Dear Brethren and co-workers in Christ:
We have heard from a few additional scattered ones in North America, Europe, Africa, and the South Pacific in the past week.
As many of you have commented, it is disappointing and amazing to see the amount of misinformation about me and the Continuing Church of God on the internet. However, those who tend to have the greatest “love of the truth” should be able to see through this, study, and pray. As Jesus said, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).
The most immediate concern for many of our scattered brethren is weekly Sabbath services. This has been a bit of a challenge for many reasons including time, ability, and technological issues.
Although we tried taping Sabbath services in Arroyo Grande last week, cassette, noise, and camera issues rendered the service less than ideal (the content, itself, however was fine). So, this week we videoed the sermon again.
And though there was a camera issue (resulting in the sermon ending up being shorter than expected and in two parts), we developed a new YouTube channel, called ContinuingCOG and the sermon was uploaded to it.
We also were able to add the 1974 Bible Hymnal of the old Worldwide Church of God to the ccog.org website, along with choral music for many of the songs. The 1974 Bible Hymnal is a pdf file and takes a little while to load, but the complete hymnal is there.
The choral music is in MP3 format and plays with MP3 players. If you are unable to play the music files, you need a music player that plays *.mp3 files. VLC is a free audio player for PC, Mac, and other operating systems and you can download that and hopefully be able to play music to accompany the songs.
So, here is my suggested format for Sabbath services for January 12, 2013:
- 2-3 hymns (we are using the 1974 Bible Hymnal from the old WCG)
- Opening prayer by an appropriate male if present).
- Sermonette (short 8-15 minute subject) or Bible New Prophecy YouTube video. The latest posted one is titled The Debt Crisis Will Be Worse Than Most Imagine .
- Announcements (which probably will be this Letter to the Brethren) and one hymn.
- Sermon (which for most will be a recorded one), with the first (unfortunately in two parts) titled Continue What (1/5/12) Part 1 and Continue What (1/5/12) Part 2 . In total the two parts are about one hour.
- Final hymn.
- Closing prayer by an appropriate male (if available).
So, for your part, try to see if this can work for you. And do not get discouraged if you run into some technical glitches at first. We are trying to work through them on our end and believe that we should be able to have weekly online services on a fairly regular basis. We also are looking into the possibility of producing DVDs for those without internet access, but this will likely take some time.
Also, we tried two different cameras for the videoing and expect to try a third tomorrow. Also, last night, we ordered a new camera, along with an actual separate microphone. We believe these items will improve both the audio and video quality, reduce transfer times from production to being able to go online, and hopefully reduce technical camera issues (so that sermons will be in one video instead of two).
Brethren, continue to pray the God will grant all of us, including me, wisdom (2 Thessalonians 3:1-2; James 1:5), that He will provide more laborers for the harvest (Matthew 9:37), that we in the Continuing Church of God will go through the doors that He opens (Revelation 3:7-9), that we will love one another (John 13:34-35), and be the type of witnesses He wants us to be (Matthew 5:15; 24:14).
Again, thank you for your support and encouragement as we strive to do what God would have us do.
Bob Thiel, Pastor and Overseer
Continuing Church of God