Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:
Greetings again from the Five Cities region of California. It has been another full and busy week.
We finished up the new booklet Prayer: What Does the Bible Teach? and it is awaiting printing in the USA and Kenya.
Speaking of printing, we finally received printed copies of the Spanish version of the booklet Where is the True Christian Church Today?, which is titled ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy?
We also received additional materials in Spanish and German that we are trying to get formatted.
We also were able to ship more literature to New Zealand this week.
Yesterday, I was a radio guest and took that opportunity to proclaim biblical truths, including some related to the recommended sermonette for this week (When was the Exodus?).
Spring Holy Days
As mentioned before, the Spring Holy Days are getting nearer.
Again, if any of you wish to volunteer to host Passover services at your home, please let me know so that we can announce locations that others may wish to visit.
Most hosts would play the CCOG Passover Service video. Passover will be after sunset Thursday April 2, 2015.
Again, any who wish to contact me about hosting the The Night to Be Observed, which is the next night, and/or the first Day of Unleavened Bread, which is the next day (April 4), can also contact me via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Because the last day of unleavened bread is on a Friday (April 10) in 2015, followed by a Sabbath (April 11), some may wish to host services for others that weekend.
Preparing for the Days of Unleavened Bread and Passover
So, how does one prepare for the Days of Unleavened Bread and Passover?
There are a few things that one should do.
One, is to examine oneself (2 Corinthians 13:5) (you may also wish to watch the sermon Preparing for Passover).
Another is to remove all the leaven from one’s house and if applicable, automobile. You do not give the leaven to someone else to give it back to you later. (Note: Brewer’s yeast and autolyzed yeast extract are not leavening agents and do not have to be removed–but baking soda, bicarbonate of soda, yeast, and baking powder are leavening agents and they and foods that they are in should be removed.)
The removal needs to be complete by the start of the first day of unleavened bread (for details on what should be removed, etc., please see the article Should Christians Keep the Days of Unleavened Bread?).
Humble yourself and remove leaven from your home/office/automobile. More on physical and spiritual aspects of leaven are in the article Should Christians Keep the Days of Unleavened Bread?
If you are properly baptized, attend Passover services where appropriate. Whether baptized or not, attend church services on the first and seventh day of unleavened bread. If you cannot attend, at least try to watch the offertory and sermon messages for those days.
Passover and Unleavened Bread Services
There are expected to be Passover and Unleavened Bread services in New Brunswick. Contact Herb & Gisele Haddon, email: email@example.com.
There are expected to be Passover and Unleavened Bread services in North York (Ontario). Contact Michael Radtke via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are expected to be Passover and Unleavened Bread services in Wichita, Kansas. Contact R.H. Brown, email email@example.com, for particulars.
There are expected to be Passover and Unleavened Bread services in Wisconsin. Contact B. Bivens, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are expected to be Passover and Unleavened Bread services in Henderson, Nevada. Contact S. Benjegerdes, email email@example.com, for particulars.
For services in Arroyo Grande, California, contact Bob Thiel, email firstname.lastname@example.org, for details.
There are expected to be Passover and Unleavened Bread services in New Zealand. Contact John Hickey, email email@example.com.
There are expected to be Passover and Unleavened Bread services in Kenya and Tanzania. Email Pastor Evans Ochieng for details: firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are expected to be Passover and Unleavened Bread services in Silay City, Philippines. Contact Oscar Mediavilla via email email@example.com.
Passover in the Rift Valley region of Kenya
Received the following report from relatively new CCOG supporter in Kenya:
On the Sabbath of 14th March 2015 we held a successful meeting in Dikirr Transmara where Pastor Ochieng and I had an opportunity to meet each other. This was the second meeting in the Rift Valley after holding another one in Bomet last month. The meeting was attended by many brethren from the area including those who were converted as early as 1970’s. The main problem which those early Christians had experience is bad leadership which resulted to numerous divisions among the brethren. We are now re-uniting these groups together to be one. We also held a leaders meeting in Dikirr Transmara Together with Pastor Ochieng and we agreed to have three venues for the Passover feast i.e. Bomet, Transmara and Mau in the Rift Valley region. Also the brethren of Transmara have found a big hall whereby it can accommodate the brethren for the feast of Tabernacles. Transmara Dikirr is center place from the three regions of Bomet, Kilgoris and Mau there are many Christians in this region of Dikirr Transmara including old people who believe in Christianity. We shall not forget to extend our sincere thanks to Pastor Ochieng for his small assistance he offered to the widows in the area by providing them with the food. The pastors are also happy because they were promised English, Kiswahili and their native language Bibles. There are also many brethren in three churches who don’t have Bibles in their native language. The members also requested Pastor Ochieng to provide them with the Kalenjin bibles because the majority of the Rift Valley region understand Kalenjin.
May the lord bless you Amen
Joseah Kipngetich Tiongik
We are sending some English language Bibles with a shipment of used laptop computers a CCOG member in the USA is sending to Kenya. We also have provided some Bibles in the past in other languages, but the cost of local language Bibles in Kenya is high. However, we hope to provide some, as well as perhaps one day, literature in the Kalenjin language.
Currently, we have materials in English and the African languages of Kiswahili and Dholuo, with two other African languages (Zulu and Ekegusii) in progress.
Shipment to Kenya
Received the following email on Monday:
Unusual weekend. Hope you don’t mind me sharing. First of all, the box of laptops / Bibles / song books, etc is officially on its way. Went into a container yesterday, should be loaded on a ship and leaving the port of Savannah today. The unusual part is how that happened.Over the past few weeks, the actual deadline I had to meet was unclear. I think this is normal in the sense that East African Direct Shipping (EADS) does what they can to try to fill an entire container (maybe several). So, it seems they sometimes delay departure a bit to wait for additional boxes to maximize their load and profit. It became known last weekend (8 days ago or so) that the final deadline was 3/15 (yesterday). I had already lined up a trucker who moves the box from me to Marietta GA (cheaply) where it all gets packed in containers and then moved to Savannah. Then, the trucker told me his timing had changed and he could not make my deadline. I told my wife (half jokingly) that next weekend I might have to do a road trip to GA if things don’t line up.Over last week, I made multiple attempts to arrange things but they kept failing. I had an early sense that I was destined to drive it myself. Found another guy but he was very expensive. Then “Stan” – the man at EADS I’ve emailed / spoken with exclusively told me he could not meet a driver this week; that his partner’s father had died and he needed to fly to Kenya (last Wednesday). Once again, I had a sense that I was supposed to drive it down myself. Of course I prayed about it and asking for some way to get it down there. I identified other people (from internet registration of their website) who I thought were part of EADS and copied them on my multiple emails to Stan (who was now in Kenya and no longer replying to my emails). I was simply asking if anyone could meet me – I will drive the box down to Marietta myself. Stan was my only contact.Then, I got a reply late Saturday from Raphael stating he was a partner at EADS and he would meet me Sunday morning – said he had a crucial meeting at church at 11:00am but could meet me before then. He was packing the container on Sunday and off it goes on Monday. Then, he too flies to Kenya on Monday (today).So, off I went. Beth packed me a “lunch” and even offered her car because the box would not fit in mine. I left Saturday evening – drove / slept / drove / slept / drove … met Raphael at 9:30am yesterday. He is a Kenyan man. He and Stan are two men (both from Kenya) who run this business. He showed up in a suit (church) and proceeded to help me with the box. …What I quickly learned from talking with him is that it is HIS father that just died. Stan flew to Kenya to clear a previous container shipment because Raphael (who was supposed to go) stayed here in the USA because of the death. This man, dressed in a suit and tie, is going to his father’s memorial service right after he helps me unload a box and do some paperwork. Wow! I found him to be a very warm, genuine, friendly man. I had the same sense dealing with Stan remotely via phone / email. He “apologized” that I had to drive so far as if it was his fault. He was even concerned that I had not had any breakfast and offered to treat me to breakfast before he goes to the funeral. I thanked him but declined. I felt so bad for intruding on this day but I did not know until now.So, we had a few more minutes to talk while he is doing paperwork. One of the reasons I was attracted to these guys last year was that their website mentioned “Offices in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland”. My thought at the time was that I could just drop my box of laptops at their office in MD. Well, that website statement turned out to be an exaggeration – they are only in Marietta GA. That’s why I had to get a trucker to haul it to Marietta. Raphael said that they would like someone in Maryland that could collect shipments and bring them to Marietta every month or so (there is a large Kenyan population here). I quickly did some math in my head and suggested that we (Stan, Raphael, myself) might open a conversation on me doing that in Maryland. I don’t know why I brought that up. It wasn’t something I had on my mind. Starting a trucking business is not my dream. I just blurted it out. He was very receptive to the idea. Not sure where it’s going – just mentioning it. The math said it could be lucrative – collecting boxes (easy) and then going to Marietta only “once is a while”. Wouldn’t affect my computer business.After this, he mentions Evans Ochieng Kisiengo by name. I asked “Do you know Evans”? Of course, he does not. However, as it turns out, it was Raphael who personally delivered the last box of laptops to Evans in Kisii. It was the only box going on to Kisii – most people pick up their shipments in Nairobi. He remembers traveling to Kisii and meeting Evans. We finished our meeting. I thanked him for meeting me and expressed my condolences on the loss of his father. I told him to be at peace and that he will see is dad again at the resurrection. He just smiled and said “yes, I believe this”.I started the long drive home. All by myself … lots of time … thinking … driving … talking to God … radio / news / music … repeat. Several hours on the road and I asked God: “was this intentional?” Was I supposed to go to Marietta and meet this man? Immediately after I pose that question, I am passing a tractor trailer with that saying from your sermon this week. …:Seven Days Without Me Makes One Weak … GODI just don’t know what to think when stuff like this happens. I never heard this clever pun before and here it is on the side of a tractor trailer in North Carolina right after I pose a question to God the day after you use it in a sermon? Hmmm. …Have a good week. I need to catch up on some sleep.Bill Wedekind
So, our second laptop containing shipment is on its way. To save on shipping costs, it is cheaper to include Bibles and songbooks in this type of shipping container.
Prayer Request and Response
Speaking of Kenya, Pastor Evans Ochieng told me a few days ago that he was recently hospitalized and has asked for prayers for his recovery. So I prayed and sent a prayer request to John Hickey in New Zealand.
Yesterday, I got an email from Silas Muriuki who told me that after Pastor Ochieng visited the Nairobi/Kitui areas, he went to Transmara and got ill. Transmara is a very dusty and remote area and where water is a problem. Pastor Ochieng ended up being affected by Cholera.
Today, Pastor Ochieng sent me an email saying he is doing better and is planning on baptizing 8 people in Nyakach tomorrow, who he had hoped to baptize before he was ill.
Spent more time on matters related to registration of the Continuing Church of God as a charity in Canada this week. There seems to be a massive amount of details that Canadian authorities want and our approach to the Work is one that they keep wanting to know more about. We hope and pray that what we are providing will be sufficient so we can move past this in Canada.
World News Events
Russia and China took some steps to get more international acceptance of their currencies (see Russia and China taking steps to get international acceptance of currencies). And the Germans and some of the Europeans have now decided to support a Chinese government enterprise that is to essentially compete with the World Bank, despite USA opposition (see Europe is pivoting towards China and away from the USA). The time will come when the USA dollar will lose it dominance and we are seeing steps in that direction. Though there will be ups and downs with the USA dollar until it becomes worthless–and USA debt is ensuring it will become worthless (cf. Habakkuk 2:6-8).
Russia and NATO both are conducting military exercises in the Baltic area this week (seeRussian military exercise in Baltic targetting NATO; South Ossetia enters treaty with Russia). Each side claims that the other side might attack some day. Russia also entered into a new treaty with South Ossetia, which seems like a prelude to a possible annexation. Russia wants all the territory of the old Soviet Union back, and is trying to get back what it feels it can. This is concerning Europe, to a major degree. Europe is partially rearming because of Russian moves and a growing mistrust of the USA.
Over in Europe, the European Union Council President Donald Tusk said that he believes that UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s hope to renegotiate parts of the Lisbon Treaty (which is what the European Union is currently operating under is “mission impossible” (see EU’s Tusk tells UK’s Cameron plans are ‘Mission Impossible’). The UK will NOT end up as an equal partner in the final reorganization of the European Beast power and will one day be taken over by it. The UK may well vote to leave the European Union when it gets a chance. Prime Minister David Cameron has promised such a vote in 2017 if he remains in office then, while others hope such a vote could come as early as this year. We will see.
Over in the Vatican, Pope Francis indicated that he may only have two to three more years left on his pontificate (see Francis not planning on being around too much longer). He has occasionally dropped hints that he might wish to retire. Presuming he is not the last pope (and that is not certain), he certainly has been taking steps in his pontificate to set up for the rise of the final Antichrist.
There were austerity protests in Germany yesterday (see Austerity protests in Germany–expect more civil unrest in Europe). I have warned for years that could happen. I expect to see more civil unrest, including more violent civil unrest, in Europe. This may be one factor in the rise of the final ‘Beast of sea’ that we read of in Revelation 13:1-4.
In the USA, its President Barack Obama mentioned yesterday that he would like to see mandatory voting in the USA (see Obama wants to force people to vote). Since we in the Continuing Church of God avoid secular politics, those who live in the USA could be affected by this if it were to become law. Right now, it is not likely, but the fact is that those in the USA have less freedom than many think they do, and the freedom to not vote is another that could be taken away.
Israel had an election which is believed to have insured Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s leadership. This has upset the Palestinians, the Obama Administration, and some others (see Netanyahu seemingly victorious: Some are concerned). Because of pubic statements Benjamin Netanyahu made during the campaign, as well as past relations, the Obama Administration has indicated that it may reduce the support it provides Israel in the United Nation (see USA may abandon Israel in the United Nations). However, because it does not wish to offend USA voters, the Obama Administration will likely exercise caution before turning to much against Israel (end-time biblical prophecy, which neither administration takes very seriously, will also be a factor in the future relations between these nations).
Egypt made an announcement. Egypt, with funding from some Gulf states, declared that it plans to build a new capital. One in CCOG asked me if this might become the capital city for the final King of the South. And I told him that was a possibility (see Is the King of the South’s capital being built in Egypt?).
I noticed this week in the news that some Protestants are excited about an altar in Jerusalem as well as the timing of the coming blood moons this year. But let me state that the type of blood moon expected in April 2015 has no particular prophetic significance, though there is a small possibility (very small) that the one in September 2015 might (see Temple Institute Altar and Blood Moons). Partially because of misunderstandings of prophecy, most Protestant prophecy watchers will NOT know when the Great Tribulation starts until it is too late. This, sadly, will also be the case for Laodicean (Revelation 3:14-19) Christians as well (see also The Laodicean Church Era).
There is much prophetic news and deceit these days.
Suggested Sabbath Service
Here is our suggested format for Sabbath services this week:
- 2-3 hymns (our songbook, The Bible Hymnal, contains the materials from the 1974 Bible Hymnal from the old WCG with new covers, plus ten additional hymns; there is also some Choral Accompaniment online).
- Opening prayer.
- Sermonette, which for most who receive this letter via email will be a recorded one: When was the Exodus? A related written article is: When was the Exodus? Did it Happen? 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 who receive this letter via email will be a recorded one. The one suggested for this week is: What does the Bible Teach About Prayer (& Healing)? A related written item would be the new booklet Prayer: What Does the Bible Teach? 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. This is an option we have made available (but we are also looking into ways to improve that as well)–and, of course, we have written article options that we list each week.
Some people have found that if their internet connections are not fast enough, that they can simply listen to the messages that are found at the new Bible News Prophecy online radio channel.
IN CASE YOU DO NOT RECEIVE A ‘LETTER TO THE BRETHREN‘ FOR ANY WEEK, REMEMBER THAT THERE ARE MANY SERMON MESSAGES ON THE ContinuingCOG channel AND MANY SERMONETTE MESSAGES ON THE Bible News Prophecy channel.
What should you being doing between now and the Spring Holy Days? Notice what the Apostle Paul wrote:
27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world. (1 Corinthians 11:27-32)
If Christians will properly examine themselves, they will not have to be condemned with the world.
One of the reasons for the two-part sermon series on prayer is to help you examine yourself and your relationship with God.Sincerely,
Bob Thiel, Pastor and Overseer
Continuing Church of God