Dear Brethren and co-workers in Christ:
We trust that you all had an uplifting ‘Pentecost‘ weekend. We had an uplifting one here and also heard that it went well in Kenya.
On administrative matters, we finally received our first printed letterhead and I, my first business cards, for the Continuing Church of God. Priorities, such as producing the Bible News Prophecy magazine, putting together sermons, government matters, assisting with member inquiries, and aspects of public proclamation took precedent, but it is nice actually now have those materials. The letterhead shows some of the wall of “Church of God on Jerusalem’s Western Hill” (also known as the Cenacle) to help illustrate that we are continuing the Christian original faith (that wall is believed to be part of the first church/synagogue built by Christians). And I actually used the new letterhead this week.
In a few days, we plan to meet with some potential locations in Santa Maria, California for the Feast of Tabernacles next week. while the Feast of Tabernacles itself does not start until the evening of September 18th this year, we do need to get certain other matters handled prior to then. We already have locations in New Zealand and Kenya, and we hope to put materials up online about those locations soon.
Reaching the World through Radio
I was able to be a radio guest on the Genesis Network this week. Topics covered included events related to Pope Francis and how the Muslims, Hindus, Catholics, Chinese, and others will end up worshiping the Beast.
World News Trends
The trend to promote homosexuality was over the news this week. France (see France becomes 14th nation to legalize homosexual ‘marriage’) and Thailand (see Thailand proposing homosexual marriage) have taken steps. And even the Boy Scouts of America, a group that supposedly encourages members to be “morally straight,” made more compromises on that this week (see BSA makes the move to allow homosexual scouts).
A new immoral trend that may be developing is the move towards legalization of physician-assisted suicide. The State of Vermont, joining the State of Oregon, has now legalized this immoral practice (see Vermont legalized physician-assisted suicide).
The world in general, as the USA in particular, seems determined to take steps to bring on the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:21).
Tornadoes made the news this week in the USA (as did political scandals) and that is part of why this week’s suggested sermonette is Does God Use Weather? The Bible does tell of weather blessings and sorrows. And more specifically, there are scriptures pointing to more major tornadoes in the future (see Devastating tornadoes are prophesied in the Bible). Expect to see more severe weather (cf. Mark 13:8).
Terror in the UK made the news this week (Somalian-linked terrorists warn Britain), which was followed by the US President declaring his intention to end the ‘war on terror’ (Obama ending ‘war on terror’). Terrorism for the Anglo-nations is not over. Also, since national repentance does seem to be on the horizon, terrors will ultimately increase for the descendants of Israel per Leviticus 26:14 and Psalm 83:3-8.
Pope Francis made the news for what some have suggested was a type of exorcism as well as for calling for changes in the world’s financial system (see Pope Francis calls for new economic order and is alleged to have performed a public exorcism: Could these be signs of the final Antichrist?). While Francis has not yet publicly demonstrated enough signs and wonders to be the final Antichrist (as opposed to just being an antichrist), he certainly has taken several steps in the first ten weeks or so of his pontificate to suggest that he is setting the stage for the final Antichrist, whether or not it is him.
Suggested Sabbath Service for May 25, 2013
Here is our suggested format for Sabbath services on May 25, 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 God Use Weather? There is also some information related to this in the article titled: Weather Blessings and Sorrows.
- 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 Ten Commandments: Loving God. Others sermons are also available at the ContinuingCOG channel.
- Final hymn.
- Closing prayer.
We recognize, and have noticed, various problems with certain sermonette and sermon videos. We tried another new microphone this week, which also did not work properly, so went back to an earlier one.
The sermonettes we suggest are normally posted at the Bible News Prophecy channel. Those tend to be in the 10-20 minute range. We have an editor for those who live over 200 miles away, and he puts in the scriptures and the opening and closing screens. Otherwise these are not edited. We have also made some changes as to how we video these and I believe that this will result in them becoming better over time.
Our sermons are normally posted at the ContinuingCOG channel. These normally have had no editing. These are sermons filmed live as given here in Arroyo Grande, California. Because of this, audience noises are heard from time to time and we still do not have an appropriate way to totally prevent them. In addition, there were microphone issues for this week’s suggested sermon, and we believe we now know how to greatly reduce those particular ones. So, as you listen to it, please realize that we believe we will have less of those issues overall in the future.
We appreciate you bearing with us as we best try to serve you. All of us here have had to learn as we go on this, so these problems hopefully are now being reduced.
Of course, we live in a culture where people generally prefer entertainment over the truth of the Bible. ‘Men pleasers’ are often more popular than those who will expound the truths of the Bible:
4 But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts. 5 For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness — God is witness. (1 Thessalonians 2:4-6)
Your prayers are always appreciated, and needed:
18 Pray for us; for we are confident that we have a good conscience, in all things desiring to live honorably. (Hebrews 13:18)
1 Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you, 2 and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith. (2 Thessalonians 3:1-2)
We continue to do the work and appreciate your prayers and support.
Bob Thiel, Pastor and Overseer
Continuing Church of God