Dear Brethren and co-workers in Christ:
After 22 hours of straight travel, my wife Joyce and I returned from Italy and back to the Five Cities region of California on Sunday.
Because of limited internet access while in Europe, it has taken most of this week to get somewhat caught up from being gone. We were far enough behind that I asked someone else to assist with uploading various translations into Mandarin Chinese as well as Spanish to two of our sites, as opposed to me doing all of that myself as I usually do. This should be completely caught up later today.
Also, on administrative matters, we have had a ‘temporary’ bank account that was needed until certain corporate documents were received back from the State of California, and then needed to wait over six weeks for delays from the bank (with no explanation from the local branch other than them telling us that they had no idea why their corporate office kept delaying this) in order to open the regular bank account. The experience reminded me of the following:
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. (Ephesians 6:12)
Anyway, the temporary account was closed yesterday and the regular corporate bank account was opened yesterday as well.
Speaking of delays, while the Continuing Church of God has tax federal exemption in 49 US states and all US territories, we ask your prayers that our State of California exemption request would be processed quickly and that we will find favor in the site of the officials reviewing it would be appreciated (cf. 1 Timothy 2:1-2). With the problems that some groups have had with the IRS (and that does not include the Continuing Church of God), and the fact that our position on matters such as abortion, homosexuality, etc. differ from those held by many government officials, political bias against those of us who dare to stand for biblical morality is a concern in California.
Matthew 24:14: Reaching the World
We had looked to doing a major Google campaign to promote our videos last month, but the proposal from the “expert” there showed that he did not really understand our needs, so that project has been temporarily shelved.
However, we did begin a lower-cost campaign that seems to have successfully reached thousands in the month of June. Basically, there are “key words” that other churches are not particularly interested in that we in the Continuing Church of God can target at a very-low cost.
Why? Basically because there is no competition to drive up the price.
Currently, not only do we in the Continuing Church of God reach more people than the vast majority of Church of God groups combined, on a per member basis, we reach several times as many as any group I am aware of ever has in the history of Christianity (though possibly excluding the Apostle Peter’s first sermon in Acts 2). We in the Continuing Church of God are leading the final phase of the work.
We have other ideas that I believe will help us reach more in a very cost-effective manner, including a unique video project that I hope we will be able to get to this summer. It may be an interesting and effective “door” to reach those who are unsure what to so (cf. 1 Corinthians 16:9; 2 Corinthians 2:12. More information on that is planned to be discussed as that project moves further along.
In terms of literature, I worked on the Bible News Prophecy magazine this week, including communicating with a couple of our translators and meeting with the layout company. The layout company and two of the translators are a little behind, but we still intend to get the next edition out in multiple languages.
Our translator for Mandarin Chinese asked for statistics on reaching those in the People’s Republic of China this month, and since I shared those with him, thought that many of you may be interested in this. As of a few moments ago, we have had just about 10,000 articles viewed from locations that AW Stats identifies as coming from China during the June 2013. And if you add those in Taiwan and Hong Kong, then it is well over 10,000 so far this month. The internet seems to be the best way to directly reach China at this time as the Chinese thus far have seemed to block our physical literature when we tried to send it in. I believe that the internet is one of the doors that God has opened up for His Philadelphia remnant (cf. Revelation 3:7-8; 1 Corinthians 16:8-9).
We are on track to have about 300,000 article views on the websites this month, as well as thousands of YouTube channel views. The message is getting out, but we have so much more to reach.
World News Trends
Last week I mentioned the trend towards civil unrest and protests. Protests have continued in Brazil and are expected to greatly increase in the next couple of days in Egypt. As I mentioned last week, protests were a factor in the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ and hence seem to be playing into the rise of the prophesied King of the South.
On the world scene, the USA is losing a lot of respect. The Russian newspaper Pravda essentially said that Barack Obama was the President of Sodom and Gomorrah because of the increasing acceptance of homosexuality and the homosexual agenda in the USA. Pravda’s article basically said that the USA was getting weaker in many areas and that no one, including “Tiny Britain” will be able to back the USA up in the future.
On June 24, 2013 in the USA, a civil rights panel ruled that an elementary school was discriminating against a cross-dressing 7 year old boy because it would not allow him to regularly use the girls’ toilet (Civil rights panel rules it is discriminatory to not let a boy regularly use girls’ toilet).
On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court of the USA rule that the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional (Russia calls Obama President of Sodom and Gomorrah and the US Supreme Court ruling on homosexuality today confirms it). Supreme Court Justice Kennedy claimed that there was “no legitimate purpose” in defining marriage as between a man and woman and not equating that to homosexual unions. Apparently, he does not agree with the words of Jesus:
4 “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matthew 19:4-6)
Homosexuality is condemned by the Bible and the Bible does not condone homosexual marriage. but refers to homosexuality as an abomination (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13).
Someone sent me the following news excerpt, and I have included some his comments in italics below it:
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) had a two-word response on Wednesday to Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-MN) assertion that the Supreme Court tried to “undo what a holy God has instituted” by striking down the federal same sex marriage ban: “Who cares?”
To me it may be the defining comment of our nation in this age. It is so profound when you think about it.
The USA, in my view, has past the point of no return. While there are Americans (including Canadians) that hold views closer to the Bible on certain points, the reality is that the governments of the USA and its Anglo-allies seem determined to march towards immorality and destruction.
Many of the leaders in the USA and other Anglo-lands do not care about biblical morality. In Romans 1:18-31, the Bible condemns various forms of immorality, including homosexuality and lesbianism. It then concludes with the following:
32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them. (Romans 1:32)
Notice that not only those that participate in immorality are condemned by the Bible, but also those that approve it. Surely this is a prophecy for our time!
The end-time sorrows and troubles in Western society have begun (Matthew 24:5-8), and the acceptance of immorality will lead to destruction (Romans 1:18-32; Daniel 11:39).
Furthermore, there were indications that the leadership in Germany wants increased acceptance of its military (see Germany’s elites want more acceptance of its military; How can the coming European power defeat the USA?) while the USA made another announcement relating to reducing its (US Army announces cuts). The world is more dangerous than many in the USA seem to realize and the USA pulling troops (and earlier tanks) out of Germany will make the Germans more likely to attack the USA.
Feast of Tabernacles
As a reminder, we have a webpage with information on the Feast of Tabernacles this year that you may wish to view from time to time as we expect to update it with more information as it becomes available: Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2013. Please think about where you hope to attend this year and let the coordinator for your Feast site know via email.
- Ndhiwa, Kenya contact Deacon George Otieno, email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Whangarei, New Zealand contact John Hickey, email email@example.com
- Santa Maria, California, USA contact Dr. Bob Thiel, email firstname.lastname@example.org
We have heard that more and more plan to attend the Feast site in Kenya. The growth in that part of the world (some are in Tanzania and Uganda) is very encouraging.
We expect to have more information on the USA and New Zealand Feast sites next week.
Suggested Sabbath Service for June 29, 2013
Here is our suggested format for Sabbath services on June 29 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: Does the ‘Cenacle’ deal have prophetic ramifications? There is also information related to this in the article titled: Church of God on Jerusalem’s Western Hill. 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 Seven Church Eras of Revelation. This sermon is based on a lot of information in the article titled The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3. Other sermons are also available at the ContinuingCOG channel.
- Final hymn.
- Closing prayer.
As the Apostle Paul wrote:
2 Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; 3 meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ (Colossians 4:2-3)
Brethren, you are in my prayers. Please pray for us and that God will open the doors for us and that we will have the wisdom to recognize and go through them.
Bob Thiel, Pastor and Overseer
Continuing Church of God