February 4th, 2021
Greetings from Charlotte,
Many of you are aware of the coup in Burma (Myanmar). Mr. Htoowah Laybeh wrote, “My family and the brethren are okay here in Thailand, but still facing the semi-lockdown in the country where interprovincial travels are still prohibited. Especially here in Mae Sot, on the border of Thailand-Burma where COVID-19 cases are increasing daily, the city is still under certain restrictions…. still unable to reach Mr. Thomas Tial Hoe [senior minister in Burma] as the phone networks are not fully back up in the country…. At this stage, it appears that all our members in Burma are doing fine.” In other news, we recently signed two new contracts for television coverage in Canada. The Cowboy Channel will carry the Canadian version of Tomorrow’s World nationwide at 8:00 a.m. Eastern, and CJDC in Dawson Creek, B.C., will air the program at 10:30 a.m. Mountain Time across much of northern British Columbia and northwestern Alberta. Both are scheduled to begin broadcasting on February 21. We had over 15,500 requests in January for the Bible Study Course here in the United States, continuing last year’s worldwide trend of high interest in this valuable resource. Let us stay close to God and remember one another.—Gerald Weston
Requests for Passover Supplies—Repeat Announcement
Important Notice to All Pastors: In 2021, the Passover Service will be observed on Friday evening, March 26. Please let us know as soon as possible if any of the congregations you serve will need additional Passover Service supplies (bread trays and/or wine trays or glasses) or a copy of the Passover Service recording and letter instructions (available in English, French, and Spanish). Passover Service recordings for 2021 have been made by Mr. Rod McNair in English and by Mr. Yvon Brochu in French. We need this information before March 5 for U.S. congregations in order to ensure timely delivery and to save on shipping costs. International requests should already have been submitted. The date takes into consideration the slowdown of mail service in some places because of the pandemic.
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. U.S. requests should be received before March 5, and international requests should already be here. Please direct your requests to the Church Administration Department at [email protected] as soon as possible.
For quite some time now, Children’s Lessons in the Spanish language have been available at lcgeducation.org, in addition to the English version. This week, we have important news to announce for our French-language speakers.
Children’s Lessons in the French language are also now available at lcgeducation.org/children-landing-page/. The link for lessons in French is next to the link for the lessons in Spanish. In addition, the unit “Tools for Christian Growth: Prayer” is now available in French as well! A big thank-you goes to all the team that made this project possible. To enroll in this class, just go to https://online.lcgeducation.org/ and look for the class titled “Outils pour la croissance chrétienne: la prière.” Happy studying!—Jonathan McNair
Living Youth Program
Living Youth Camp Acceptances—Repeat Announcement
We will be sending out acceptances for LYC soon. Spots are filling rapidly and only a limited number of staff applicants can be accepted this year. If you are thinking about coming to teen camp and haven’t applied yet, please do so now! It really helps us in planning to have applications in early so that staff positions can be filled and campers can be assigned to dorms. If you are undecided about applying because of concerns regarding COVID-19—for instance, whether or not you’ll be able to cross the border if you’re an international applicant—please don’t let that stop you from applying. If you need to cancel as camp gets closer, you will receive a full refund of fees and tuition up to at least one month before camp. We’d much rather you apply early and have to cancel, than apply late. It’s going to be a fantastic year!—Joshua Penman
Skills that Promote Teamwork: Members of successful teams (families, congregations, business groups, and athletic teams) develop the necessary skills to work together smoothly to accomplish goals. These skills can be identified and learned. As Christians, we must develop the same skills—and many are clearly biblical. Effective team players avoid saying or doing things that offend others (Matthew 18:7; 1 Corinthians 10:32). Team players learn to forgive and overlook slights or hurtful comments because they have learned the value of not being easily offended (Proverbs 10:12). Effective team players do not sit in judgment of others—accusing, criticizing, spreading their discontent, or saying or assuming negative things about others on the team. Instead, they make sure their own lives are in order (Matthew 7:1–5; James 4:11). Team players are peacemakers (Matthew 5:9) who can promote harmony and work smoothly with others (James 3:17–18). They deal with people gently, respectfully, and patiently, and are willing to listen without trying to justify their own position (James 1:19). Effective team players appreciate that a team is made up of individuals with different talents and abilities who can make unique contributions to the team (1 Corinthians 12:12). They know the main priority is to work together smoothly to achieve a goal while showing love to one another (Ephesians 4:16). In summary, good team players have learned how to love their neighbors. Let’s all strive to develop these important skills so we can do God’s Work effectively!
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—February 4, 2021
Child Spies in the UK: Where Could This Lead? The United Kingdom is evaluating a controversial new bill that would allow government agencies to recruit 16- and 17-year-old children to spy on their parents. The rationale behind the bill is to help the government “detect crime, protect public health, safety, or national security or help collect taxes” (Telegraph, January 24, 2021). The proposed bill would go so far as to allow children to break the law to gain information if the potential crime by parents is serious enough (The Guardian, January 13, 2021). Opponents to the bill are concerned about a number of disturbing implications of the measure, including the welfare of children who could be put in harm’s way—and rightly so. The bill, backed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, threatens to split his support base. If it passes, it would give more than 20 different government agencies authority to recruit children as their in-home spies.
Many of the crimes being discussed in relation to this bill are truly detestable. However, the nature of the bill could open the door for the use of child spies for other situations that do not put children at risk and could expand the powers of the state to covertly invade its citizens’ privacy. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic is moving some governments to initiate new practices of citizen reporting, in order to allegedly protect the health of the public (WBalTV.com, August 14, 2020; NewMexico.gov, March 25, 2020).
Where could these “well intentioned” reporting initiatives lead? Many may be surprised by Jesus Christ’s prediction that, one day, “brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death” (Matthew 10:21). In today’s increasingly anti-religious environment, this could also impact people who believe in biblical values if the governing authorities disagree with or detest those beliefs (vv. 16–22). According to Bible prophecy, we appear to be entering sobering times. For greater insights into what lies ahead, be sure to read “Why Free Speech Matters.”
Strong Families and Job Success: Many articles in the popular press pit family life against work success. But a new University of Georgia study found that those with a strong family life were better managers at work (Middle Georgia CEO, January 21, 2021). The new study “found that positive interactions with your child during your off hours can make you a better leader.” The study’s lead author observed that “leaders could be more effective because of their family life.”
The research found that managers with strong family lives had important leadership characteristics, such as showing consideration, providing assistance, and demonstrating concern for employees. These same attributes are seen in strong family interactions. The study suggested that if companies encouraged more employee-family interaction, it could benefit both the workers and the “bottom line” of their company.
This recent study highlights an important biblical principle. The Apostle Paul wrote that one of the qualifications for those ordained to leadership positions in the Church was that they should rule well in their own homes (1 Timothy 3:4, 12). Individuals who have good relationships with their family members not only set a good example for others, but also develop godly character traits that will enhance their leadership potential in their endeavors and responsibilities outside the home. God, in His wisdom, understood this principle long before any human study was devised to recognize its value. To learn more about successful family traits, read or listen to God’s Plan for Happy Marriage.—Scott Winnail, Francine Prater, and Howard Woodard