Dear Brethren and co-workers in Christ:
Another full week here in the Five Cities region of California.
So there is a lot to cover ranging from the upcoming Holy Days to the final phase of the work to hymnals to proclaiming the gospel to world news happenings to preparing the materials for this upcoming Sabbath.
Upcoming Holy Days
Several Holy Days will be here next month! Some videoing for a ‘behind the works’ type presentation was done this week and it is hoped that this will be ready in time for the Feast of Tabernacles.
As far as the Holy Days go, the next one will be the Feast of Trumpets. It will be observed from sunset September 4 to sunset September 5, 2013.
Other than the weekly Sabbath, the next Holy Day will be the Day of Atonement. It will be observed from sunset September 13 to sunset September 14, 2013.
If any of you wish to host services in your area for those Holy Days, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Feast of Tabernacles is also coming up. This year it begins the evening of September 18th and continue until the Last Great Day which is September 26, 2013.
Here is a link to a listing of the biblical holy days, through 2024, with their Roman calendar dates: Holy Day Calendar.
As mentioned before, we have a webpage with information on the Feast of Tabernacles this year. You may wish to view from time to time as we updated it with more information this week: Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2013.
Please think about where you may attend this year and let the coordinator for your preferred Feast site know via email.
- Ndhiwa, Kenya contact Deacon George Otieno, email email@example.com
- Whangarei, New Zealand contact John Hickey, email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Santa Maria, California, USA contact Dr. Bob Thiel, email email@example.com
Please try to decide where you plan to attend.
The Final Phase of the Work
We heard from two new groups in Africa, one in Zambia and another in Kenya. Those in Kenya have a Church of God background, while those in Zambia seem very interested in the Church of God and are specifically checking out the Continuing Church of God (CCOG).
There are also others in other areas that are checking us out as well. We also received a report from Ghana that books sent there are producing fruits.
Several articles were translated in the Spanish language and put on some of our websites. It was slightly delayed because we wanted to put a new URL (www.cdlidd.es) on the front and back covers.
The Mandarin Chinese version of Bible News Prophecy magazine was printed and picked up. So, we now have printed materials in three languages, and have some other languages on some of our websites as well.
Someone has also expressed a willingness for us to use materials translated into another European language. If this does happen, we plan to activate another URL we purchased this past Spring.
Regarding other media, I was a guest on the radio for about an hour yesterday. I focused on what has been happening with the false gospel message involving ‘Mary’ that Pope Francis has been promoting. Much of what was covered is included in this week’s recommended sermonette.
Finally had a little time to get back to the hymnal project. We are basically looking at producing an updated version of the 1974 hymnal. Basically what that means is that we will add our own front and back cover, but we are also trying to add some additional hymns that Herbert Armstrong approved after the 1974 hymnal came out. We have a tentative arrangement with Dr. Ross Jutsum to include several of his hymns that were often favorites of Herbert Armstrong in our upcoming hymnal.
However, this has resulted in having to modify the back of the book and index, so this will delay this project a bit. But it is my hope and prayer to get this out prior to the Feast of Tabernacles this year. Please pray for that.
July was the first month that expenses for CCOG exceeded donations. This was primarily because of magazine costs (including postage) and providing some assistance to our existing congregations in Kenya.
Overall, God has seemingly seen fit to move many of you to provide financial support through your tithes and offerings. We are grateful for that.
World News Events
As most of you are aware, there were still issues in Egypt this week (e.g. Muslim Brotherhood insists on President Morsi’s return, while Obama Administration wants quick elections apparently to reduce its embarrassment). Ultimately Egypt will change enough to support a leader that the Bible calls the King of the South (Daniel 11:40-43).
Iran is to get a new president this weekend. Many in the West have hope in him, but (as expected) he seems to have views consistent with Iran’s ‘Supreme Leader’ Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. (Iran is changing a speaker, but not its nuclear message). This probably will not bode well for Iran.
There were various reports of some type of a peace deal between the Israelis and Palestinians this week (e.g. Israel took official ‘peace deal’ step). Yet, until both sides feel more pressure, the deal related to Daniel 9:27 will not happen. If it does not happen by next month, this would suggest that the Great Tribulation will not begin before 2018.
On morality matters, Rhode Island and Minnesota began having homosexual ‘marriages’ yesterday. It seems that more and more states in the USA are turning in that direction. This will not bode well for the USA.
Speaking of the USA, it announced that it will close a lot of its embassies in Muslim lands (and also Israel according to one report) this Sunday because of fears of terrorist attacks (see Fearing terrorists, USA announces the closing of several embassies on Sunday). Terrors are one of the prophesied curses that the USA is experiencing (Leviticus 26:14-20).
Suggested Sabbath Service
Here is our suggested format for Sabbath services on August 3, 2013:
- 2-3 hymns (we are using the 1974 Bible Hymnal from the old WCG, and in most areas, the Choral Accompaniment).
- Opening prayer.
- Sermonette. Here is a link to our latest one: Pope Francis Could this Marian Focused Pontiff be Fulfilling Prophecy? There is also information related to this in the new article: Pope Francis: Could this Marian Focused Pontiff be Fulfilling Prophecy? Other sermonettes are also available at the Bible News Prophecy channel.
- Announcements (if any; though for many it will be this letter) and one hymn.
- Sermon which for most will be a recorded one titled: The 6000 Year Plan: Is the end of humanity’s reign almost up? There is also a related article titled: Does God Have a 6,000 Year Plan? What Year Does the 6,000 Years End?. Other sermons are also available at the ContinuingCOG channel.
- Final hymn.
- Closing prayer.
Note: If you have a slow internet connection and/or prefer audio messages to audio-visuals ones, go to the YouTube link for the message, click on SHOW MORE related to the description. You will then see something that says, “Download MP3.” Below that is a link to an MP3 file. Most computers (and even some cellular telephones) will allow MP3 files to be downloaded and played. So, this is an option we have made available.
Some times putting all this together seems overwhelming.
Please pray as Jesus taught:
The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. (Luke 10:2)
Bob Thiel, Pastor and Overseer
Continuing Church of God