August 20th, 2020
Greetings from Charlotte,
The Work of God here in Charlotte, North Carolina, and around the world continues to move forward. Mr. Herbert Armstrong always recognized what I hope all of us can come to understand, that God blesses us as we have our hearts in His Work. This is true, but it is also true that we, on our own efforts, will never accomplish the task set before us. As we read in Zechariah 4:6, “‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of Hosts.” Mr. Armstrong also said we must work as though it all depends on us and pray as though it all depends on God. That was the approach Dr. Meredith had in doing the Work, and that is the approach we must maintain. It is good to see the Work growing at an increasing rate at this time, but let us never forget that it is God who gives the increase (1 Corinthians 3:6). Let us also not become discouraged with all the trouble we see in the world, but follow the admonition of Christ: “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near” (Luke 21:28).—Gerald Weston
Manpower Change: Salisbury, Maryland
The Salisbury, Maryland, congregation is included in the pastorate of Dr. Scott Winnail, who will relocate to the area of his new responsibilities, as announced last week.
Virtual Worldwide Children’s Choir
Thank you to everyone who contributed to the “Virtual Worldwide Chorus.” Now we’d like to extend that invitation to the children! Parents, if you have children ages 3 to 13 years old and would like them to participate in a virtual worldwide children’s choir to be played at the Feast, please contact Mr. Marco Manzo III at [email protected]. Mr. Manzo is one of our dedicated volunteers who will be putting together this project. Contact him for more information and instructions on how to proceed.
Upcoming Headquarters Livestream Schedule
Please note the following:
- The Church-wide livestreamed Sabbath Service from Headquarters, previously scheduled for August 29, has been canceled. Each congregation will hold its regular local or regional service on that Sabbath.
- The Church-wide livestreamed Sabbath Service from Headquarters scheduled for September 26 has been moved to the Feast of Trumpets, September 19. There will be a livestreamed Holy Day service from Headquarters on the Feast of Trumpets, September 19 (more details will follow). There will be no Headquarters livestreamed service on September 26.
- Atonement services will be conducted locally or regionally. There will be no livestream from Headquarters on the Day of Atonement.
Feast of Tabernacles
Please Check Your Registration
Our registration system automatically sends an e-mail when someone’s transfer request has been approved. However, some have not received these e-mails because of a recent glitch in the e-mail notification system which is currently being resolved. However, if you log into the Festival Registration system using your MyLCG credentials, you can check your registration status.
Register by August 23!
Thank you to all the brethren who have registered for the Feast. For those who have not, please do so right away, as it is very difficult to know if we have room for a limited number of transfers unless everyone registers. It is vital that we all finish registering for the Feast by Sunday, August 23. Festival Advisors: Your pastor should be getting a report with names of brethren in your congregation who have not yet registered. Please seek out those who have not yet registered, to find out who may need help. Again, we need everyone to register. Anyone unable to attend, select “Unable to Attend.” (If you live in an international area and have questions about your Feast site or registration, contact your International Regional Office.)
Williamsburg, Virginia, Feast Site Confirmed
This week we received the good news that we will be able to use the Fort Magruder Hotel in Williamsburg for a Feast site after all, in spite of tightening government restrictions on meetings in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. The tightened restrictions refer to public and private meetings, but exempt churches. So, for brethren already booked at the Fort Magruder Hotel, your booking is secure. Any brethren assigned to the Williamsburg, Virginia, Feast site who haven’t booked housing may go ahead and make arrangements at their convenience. Check the Feast website for more information.
The Tithe of the Festival Tithe
For many decades now, the Church of God has continued the practice of what’s called the “tithe of the Festival tithe.” What this means is that brethren who can afford it are asked to send a tenth of their Festival tithe to the Church in advance of the Feast, to help pay for Feast halls and other details involved in keeping the Feast, as well as to help brethren around the world with limited resources to attend the Feast (Deuteronomy 14:27; 16:14). This year, some of our brethren and Church areas around the world have been hurt financially by the pandemic. Now is the time to send in your tithe of the second tithe, if you are able and you have not already done so. Thank you very much!
Is Satan After You? The Bible contains numerous warnings about Satan and how he operates to deceive, divide, and destroy—people, families, churches, and nations. He moves like a hunting lion, carefully stalking his unsuspecting prey (1 Peter 5:8). He is a dangerous adversary who is constantly searching for vulnerable individuals (1 Timothy 5:14–15; 2 Timothy 3:6–7). Satan does not hunt human beings using claws and bullets, but instead he appeals to our desires, emotions, and human vanity. He plants doubts and spreads gossip, rumors, and lies that hurt and confuse and discredit others (1 Timothy 5:13; John 8:44; Leviticus 19:16). Satan fosters dissention and division by stirring up fears, jealousies, and misguided ambitions (1 Corinthians 1:10–13), and he will use anyone—members, ministers, and self-proclaimed leaders—to sow discord and do his work (2 Corinthians 11:1–15). Satan will zero in on people who have doubts, hurts, and resentments or who feel wronged or overlooked because their ideas, opinions, or ambitions have not been acknowledged or accepted. He can use such individuals to criticize, undermine, or lash out at others. To avoid becoming an unsuspecting victim of negative or subversive thoughts and attitudes that Satan beams at his potential victims (Ephesians 2:2), we need to be alert, humble, and patient—and stay close to God (1 Peter 5:6–9).
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—August 20, 2020
Anarchy on the Rise: Many nations in South America are struggling. On top of financial collapse and the pandemic, many Venezuelans don’t have adequate water (Al Jazeera, June 28, 2020). Brazil is reeling from rampant COVID-19 infections. Drug cartels undermine the rule of law in many nations. And now, a provincial governor in southern Colombia “warned that the region is ‘in a state of anarchy—complete disorder’” following an outbreak of violence last week that claimed 13 lives (The Guardian, August 17, 2020). He also commented, “This is what happens here, in any moment one can run into illegal armed groups who’ll kill anyone without saying a word,” and in desperation he observed there is nothing that can be done except to call on God.
Colombia suffered a five-decade civil war before a peace deal was brokered in 2016. During that period, over 260,000 people were killed and seven million were displaced. According to the United Nations, Colombia has seen 33 massacres so far this year. Recent killings have also included torture.
Colombia is a microcosm of many nations around the world where “truth is fallen in the street” and “justice is turned back” (Isaiah 59:14). And all of this because “righteousness stands afar off” (v. 14). Yet, this sobering trend is no longer limited to poorer nations of the earth; it is moving to industrialized nations that once prided themselves on the rule of law. Bible prophecies warn that “in the last days” many people will be “brutal, despisers of good” (2 Timothy 3:1–3). Jesus Christ foretold, “because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12). To learn more about the root of this growing lawlessness, be sure to read or listen to Who or What Is the Antichrist?
Massachusetts Town Legally Recognizes Polyamorous Relationships: As a result of COVID-19, the town of Somerville, Massachusetts, has recognized polyamory (NBCBoston.com, July 4, 2020). Not to be confused with polygamy—a heterosexual taking more than one spouse—polyamory is a situation where “any person of any gender can have multiple partners.” The town council legally recognized the practice, giving polyamorous people some of the rights and privileges of married couples. Those who created the new town ordinance point to COVID-19 as the reason.
Noting that in the midst of the pandemic only “family” members were allowed to visit their sick loved ones in the hospital, the town council chose to expand the definition of family to accommodate these individuals. As noted by NBC Boston, one city councilor said, “It validates their existence, it validates the way they love.” The councilor also stated, “When the government has tried to define what is and not a family, we’ve done a really poor job.” The ordinance was unanimously approved by the town council and is one of the first of its kind in the nation.
Expressing support for the new ordinance, one city resident commented, “I think it’s great.… It’s a lifestyle choice, it’s something that doesn’t hurt anybody, it’s just confined to the people in the relationship and why shouldn’t they have the same rights that other types of families have?” Today, many have forgotten that the Bible provides a very clear definition of family (Genesis 2:24–25). This definition protects husbands, wives, and children. The biblical family was designed by God to be a blessing and to help each member build godly character and learn important lessons, including the importance of life-long commitment that leads to family stability. Sadly, those who advocate for non-biblical family structures set themselves up for failure and heartache. To learn how to have a godly marriage and a happy and stable family, be sure to read or listen to God’s Plan for Happy Marriage.—Scott Winnail, Francine Prater, and Colleen Frank