February 27th, 2020
Greetings from Charlotte,
Mr. Gerald Weston is returning from his trip to the Philippines, Thailand, and South Africa. His Tomorrow’s World Presentation in Cape Town last Sunday drew 76 guests. My wife and I returned this week from a trip to southern California, where Pastor Rodger Bardo and I conducted TWPs in Anaheim, Poway, and Long Beach, drawing a total of 86 guests last weekend. This week, Mr. Wallace Smith, Mr. Mike DeSimone, and Mr. Stuart Wachowicz have been in Nashville, Tennessee, for the annual National Religious Broadcasters convention. Dr. Douglas Winnail was in Little Rock, Arkansas, last weekend, where 80 were present for services on the Sabbath and other congregations connected via live stream. As flu viruses continue to hit many regions, and the coronavirus situation worsens, we encourage all brethren to be extra careful not to attend services if you are sick (please see “Stay Healthy and Be Prepared” below). Let’s pray for one another—for God’s healing and intervention.—Rod McNair
Passover and Night to Be Much Observed 2020—U.S. Deadline Next Week
Important Notice to All Pastors of U.S. Congregations: We need to know by March 5 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). This is to ensure timely delivery and to save on shipping costs. A new Passover Service recording in English was made for 2020 by Mr. Ken Frank. In 2020, the Passover Service will be observed on Tuesday evening, April 7.
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. Please direct your requests to the Church Administration Department at [email protected] as soon as possible. U.S. requests are needed by March 5.
Also, Pastors, if you need copies of last year’s Night to Be Much Observed recording, please let us know.
Prayer Request: Locust Plagues in Africa
Locusts continue to be a threat throughout Kenya; however, none of our members has been affected. The government is tirelessly working 24/7 to fight these insects, but has been unable to kill them. Instead, the locusts move to another location where they are not expected. A report from the agricultural officer has expressed fear that newly hatched hoppers could grow into new swarms and warned that new generations can be 100 times greater than the parent swarms and could rise to 500 times by April if uncontrolled. We need prayers because if these young insects mature, they will be larger swarms than what we are already experiencing and will cause more harm than we expect.—Simon Muthama
Stay Healthy and Be Prepared!
As we deal with the busyness of life, it is not uncommon for many of us to push ourselves and compromise on our sleep and diet. Then, when we are exposed to illnesses that are going around, we get sick. Next, we often spread it to others. When we become ill, for the benefit of our brethren, it is important to avoid fellowshipping and attending services until all our symptoms are gone. Taking measures to stay healthy and even improve health before illness strikes is important, and it is also important that we take wise measures not to share any illnesses that we have.
Over the years, we have also recommended being prepared for emergencies that may disrupt utilities and other services, by keeping a supply of food and water and other essential items in your home to be able to function for several weeks—it’s always good to be prepared.
Blowing Rock Family Holy Day Weekend
If you would like to enjoy the first part of the Days of Unleavened Bread in a place where we can come “out of the world” and into the mountains, then join us at the Blowing Rock Conference Center for our three-day Living Education-sponsored gathering! Arrival is on the afternoon of April 8, and we’ll keep the Night to Be Much Observed together that evening, as well as the First Day of Unleavened Bread on April 9. Friday will be an activity day, and April 11 is the weekly Sabbath. Departure for home will be on Sunday, April 12.
All accommodations and meals are on-site at the Conference Center. The cost for this all-inclusive program of four nights and nine meals is $189 for adults and $165 for children. Don’t miss the opportunity to have a unique Spring Holy Day experience! For more information and to register, just go to www.lcgeducation.org and click on “Activities,” or e-mail Jonathan McNair at [email protected]. Registration will be closing soon!
Men’s Training Camps
Upper Midwest MTC
From August 14–16 (Friday evening to noon on Sunday), we will have our first Men’s Training Camp in the Upper Midwest area. The location will most likely be east-central Wisconsin. The Men’s Training Camp is open to all men age 16 and over from the Midwest and beyond. The purpose of the event is to gather together as men to learn to be better husbands, fathers, and Christians. We also build bonds of fellowship and worship God, looking to Him for help in becoming the strong Christian men we need to be in this confused world. More details will be forthcoming in the weeks and months ahead. If you have any questions, please contact Mr. Bob Rodzaj at [email protected].
North Carolina MTC
The North Carolina MTC will be held again this summer at the Blowing Rock Conference Center in the Smoky Mountains of western North Carolina. The program will be conducted from August 21–23. More information will be published later this spring.
Phoenix MTC Was a Great Success!
From February 14–16, a Men’s Training Camp was held at Lake Pleasant, Arizona, for 48 men from throughout the western United States. It was hosted by Pastor Stephen Elliot and the Phoenix congregation. Regional Pastor Jeff Fall gave the sermon on the Sabbath and contributed to the training sessions, along with Pastor Stephen Elliot, Associate Pastor Jonathan Bueno, and Phoenix elder James Populo. Mr. Jonathan McNair facilitated the program on behalf of Living Education, giving the introductory and concluding sessions, and guiding the interactive Bible workshop. After a successful weekend, plans are underway to repeat the activity next February.
Feast of Tabernacles
International Registration for Trim, Ireland Opens Sunday
Sunday, March 1, at 12:00 noon (Eastern Standard Time, USA) marks the opening for pre-registration to transfer to Trim, Ireland for the Feast of Tabernacles this year. All international members and guests who are interested in transferring to Trim can begin registering at that time. Log in to MyLCG and click the link in the registration announcement to submit your details. If approved, you will receive an e-mail requesting payment of a non-refundable Site Fee of 25 euros per adult. Once this payment is made, you will receive a confirmation e-mail and can then make housing reservations. Space is limited, and transfer approvals are first come, first served. Please be patient waiting for approval e-mails to go out.
Living Youth Program
Living Youth Friday Evening Bible Study
The online Friday evening Teen Bible Study on March 6 will cover Luke 15:1 through 16:18, 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 13:18–14:35, can be found on the Living Youth Programs Live archive page at https://live.livingyouth.org/archive/.—Josh Penman
Seeking God’s Guidance: In the world today, it is common to want to “do our own thing.” However, the Bible records the numerous and tragic results of this approach (Judges 21:25; Jeremiah 9:12–16). In the Scriptures we are admonished, “Seek the Lord while He may be found” (Isaiah 55:6). We are also told that God will look to those who are humble and teachable and “[tremble] at My word” (Isaiah 66:2). King David, a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22), modeled the attitude that God is looking for when he wrote, “Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes… Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:33, 105). Jesus Christ emphasized this same theme when He instructed His disciples to “live by… every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Jesus also taught, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6). Righteousness involves striving to live by the commandments of God (Psalm 119:172). One of the important lessons of life is that if we desire to succeed in any endeavor, we must learn to seek God’s guidance in the decisions we make—because that leads to lasting rewards.
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—February 27, 2020
Europe and the Middle East: Many who watch world events know that the heart of the Arab-Israeli debacle is Jerusalem! For decades, the United States has taken the lead in promoting peace efforts between Israel and the Palestinian people. Yet, President Trump’s new peace plan seemed to fall out of favor even before it was released, in part because Palestinian leaders no longer trust the U.S. and especially President Trump. Now, the Europeans want a chance to bring peace to the Middle East.
Last week, the foreign policy chief of the European Union met with the foreign minister of the Palestinian Authority and signaled that “the EU was ready to work with Israelis and Palestinians and other regional actors to revive the peace process ‘in line with international law, which ensures equal rights and which is acceptable to both parties’” (Jerusalem Post, February 23, 2020). EU leaders continue to push for a “two-state solution” and a meeting with the Middle East Quartet (the United Nations, the U.S., the EU, and Russia)—where the U.S. could be outvoted and the EU could easily take the lead.
Historically, the Vatican has been politically involved with Jerusalem, and the Pope recently expressed disapproval of the Trump peace plan (Reuters, February 23, 2020). In addition, he stated that the Vatican cannot “overlook” the Israeli-Palestinian issue any longer, implying future involvement by his office in actively seeking a solution.
Bible prophecy records that, prior to Christ’s return, a European “beast” power or “king of the north” will take military control of Jerusalem (Daniel 11:40–43; Luke 21:20). In fact, a group of nations that includes Europe and the Arab world could combine their efforts and bring a temporary peace to the Holy Land before Europe’s military push into Jerusalem. Events are developing in the Middle East that could set the stage for the powerful fulfillment of end-time prophecies. To learn more about the future of Jerusalem and the Holy Land, be sure to read or listen to The Middle East in Prophecy.
Hacking into the Human Mind! At the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, author and Hebrew University professor Yuval Noah Harari gave global leaders a dire warning: “There is a lot of talk of hacking computers, smartphones, computers, emails, bank accounts, but the really big thing is hacking human beings.… If you have enough data about me and enough computer power and biological knowledge, you can hack my body, my brain, my life” (Jerusalem Post, January 22, 2020). The idea is that, with enough data about a person, it could be possible to know more about a person than they are aware of themselves, as Harari put it.
In a digital world where increasing amounts of personal information are stored on Internet-connected computer servers, Harari’s vision of the future is far more realistic than one might think. What most do not realize is that one “enemy” already has access to all of this data and monitors us every second of our lives. This enemy is an expert on human behavior and wants to destroy the lives of every human being made in the image of God. This nemesis of humanity is Satan the devil, the deceiver of mankind (Revelation 12:9), the covert ruler of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4), and the “spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2).
While the actions of human beings against other human beings are worrisome, our true enemy is not physical, but a spirit being (Ephesians 6:10–12). To discover more about the ultimate enemy who has already “hacked” the human mind—and how to counter his efforts—be sure to read “Seven Satanic Deceptions.”—Scott Winnail and Francine Prater