Dear Brethren and co-workers in Christ:
The ‘Fall’ Holy days are rapidly approaching and the Feast of Trumpets will be here next week (you can click here for Holy Day Calendar in English and we also have it in the Spanish/Español/Castellano language: Calendario de los Días Santos). And now online, we also have it in Mandarin Chinese: 何日是神的圣日？ 这里是一份神的圣日日历从2013年至2024年。.
Because of the Feast of Trumpets begins on September 4th after sunset, we plan to provide a brief ‘Letter to the Brethren,’ on Monday or Tuesday of next week with a suggested Holy Day service for then.
The Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles are also coming up quickly. Since the ‘book of the law’ is to be read every seven years during the Feast of Tabernacles season (Deuteronomy 31:10-13), and I was able to do this back in 2006, we expect we will able to do even more for 2013 (see also The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time to Learn the Law).
As far as the sites go, here are where the CCOG-related Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2013 are planned to be:
- Ndhiwa, Kenya contact Deacon George Otieno, email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Whangarei, New Zealand contact John Hickey, email email@example.com
- Silay City, Philippines contact Oscar Meidavilla email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Santa Maria, California, USA contact Dr. Bob Thiel, email email@example.com
We were recently contacted by the COG of Grand Junction. A representative there asked if those affiliated with them in Kenya could be allowed to attend the Continuing Church of God site in Ndhiwa, Kenya, and we agreed to that. If the estimates I have received are accurate, between those affiliated with the CCOG and them, this would suggest that over 200 will attend the Feast of Tabernacles at that site.
In New Zealand, services for the Feast of Tabernacles are scheduled to be held at the Cheviot Park Motor Lodge. Their website is http://www.cheviot-park.co.nz/. This location is a one to two hour drive north of Auckland.
Finally after several unsuccessful communication attempts, I was able to speak with Oscar Meidavilla of the Philippines this week. I personally asked him about a site in his home. And he agreed. This will not be a regular site, but it is expected to be a DVD type of site. If you plan to go there and have internet access and/or expertise, your skills could be helpful.
As far as the USA site goes, my self, wife, and a couple of women planning to attend and assist with the Feast in Santa Maria were able to meet at the Santa Maria Inn and view the meeting room and handle various details.
Here is some information about the hotel in Santa Maria:
The Historic Santa Maria Inn
Address: 801 S Broadway, Santa Maria, CA 93454
Phone:(805) 928-7777 or 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 $109 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. We again visited it and booked some rooms there for the Feast earlier this week.
My wife and I expect to spend the first 1/2 of the Feast of Tabernacles in Whangarei and the second 1/2 in Santa Maria.
Doing the Work and Feeding the Flock
We got more materials online in Mandarin Chinese. Our reach to China has greatly expanded as we are reaching at least three times as many people in China as we were several months ago. At some point in time, this “door” may be closed, so we are doing what we can now to try to fulfill Matthew 24:14 as far as China is concerned.
We also worked on news items, articles, videos, and various posts for the period from now until the end of this upcoming Holy Day season.
On other matters, some additional paperwork was prepared, reviewed, and submitted to the government of New Zealand for the Continuing Church of God there.
The Bible Hymnal
We finally got a version of our new songbook, The Bible Hymnal, online! Here is a link: The Bible Hymnal.
Because of the higher than anticipated attendance at the site in Kenya, we sent 48 additional songbooks there.
We keep working with CreateSpace (an Amazon-related company) to attempt to get a hard cover version of our new songbook out prior to the Feast of Tabernacles. Progress is being made on this, but there have been some disappointments, as it was supposed to be ready by now.
My wife and I hope to bring the hymnals personally to New Zealand, but with delays with Create Space, this remains a challenge.
World News Events
The situation in Syria has been dominating much of the news. Thousands of years ago, the Bible told of a time that the head of Syria, Damascus (Isaiah 7:8), would be destroyed (Isaiah 17:1). Since this has not happened since Isaiah was inspired to write that, it will come to pass. While I do not expect that this month, it will happen. Here are some links to related news posts Syria’s Assad defiant as West seemingly delays attack and Iran threatens to burn down Israel if USA attacks Syria and NBC: U.S. ‘Military action is coming’ to Syria.
Leaders in both Greece (Greece still wants billions more, but says it will not accept further austerity) and the USA (US debt limit to be hit in October, so the plan is to increase the limit) say that they need to borrow more money to continue. Increasing debt is not a good thing. While the EU may again bail out Greece, the time will come when it will not help bail out the USA.
Fifty years ago this week, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous “I have a dream” speech. A few quotes and comments about that are in the post titled Martin Luther King, Jr. ‘Dream Rally’ and ‘God Has a Plan’.
Suggested Sabbath Service
Here is our suggested format for Sabbath services this week:
- 2-3 hymns (our songbook, The Bible Hymnal, contains the materials from the 1974 Bible Hymnal from the old WCG with new covers, plus ten additional hymns; there also is some Choral Accompaniment online).
- Opening prayer.
- Sermonette. Here is a link to to one suggested for this week: Leading the Final Phase of the Work. This is a different type of sermonette than usual and eventually, something like this may be used in an internet campaign. 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 Future King of the North. There is also information related to this in the article: Who is the King of the North? Other sermons are also available at the ContinuingCOG channel.
- Final hymn.
- Closing prayer.
Note: If you have a slow internet connection, you can watch these by starting the video, then below it (and towards the right) look for an outline of a gear–if you click on that, it will allow the YouTube video to be played with lower video quality, but at least it will not stop often–you can select a quality as low as 144p.
If you 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 (but we are also looking into ways to try to improve that as well).
The Apostle Paul wrote:
11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head — Christ — 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. (Ephesians 4:11-16)
Be faithful, study the word, “let brotherly love continue” (Hebrews 13:1), support the work, and pray.
Bob Thiel, Pastor and Overseer
Continuing Church of God