Dear Brethren and co-workers in Christ:
This has been a different type of week, because of travels (including sleeping on an air mattress in a cramped apartment the past two nights). It has been difficult to keep up with emails and posts, but mainly I have been able to.
That being said, this letter is being sent from Israel! I have never been to Israel before and spent time doing research and videoing segments for sermons, sermonettes, etc.
Yesterday, while attempting to take some photos and to video some of the remains of the Church of God on Jerusalem’s Western Hill, I was approached by a Jewish rabbi named Avraham Goldstein who would like the Continuing Church of God to be involved in an archaeological project related to that general area. I do not know how that may proceed, but if it is God’s will, perhaps at some point in time we will have some involvement.
India and the Work
This we made additional progress on our www.ccog.in website. One thing that I have noticed is that relatively few are interested in India, despite the high proportion of human beings who are Indian, and the fact that the Indians have a fair amount of internet expertise. Of course, the fact that most are Hindus or Muslims plays an important role here.
But more than that, I have noticed that those who tend to watch our Bible News Prophecy channel tend to have less interest in matters that are about places in Asia.
So, why bother?
Because reaching Indians (and others) is part of the final phase of the work. Matthew 24:14 says:
14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14)
Thus, between now and the end, a better witness is expected for the world in general and that would include the Indians. Furthermore, notice the following:
9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:9-10)
The above would therefore have to include Indians. Hence, we are hopefully planting seeds that will reach countless many.
We still are working on the Mandarin Chinese version of the Bible News Prophecy magazine. Some cover issues remain, but otherwise it seems done. We hope it will be available next week.
World News Events
Parts of the world are preparing for Halloween and other essentially pagan celebrations next week, so the sermon suggested for this week is related to that.
The USA has continued to upset the world in general, and European leaders in particular (France summons US ambassador because of espionage concerns see and Merkel angered by USA allegedly listening in on her cell phone and EU summit to discuss USA spying) related to its massive espionage programs. The USA has basically let the European Union leaders know it has not trusted them. In order to ‘save face’ it would appear that the USA will take steps to stop some surveillance as well as give the Europeans more information than is safe for the USA. This will not bode well for the USA (cf. Daniel 11:39).
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 titled: Will People in India Worship the Beast of Revelation 13? There is also a related written article titled: India and the Beast of Revelation 13.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: Halloween: Is it for Christians? There is also a related written article titled: Is Halloween Holy Time for Christians? 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 your internet connection is still too slow (as my home one is) and/or 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).
Notice the following from the Apostle Paul:
8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9)
God’s ways and His word are true. But the world wants to come up with their own substitutes to do things its way. But the Bible is clear:
5 There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death. (Proverbs 16:25)
The above seems appropriate in this worldly season of “death.”
Brethren, hold fast and meditate on that which is true. Fill your mind with the truth of the Bible and God’s way of life.
Bob Thiel, Pastor and Overseer
Continuing Church of God