Dear Brethren and co-workers in Christ:
We are trying to get caught up with many issues as well as the daily needs here in Arroyo Grande, California, as several items piled up while we were observing the Feast of Tabernacles and other Holy Days last month.
Doing the Work
On Monday, we were able to finalize the English version of the October-December 2013 edition of our Bible News Prophecy magazine. It is getting printed and is now currently available as a downloadable pdf: Bible News Prophecy, October-December 2013 edition.
We were able to review some internet statistics for the month of September 2013. We reached over 110,000 computers directly (they viewed hundreds of thousands of articles) as well as millions less directly (this is through our Google promotional campaign). For the sixth month in a row, we broke our previous record in having people in China view our materials over the internet. And, of course, China is the most populous nation on the planet!
This week, we were able to reserve a URL for the work in Africa. We were disappointed, however, that the .africa extensions can only be reserved at this time and not made live. When we originally looked into this, the claim was that the ‘dot africa’ extension would likely be available for use during the Fall of 2013. The latest information is that it will not be available until the fourth quarter of 2014. In the meantime, we are looking at getting more materials available online in the language of Kiswahili (as well as English), and will use the www.ccog.org and www.cogwriter.com websites as the main sites to reach Africa over the internet until the other becomes available. We have spent a lot of time on issues in Africa (we heard from leaders in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania) and are attempting to decide how to best handle certain areas of that continent. I hope to visit Africa by late 2014 if it makes sense.
We also made some progress on the development of a website targeted towards the Philippines. We earlier bought the URL pnind.ph (which stands for Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos, which is how the name “Continuing Church of God” translates into the language of Tagalog). We now have an edition of our Bible News Prophecy magazine translated into Tagalog and are getting some copies printed. We hope to get it online soon.
We also are working at getting other materials in other languages, and still another individual has come forth to volunteer to translate. This will be in one of the European languages and this particular one will help with certain aspects of the warning portion of the work better than certain others would. Currently, we are working on trying to determine which items this individual will be able to work on first. We also learned that we may get some materials translated into Korean.
We again received a letter from a pastor in Kachinland (located in the northern area of the region often referred to as Burma). It apparently arrived right after we had departed to go to New Zealand for the Day of Atonement. Because of limited computer and other internet access, we are not quite sure how this will develop, but we hope to be able to cooperate with people in that region. We hope to go through whatever doors God opens, wherever they may be.
World News Events
The situation with the USA budget made the news a lot this week. Many of the top leaders in the USA basically believe that the USA has no choice but to continue to borrow and print up money that it does not have (see Bankers and politicians want to increase the US debt and further devalue the currency). This will likely continue for some time, and has caused international concerns (see US government begins ‘shutdown’: Asia reacts and IMF and others have fears about possible USA default). The Bible is clear that the time is coming when creditors will rise up (Habakkuk 2:6-8). The USA will find that for sowing wind, it will reap a whirlwind (Hosea 8:7). This debt matter will not end up well for the USA or its Anglo-allies (Habakkuk 2:6-8).
Pope Francis keeps making the news. He told his eight trusted cardinals to ‘rip up’ the Vatican’s so-called ‘apostolic constitution’ and rewrite it (see Francis wants Vatican’s constitution ripped up and re-written: a prelude to make way for ecumenism?). Pope Francis has ecumenical intentions and even went so far as to say that there is no ‘Catholic God” this week (see Francis says he wants Rome less narcissistic and says he does not believe in a ‘Catholic God’ as he inaugurates a reform team). I will also state that I agree with Francis there is no Catholic God–however, I do believe that the Church of Rome has a god (2 Corinthians 4:4), but this is not the same as the God of the Bible. Some believe that Pope Francis looks like a lamb, but he speaks like a dragon (cf. Revelation 13:11).
While Francis may not be the last pope (though he possibly could be), he certainly is taking steps consistent with what the last pope would do and is setting the stage for the rise of the final Antichrist. I strongly believe that the final Antichrist, consistent with biblical and even some Catholic private prophecies, will publicly espouse a version of the faith of the Church of Rome, but ultimately even betray that (cf. Revelation 17:15-18).
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: International ‘Halloween’: Should Christians observe Halloween? There is also information related to this in the article: Is Halloween Holy Time for Christians? 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: Nazarene Christians: Were the early Christians “Nazarenes? There is also information related to this in the article: Nazarene Christianity: Were the Original Christians Nazarenes? Other sermons are also available at the ContinuingCOG channel.
- Final hymn.
- Closing prayer.
Note: If you have a slow internet connection and/or 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).
As I try to see how we in the Continuing Church of God will best lead the final phase of the work, I often come back to one or more of the following scriptures:
36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” (Matthew 9:36-38)
2 Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. 3 Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves. (Luke 10:2-3)
As Jesus instructed, pray for more laborers for the harvest. Also please thank God for those who are already laboring, including those who have volunteered to translate for us.
Bob Thiel, Pastor and Overseer
Continuing Church of God