decisions and judgments.
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—January 30, 2020
Dangerous Asian Coronavirus Outbreak: Concern is growing in China about thousands of cases of a new coronavirus. These infections include flu-like symptoms that can lead to pneumonia and even death (The Guardian, January 16, 2020). The Chinese city of Wuhan (about the size of London with a population of 11 million) is the epicenter of the viral outbreak. At the time of this writing, more than 7,711 infections have been confirmed in China and 170 people have died (Reuters, January 26, 2020). However, experts warn 100,000 could already be infected globally (The Guardian, January 26, 2020; BBC, January 30, 2020).
The Chinese government has essentially shut down travel into or out of Wuhan (BBC, January 23, 2020). Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations have been cancelled in several cities in an attempt to reduce travel by millions that could spread the virus further. The airborne infection has now traveled to at least 16 other countries including Taiwan, Thailand, the Philippines, Japan, South Korea, Australia, France, Germany and the United States. North Korea has closed its border to crossings from China (Deutsche Welle, January 22, 2020). However, public health officials are still studying the virus, seeking to understand its origin and find ways to prevent its spread. The infection apparently originated in a seafood market that was illegally selling wild animals. Health officials think the virus may come from the consumption of bats or snakes (AFP, January 24, 2020). “The World Health Organization has delayed a decision on declaring a global public health emergency” until they have more information (Deutsche Welle).
Many contagious respiratory illnesses like this new coronavirus strain originate in the consumption of animals the Bible labels as “unclean” and unfit for human consumption (Leviticus 11; Deuteronomy 14:1–21). Our age of rapid national and international travel also aids the spread of infectious diseases to far-flung places. Prophecy warns that serious disease epidemics will be one of the signs of the approaching end of the age (Matthew 24:7). To learn more about this vital topic, be sure to watch “Lessons from SARS” and “Ebola Can Be Prevented.”
Disney and Demons: Disney, a name once associated with wholesome family entertainment, is moving in a more ominous direction. One of the Disney Channel’s newest animated series is called The Owl House. As summarized by Deadline Hollywood when the series was first announced last year, The Owl House “is a horror-comedy series that follows Luz, a self-assured teenage human girl who accidently stumbles upon a portal to the Demon Realm” (February 23, 2018). The main character “pursues her dream of becoming a witch” by serving as an apprentice to a mentor witch whose roommate is a demon warrior.
The program’s creator, Dana Terrace, commented that “I am always trying to push them [Disney] to go a little bit darker and weirder because I find that stuff fun.” Program artist Ricky Cometa commented about the demon realm where The Owl House takes place, “We really wanted to make this demon realm feel like home, and just had to figure out how to do it” (Newsweek, January 8, 2020).
Modern animation and creative writers can make the darkness of witchcraft and demons appear innocuous and harmless—after all, they may think, it is just fiction! However, the Bible warns that these topics are spiritually dangerous and destructive. In Deuteronomy 18:10–12, as the ancient Israelites prepared to enter the Promised Land, God warned them, “There shall not be found among you anyone who… practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.” In fact, one of the reasons God brought an end to the life of Israel’s first king, Saul, was because he consulted a medium for guidance (1 Chronicles 10:13). Many of the ancient kings of Israel and Judah also practiced witchcraft, including “wicked king Manasseh” (2 Chronicles 33:6)—and such wickedness in both nations contributed to their earning God’s punishment and national captivity. Christians must not take God’s admonitions about paganism and witchcraft lightly. For more insights into God’s perspective on witchcraft, be sure to read “The Rise of Modern Paganism.”—Scott Winnail, Francine Prater, and Chris Sookdeo