Dear Brethren and co-workers in Christ:
We in Arroyo Grande, California hope and pray that you are all doing well. We keep trying to put together the videos, articles, and magazines to work towards the mission of fulfilling Matthew 24:14 and Matthew 28:19-20.
In this age, working towards Matthew 28:19-20 involves answering emails as well as travel. Both of which I was involved in this week.
Feast of Tabernacles
Speaking of travel, some have wondered about the locations of the Feast of Tabernacles for 2013.
In Kenya, it appears that the site will be in Ndhiwa. This is an area in eastern Kenya and takes about four hours to drive from Nairobi. If you are not from Africa and decide to attend here, please realize that this is not a wealthy area and is not a site for those who expect various Western comforts. However, this is likely to be the largest CCOG-affiliated site, and will be a unique experience for any who do decide to attend here.
In New Zealand, the city of Whangarei has been chosen. Whangarei is the northernmost city in New Zealand and the regional capital of Northland Region. It is surrounded by some of the region’s most spectacular beaches and scenery, and is a relatively short drive from Auckland.
In North America, we are considering locations in either Orange County, Ventura County, or the Danish city of Solvang in Santa Barbara County.
It is possible that we may have Feast of Tabernacles’ sites in other locations (and perhaps in other languages). I plan to provide more updates on the Feast of Tabernacles as we get closer to it. But currently thought that this would be a good time to let you all know what our current thoughts and plans for Feast of Tabernacles’ sites are as of now.
Reaching Latin America
Last Sabbath, I took the opportunity to meet with a group in Latin America that is supposedly part of a Church of God group based out of Denver, Colorado. Interestingly, the pastor of the congregation did not seem to realize that his group (and others he was affiliated with) was counted among the 300,000 that the Denver-based group claimed.
As a visitor, I was asked to speak before his congregation of about fifty, and decided to tell about the coming persecution of Sabbath-keepers, as well as information about the Kingdom of God. After their services ended, I was invited to have lunch with the pastor and his extended family (about a dozen or so people). We discussed doctrine and prophecy, as well as information related to the probable impact of Pope Francis and his devotion to Mary. I was able to distribute a couple of books as well as a couple of copies of the current edition of Bible News Prophecy magazine. They also were interested in Fatima Shock!, so I sent the pastor an electronic copy of it. This group was in a fairly dangerous location, and while I was leaving, the pastor explained that the crack gangs were basically in charge of his neighborhood.
The group I met with is not part of the Continuing Church of God. Yet I believe that this visit was a good way for me to better understand what is going on in parts of Latin America, as well as an interesting way to get more of the gospel message to those who are somewhat inclined that way. This particular group, for example, keeps the Sabbath and avoids unclean meats, as well as has a respect for the Bible.
Additionally, somewhat related to Latin America, as most in Latin America speak Spanish, the Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? article has been translated into the Spanish language and is now available: Calendario Anual de Adoración –Una crítica basada en la Biblia y en la Historia: ¿Hay un Calendario Anual de Adoración en la Biblia?
My thanks go out to our volunteer translator who lives in South America.
Iran made statements dismissing Israel’s ability to militarily attack it this week (see Iran totally dismisses Israeli military capability), while Israel made statements suggesting that it may launch attacks into Syria (Britain and France claim Syria has used chemical weapons, while Israel considers a military strike).
Because the Bible does not teach that Iran will lead the final King of the South, I have long taught that Iran will be somehow “neutralized.” This may be because of a regional conflict involving Israel and/or the USA, but civil unrest in Iran could also be a factor. As far as Syria goes, the Bible teaches that its capital Damascus will be destroyed (Isaiah 17:1) and events seem to be pointing in that direction.
On the economic front, there were concerns about the US dollar and Euro this week (Euro, dollar, and gold: Reserve currency?). Ultimately, the US dollar will be no more.
There have also been at least three major earthquakes this month, and there is only one in a typical month. Jesus warned about earthquakes in the end times (Matthew 24:7-8), and there seems to be an increase in them.
Suggested Sabbath Service for April 20, 2013
Here is my suggested format for Sabbath services for April 20, 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 one: Who is the Man of Sin? There is also a new article related to this titled Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2?
- Announcements (if any) and one hymn.
- Sermon which for most will be a recorded one titled Church of God or Church of Rome: What Do Catholic Scholars Admit About Early Church History? (there is a related article here What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History? for those who prefer the written word over the video or who may wish to refer back to this source as the sermon is based on this article).
- Final hymn.
- Closing prayer.
We are looking at ways of better making the videos available for those of us who have slower internet connections. So, please bear with us as we continue to look at better ways to serve you.
Bob Thiel, Pastor and Overseer
Continuing Church of God