Dear Brethren and co-workers in Christ:
Many things are happening on many fronts. And several of those will be mentioned in this letter.
The Holy Days
The ‘Fall’ Holy Days will be here in a few weeks. Preparation for them this has taken a lot of my time and attention this week. Trying to work with hotels, negotiating and signing contracts, trying to order and coordinate song books, developing and ordering Feast site banners, and trying to ensure that services will be available took time and effort.
More 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.
Other than the weekly Sabbath, the next Holy Day will be here in less than three weeks. The Feast of Trumpets will be observed from sunset September 4 to sunset September 5, 2013. Because of the fact that we plan to read and explain the law this year at the Feast of Tabernacles per Deuteronomy 31:10-13, some items related to the seventh year of release were added to some of my writings related to the Feast of Trumpets and also some information on the Jubilee which will come with a Day of Atonement in the future.
Other than the weekly Sabbath, the next Holy Day after the Feast of Trumpets 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 quickly. This year it begins the evening of September 18th and continues until the Last Great Day which is September 26, 2013. If any of you plan to come to Santa Maria, California, and/or would like to speak or lead songs, please let me know as we still could use some additional sermonette speakers, etc.
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
In the USA, services are scheduled to be held at the Santa Maria Inn. Santa Maria Inn has family-friendly surroundings with a heated pool, spa, beautiful landscaping, restaurant and pub.
The Historic Santa Maria Inn
Address: 801 S Broadway, Santa Maria, CA 93454
Toll Free (800) 462-4276
Hotel class: 3 stars
Here is information about an available room rate from the Santa Maria Inn:
We have set up a block of rooms under Continuing Church of God with check-in on September 18 and check-out on September 27. The individuals can decide what dates they would like to stay. The room rate is $114 and these rooms will be in the Original section of the Hotel. The cutoff date for the guests to request a room with this rate is September 3, 2013.
If you wish to stay there, you can get the reduced room rate if you mention the Continuing Church of God when you make reservations. There are also a lot of cheaper accommodations in the Santa Maria area. The Continuing Church of God DOES NOT get any financial benefit or discounts if you stay at the Santa Maria Inn, so do not feel obligated to stay there. But since services are scheduled for there, it will be convenient for Feast goers.
In the past week, I was able to speak with a couple of people people who are planning on coming to Santa Maria for the Feast this year.
The Apostle Paul stated, “I must by all means keep this coming feast” (Acts 18:21). If you can attend, and have not let us know, please let us know as soon as possible.
Doing the Work
Spent a lot of time this past week working on the next edition of the Bible News Prophecy magazine. In addition to writing it, I have to work with the translators (with some more than others), editors, layout people, etc.
We spent a lot of time this week on internet matters, including adding certain older materials in languages other than English to some of our websites.
Several articles were translated in the Spanish language. A lot of Spanish articles have been put up on two or more of our websites. Here is a link to some information about that: CCOG: Going forth in the Spanish language. Furthermore, here is a link to the Spanish language version of the Holy Day calendar: Calendario de los Días Santos.
Furthermore, for the first time, we were able to add some non-English items this week with the website www.ccog.eu. In addition to adding a link to the Spanish language website, we added some limited materials in the Dutch and Serbian languages. We are also looking at French and several other languages.
We Christians are to preach “this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations” (Matthew 24:14), “make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:19), and ultimately results in followers from “all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues” (Revelation 7:9). Thus, it makes sense to get materials into whatever languages God will open up to us.
The Bible Hymnal
One hundred copies of The Bible Hymnal of the Continuing Church of God that we ordered last week for Africa were shipped from the printer this week to Kenya. We paid for expedited shipping, so that they would hopefully get them prior to the Feast of Trumpets. Please pray that the books will get there safely, including through customs, and be able to be used by our many brethren in East Africa (this should include people from Uganda, and Tanzania, as well as Kenya, and perhaps elsewhere).
To hopefully assist others around the world, I personally decided to make the paperback edition of The Bible Hymnal available via Amazon as well. If you are going to attend the Santa Maria site for the Feast of Tabernacles, we plan to provide a copy of the hymnal to each head of household.
There are still other details to be worked out for the hymnals to go to other places. We were hoping to get a hard cover version also available, but CreateSpace (the printer of it) informed us yesterday that they will not produce that for a book with its dimensions (it took them three months to tell us that). It remains my hope and prayer, though, to make some minor modifications and get enough hard cover books prior to the Feast of Tabernacles this year so that our hymnal can be available at the Santa Maria, California, USA and Whangarei, New Zealand sites.
As mentioned last week, my wife and I plan to visit both of the New Zealand and Santa Maria sites this year (1/2 time at both sites) and expect to bring new hymnals with us personally to New Zealand. We sent the paperback version to Africa as we did not have enough time to get hard cover copies to them prior to the ‘Fall’ Holy Days–and still are working on that version.
World News Events
The “Eurasian Union” was in the background of the news this week and is the subject of the recommended sermonette this week. The Union itself is believed by some to be a ‘pet project’ of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. Because of it and an organization called the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, some see these groups as a way for the portions of the Asian and European world who do not feel part of the Western world to unite militarily and economically. The Bible tells of a time that there will be some type of confederation of the “kings of the sunrise” that will share at least one common military objective (Revelation 16:12-16). The groundwork for such a group is now forming.
Egypt was a big news item this week. The situation in Egypt remains volatile. There have been many protests, deaths, and injuries (see Egypt’s military comes down hard against supporters of elected President Morsi: many more dead! and Despite 525-4,500 deaths yesterday, Muslim Brotherhood calls for more protests in Egypt) since the military decided to replace the elected President Morsi there. A report from NBC today stated, “over 600 people have been killed and more than 3,500 injured in clashes with the military — and fears grew that the violence will persist.” The situation in Egypt will again change. Ultimately, those in Egypt will support a type of type of apparently Islamic leader who will be the final King of the South of Bible prophecy (Daniel 11:40). But that, too, will not turn out well for the Egyptians (cf. Daniel 11:40-43; Ezekiel 30:1-8).
Over in the USA, there was a report from its Department of Treasury that more foreigners dropped US Treasuries than ever before (see Foreigners dump US Treasuries: ‘you ain’t seen nothing yet!’). The Bible warns that this will get much worse and this will not be good for the USA nor its Anglo-descended allies.
Suggested Sabbath Service
Here is our suggested format for Sabbath services this week:
- 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: Is The Eurasian Union Rising? There is also information related to this in the new article: The Eurasian Union, the Kings of the East, and Bible 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: Sermon: The Vatican, Peter, and ‘Satan’s Throne’. This week’s sermon was actually videoed in Rome, so it will have a different background than the previously recommended sermons here have been. 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.
Remember brethren, the Apostle Paul wrote:
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints (Ephesians 6:10-18).
By being faithful, studying the word, and prayer, we can draw closer to God and put on His armor.
Thank you for your prayers, loving kindness, and support.
Bob Thiel, Pastor and Overseer
Continuing Church of God