Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:
Greetings now from Grover Beach, California, another one of the ‘Five Cities’ in this part of the world.
We moved mainly on Friday, and also came in Sunday to try to get better organized.
It will take me some time to get used to the new facility as I had been at 1248 E. Grand Avenue in Arroyo Grande for over 21 years, and everything is not fully unpacked or organized. Because of the close proximity to the Fall Holy Days, it may not be until after the Feast of Tabernacles that things will be close to ‘normal.’
Grover Beach Office
Our new address is:
Continuing Church of God, 1036 W. Grand Avenue, Grover Beach, CA 93433
We no longer have the facility in Arroyo Grande, so please send all correspondence to the Grover Beach address. While my business, and not CCOG, are paying for the rental space for the new office, we picked the most cost-effective location we could find that looked like it would meet our needs.
We learned that the local post office has returned checks and other materials that people have mailed to our new location. I thought this was resolved several weeks ago when I spoke personally to the letter carrier who came here. But apparently there are at least three different carriers for this address, and I had to tell another one on Tuesday.
Some mail has been delivered here, while other mail was returned claiming the building is vacant or that we are not here.
Well, the building is not vacant and we are here.
We also filed the proper paperwork with the US Post Office and now everything is supposed to fine. We apologize for the difficulties some of you have encountered trying to send letters, tithes, and offerings. It should all be resolved now.
Thank you for your understanding.
Feast of Tabernacles is a Month Away!
It has been said that the older one gets, the faster time seems to go by. Anyway, the Feast of Tabernacles for 2015 is only a calendar month away. The Feast in 2015 begins the evening of September 27th. If you are planning on attending in North America, our sites are in Denver, Colorado, USA and Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. Have you let us know your plans yet?
If you are planning on attending in Denver and have not contacted me, please send me an email: email@example.com. If you are interested in possibly giving a sermonette, let me know as we have not finalized all the sermonette schedules yet for this site.
If you are planning on attending in Niagara Falls and have not contacted Herb Haddon, please send him an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are planning on attending the Feast of Tabernacles’ site in New Zealand, contact John Hickey, email email@example.com; his mobile phone number is 021 519 441.
If you are planning on attending in Tanzania or Kenya or Nigeria or Ghana or elsewhere in Africa and you are not from Africa, please contact Pastor Evans Ochieng, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you hope to attend in the Philippines, please contact Oscar Mediavilla via email email@example.com.
For more information of the various locations of the for 2015, including those in Africa & Asia, check out the updated article Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2015.
Reaching Ghana and Elsewhere in Africa
Continuing Church of God pastors Evans Ochieng and John Owak went to Ghana last week. We received the following from Ghana on August 22, 2015:
Dear Dr Bob,
Greetings to you from your other brethrens in Ghana. We’re writing to thank you. Pastor Evans and John have visited us in Ghana. We know that they will give you every report about us. Their stay was not long. They came on the night of Wednesday and left on Friday. We thank you for fulfilling your promises. We hope to hear from you when the feed back is sent to you by them. May the almighty God bless you
Elder Osei Bonsu
CCOG Pastor Evans Ochieng sent in the following report on August 23, 2015:
Pastor Dr Bob,
TRIP Our trip from Blantyre to Nairobi was safe and tired some due to the distance we travelled. Since it was a very long journey as it was that we left Majau shopping center where we had a meeting with Malawi congregation. We reached in Blantyre Malawi late in the night of which we had to go to bed immediately so that to we could start our journey back to the city of Lolongwe where we were to board a plane back to Nairobi.
From 18th-8-2015 we did not sleep since we were to board plane back to Nairobi. From 18th to 19th August 2015, we did not have any sleep day and night. We took 5:40 from Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta airport to Accra Ghana. Airport. The flight was good except when we were approaching Atlantic Ocean, the cloud was very heavy and thick over Atlantic Ocean. It forced pilot to divert to another direction so that we could land safe. We found if Osei Bonsu and Joseph were waiting us at the gate. They had a car which took us to town where we board a bus from Accra to Kumasi town. From Accra to Kumasi is a long distance. We took five hours to reach Kumasi. We reached very late at night that we could not talk with the brethren that day. Again we were totally tired because of failing not to sleep for two days day and night. Before leaving Accra to Kumasi, we met one of the church members who is one of bank officers in Accra. After discussions with him, we board a bus to Kumasi. This was another long journey from Accra to Kumasi. We arrived in Kumasi at 9.00 pm when we were very tired.
MEETING ON 20th AUGUST 2015 We wake early in the morning to prepare ourselves to meet the executive members of seventh day church of God. Their plan was to meat only the executive members. They have 11 congregations with over 500 people. This is the reason why they decided to meet only the General overseer Mr Samwell Fosu and his executive members only on behalf of all members. The meeting started at 9.00 am with this executive. . The topics to be discussed were;- 1- Affiliation 2- Doctrines 3- Feast of tabernacles 2015 4- Training of pastors.
AFFILIATION SOLUTION After a long discussion and questions from both sides we came to agreement that since they have interests in the church doctrines and foundation which they believe that is powerful and based on truth which was once delivered to the saints by God, they will start working with the church as part of the church in Ghana. The church will be established in Ghana under the supervision of Pastor Samwell Ofosu who is the current general overseer in Ghana for seventh day church of God.
DOCTRINES We found that most of the doctrines are the same, so we did agree to work together Within church doctrines of CCOG that which 11 congregations with over 500 members will follow.
TRAINING PASTORS Since they have 11 congregations with many members, we came to the agreement that we will have a pastors seminar or training so that each and every pastor should not go out of church doctrines. I am planning to arrange such seminar after the feast of tabernacles in Kenya for all the congregations in Africa.
FEAST OF TABERNACLES. We discussed about the feast of tabernacles at length of how they have been doing it and the plan that they have for the Feast of Tabernacles 2015. First, they told us that they have been keeping the Feast of Tabernacles for 10 years. And sometimes with financial challenges, especially for the meals and camping site. They do rent school compounds. Due to the fact that the feast do fall in in different roman calendar dates, Some do fall during school days if the school season is not closed. This has been a challenge to them for finding a proper place for the camp. Also as members do donate funds for the feast, it becomes a problem sometimes as per the income for the members. They are planning to rent a school where they will keep the feast this year. The only problem which they are facing is how to get funds for enough food and transport. They requested if God can provide some funds that can assist them to have good feast 2015. I also noticed that it is a real problem to them. I support that if funds can be available then they can be assisted. They are very good people.
TRANSLATION. In Ghana they have a national language which all people are speaking. I found it important to translate the magazines in Ghanaian language to benefit all Ghanaians I discussed this matter with Samwell who is the general overseer. We came to the agreement that they will do this after the feast. I was very happy with the kind of work that they doing and the kind of welcome they gave us.
PLANS AHEAD My plan is visit Ethiopia and Nigeria after the feast so that when shall have the seminar or training, it will find if we have already know what is going on in Ethiopia and Nigeria. Otherwise we came back safe and reached home safe. Let us pray for the work in Africa. God has opened the doors in Africa.
I also appreciate the work you are doing in website because it has made us to reach many people.
The overseer of the group in Ghana, Pastor Samuel Ofosu Gyeabour, wrote then wrote us:
24 August 2015
Dear In Christ, In line with our vision of propagation of the gospel and your quick response to commission the General Overseer of Africa from faraway Kenya to Ghana, I would like to give glory to His Highness, the Creator God and a big thank to you Dr. Bob Thiel of United State, the general overseer of the continuing church of God.
Really, the arrival of the General overseer of Africa to Ghana motivated me so much I even describe the event as the grand fulfillment of my long awaiting expectation that we can’t afford to lose what the early Apostles left to us concerning the faith once delivered unto us. At any rate, the meeting was successful with suggestions, explanations and constructive ideas high lighting our affiliation, that portrays brotherly love in our Lord. In fact, I was in a great joy mainly when we arrived at the discussions of the mandatory festivals ordained by God from the very beginning of this planet. The General overseer’s explanations to the meanings of the festivals and that of ours boils to the same points. the only thing, that kept me mute was how you enjoyed the feasts. The poverty level of our country is unbearable to afford comfortably, but it doesn’t in anyway stop us from the celebration of God’s Feasts.
I know with our intent to propagate the purpose of human existence on this earth we shall also make. I believe life is a game and we need to play it, life is a challenge and we need to make it. the most important thing is to keep focus on our potential instead of our limitation bearing in mind that success don’t come to you but you go to it and find it. I know for sure with these affiliation developments in perspective the hardships we encounter during festivals shall be over come. Now concerning your endeavors to let the people in the saviours sheepfold respect all divine institutions mandated by the Creator, no amount of human reasoning can invalidate the progress of the affiliation believe it or not.
Indeed my expectation at the moment is to hear favourably from you before the Feast Of Tabernacle and the last great day, that portrays the Kingdom Of God. Extend my greetings to the entire family of God there.
Yours In His Vineyard
Pastor Samuel Ofosu Gyeabour
Church Of God 7th Day Ghana
I then wrote Pastor Samuel Ofosu Gyeabour back:
August 24, 2015
Dear Pastor Samuel Ofosu Gyeabour:
Thank you for your email. Glad you are interested in affiliation, and perhaps some day to truly be part of the Continuing Church of God. We always are pleased when people are interested in supporting the proclamation of the gospel of the kingdom. It will be in the coming kingdom of God that the miseries associated with extreme poverty will be lifted. …
We are a scattered church, with most of our members living in poverty. This makes it difficult to provide much assistance, but we do what we can. I, for example, do not take a salary from the Continuing Church of God, for if I did, we would have almost no money ever to help people in Africa.
Anyway, we encourage you to study what we teach. If you have any there to translated materials into your local languages, we would be interested in perhaps putting out magazines and/or booklets in them.
Please let me know.
Bob Thiel, Ph.D, Th.D.
Pastor and Overseer
Continuing Church of God
Yesterday, CCOG Pastor John Owak sent me the following:
Hello Mr. Bob.
Greetings from Migori, Kenya, we are doing fine but tired after long trips we made to visit members from two different countries of Malawi and Ghana. But we have seen the power of God’s hand was with us and our mission was well accomplished.
I thank God for all of this and also to those who goes beyond to finance our trip to reach this far countries with the Truth, we meet with the members also from Ghana after our long transit trip from Malawi to Nairobi then to Accra Ghana, our meeting went well as I know Mr. Evans already reported everything from this visits. so we are just looking forward of how God will open the doors to His wonderful mission to these countries, as this is our prayer so that our trip should not go in vain.
I was just to give thanks to you and all members who participated and mostly to Our Heavenly Father who works all, we hope that God will open other doors so that this same mission can be taken to other African countries too as we are nearing end of this age.
May God bless His work around the world, looking forward to the coming feasts and more so to the coming Kingdom of God.
Thanks again and best regards.
God has allowed us to reach many through the doors He is opening for in Africa. Those in Malawi (roughly 50 or so) consider themselves to be fully part of CCOG, but have a lot of doctrines still to learn. Those in Ghana (about 500 or so) want an affiliation with us, but we will cautiously see how this develops.
We hope to have Pastor Evans Ochieng and/or Pastor John Owak visit Nigeria and Ethiopia this year, if we have the funds. I may try to visit supporters in Africa next year or the year after. Back in 2013, I went to Africa for a conference in Nairobi for actual and potential CCOG leaders in Kenya and Tanzania.
As far as Ethiopia goes, on Sunday I ordered 48 more copies of The Bible Hymnal to be sent there, but it looks like they will not arrive until October 6th. Also on Sunday I ordered 48 more copies of The Bible Hymnal to be sent to Ghana, but it looks like they also will not arrive until October 6th. Shipping costs each are actually a little higher than the printing cost for each book.
Because some governments charge import taxes on the cost of the items and the shipping, I chose to only send 48 each to minimize the chances that import fees will have to be paid in Africa, and if they do have to be paid, that they will be low enough that they possibly could pay them there.
The Canadians finally signed and submitted the last documents to the attorney who is attempting to get the Church registered in Canada. The process has taken about a year and hopefully will be resolved soon.
World News Items
Various people of notoriety have been exposed for registering at the pro-adultery website named Ashley Madison (see NBC: ‘Exposed in Ashley Madison Hack? Here’s What to Do Now’ and Ashley Madison users ‘terrified,’ lawsuits emerge, ‘pornography industry’ concerned). Millions choose to believe the lie that they could ‘cheat’ anonymously. The recommended sermonette for this Sabbath is about this. Other sermonettes are also available if this is a topic that might be too sensitive for any children who might watch sermonettes with you.
An Islamist attempting terrorism on a train in France was overpowered by three from the USA and one British man. This is the third widely publicized terrorist event that I recall this year. France’s President Hollande stated that more terrorism is expected (see France’s Hollande warns of future terrorist attacks–so does Bible prophecy). And that is correct according to prophecies in the Bible, such as those in Leviticus 26:14-17, Deuteronomy 32:25, Ezekiel 21:12, Psalm 73:12,19, Proverbs 1:25-27, and Ecclesiastes 12:5.
Some Protestant prophecy teachers were in the news. Mark Biltz, who is known for publicizing blood moons and attempting to link them to 2015 and biblical prophecies, again made some statements (see Mark Biltz on the September 28, 2015 Blood Moon). I warned against his view back in 2008 that Jesus would return in 2015 with the fourth ‘blood moon’ over a two-year tetrad. Related to Mark Biltz, on May 1, 2008, I posted:
Jesus would not return with a red moon (Red Moon? Might the Great Tribulation Begin in 2013?)
Yet, certain Protestants are convinced that the blood moons in 2014 and 2015 are more biblically important than they are. The moon turning to blood that Revelation tells about does NOT happen until years after the Great Tribulation begins Revelation 6. Protestant Joel Richardson made the news for correctly teaching that there is no pre-tribulation rapture (see Joel Richardson right on pre-trib rapture, but wrong on Antichrist). Yet, he erroneously teaches a mid-tribulation rapture and claims that the final Antichrist will be Islamic (see again Joel Richardson right on pre-trib rapture, but wrong on Antichrist).
The Bible teaches that Jesus will not come until after what the Protestants tend to accept is the Great Tribulation. As far as the Islamic Antichrist position goes, Joel Richardson seems to be the final King of the South in that position (see also Is There an Islamic Antichrist?). And while the final King of the South will be anti the true Christ, the final Antichrist is a religious leader who will feign being ecumenical Catholic, not Islamic (see also Some Doctrines of Antichrist).
Anyway, Protestant leaning news sources, such as World News Daily, have often helped publicize false Protestant predictions, but normally they promote them in a non-critical manner. Despite the errors that many promote.
Speaking of Protestants, another ‘news’ site had an article from the pastor of the Mulvane Brethren church trying to justify the consumption of biblically unclean animals (see Unclean arguments overlook biblical and historical facts). Like others that do so, he left out certain scriptures and twisted the meaning of some he cited. How do we KNOW that? Because neither Jesus, His original Apostles, nor any true early follower of Jesus is ever shown eating nor endorsing the eating of biblical unclean animals. And people who lived in the first through third centuries A.D. would have understood the meaning of the Greek that the New Testament was written in than ‘scholars’ who have misinterpreted certain scriptures in the nineteenth through twenty-first centuries have done.
The Prime Minister of Pakistan has expressed interest in joining Russia’s Eurasian Economic Union (see Eurasian Economic Union: Pakistan wants in; is this consistent with what G.G. Rupert wrote?). The EEU officially formed on January 1, 2015 and seeks to unite Russia with Asia and parts of eastern Europe. The EEU could be step towards the final time of the Gentiles and that formation of a confederation of “kings of the east’ (Revelation 16:12). The financial markets around the world faced a lot of turbulence this week (see Washington Post: Black Monday, financial carnage, and global sell off continuing and Dow up, then down–instability in markets). Of course, the Bible says:
19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)
We will see ups and downs in the financial markets. Ultimately, the US dollar will collapse, and it is not something we can put our trust in. Yesterday, Pope Francis admonished parents to teach their children ‘the Sign of the Cross’ (Pope Francis says teaching children the ‘Sign of the Cross’ is a ‘beautiful task’ for parents–but is it?). Of course, early Christians did not do this as crosses and related practices to them came from paganism (see also What is the Origin of the Cross as a ‘Christian’ Symbol?).
Pope Francis’ admonition is of prophetic interest as Roman Catholics have writings that indicate during the time of/near the Great Tribulation that their people will be ‘marked’ with the cross and that this will be a way to determine the true and false Christians. Of course, since true Christians do not venerate crosses, this could be a ‘mark’ that the Beast may enforce (see also Mark of the Beast).
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 many who receive this letter via email will be a recorded one titled: Ashley Madison: Your Sins Will Find You Out. A written article of related interest is titled: NBC: ‘Exposed in Ashley Madison Hack? Here’s What to Do Now’. Other sermonettes are available at the Bible News Prophecy channel.
- Announcements (if any; though for many it will be this letter) and one hymn.
- Sermon, which for many who receive this letter via email will be a recorded one. The one suggested for this week is: Elijah: Prophecies and Heresies. A related written article is titled The Elijah Heresies. 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.
There is a lot of sin and scandal in the world. Those who are Christians have often been involved in such matters. The Bible teaches:
9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
Brethren, repent of sin, accept the washing and justification available through our Lord Jesus, and set your eyes on the kingdom of God.
Pastor and Overseer
Continuing Church of God