Dear Brethren and co-workers in Christ:
We have been working on proclaiming the gospel, supporting congregations, keeping up with the day-to-day requirements here, and working on plans related to fulfilling Matthew 24:14 and Matthew 28:19-20.
Going through Doors Around the World
We have several congregations in Africa and we worked on providing additional support there, for Bibles, chairs, books, and song books.
We finalized the layout of the English-language version of the next edition of the Bible News Prophecy magazine and approved it to be printed. We are also looking at possibly printing it in Africa.
Speaking of Africa, George Lemi of Tanzania told me that he should be finished translated the next issue into Kiswahili within the next week. This will be the first time that the Continuing Church of God will have a magazine in that language.
We also heard from our translator in India. He believes that he should have the entire magazine translated into Telugu for us within the next two weeks. This particular language is spoken in part of India and may be difficult for our graphics company to lay out. But, we plan to produce a magazine in the language, so with prayer and determination, we should be able to get this started. It is not clear to me if any COG group has had a magazine in Telugu, so this may be a first for any group.
We also hope to get a version of our magazine in the language of Jingpho, which is spoken in the Kachinland region of Myanmar (Burma). However, as the communication is done via postal mail and via a typewriter, it may be some time before that magazine becomes available.
We seem to have had a lot of interest in the online version of our magazine translated into the language of Tagalog this month. We have had over 2800 downloads of that edition of the magazine during December 2013–which is fantastic!
As far as the internet goes, the Alexa popularity ranking of the www.cogwriter.com website is doing so well that a minister from another group, at least three times, has decided to try to tell people to not pay attention to Alexa popularity rankings because of our popularity there (some details are in the post LCG leader again continues to attempt to discredit).
Presumably he is doing this to get people to try to discount the success that we in the Continuing Church of God are having reaching people around the world. We are leading the final phase of the work and some who erroneously think that they may be are apparently offended by the success we have attained.
It is sad that many discount facts and the truth, but the Bible teaches that the Laodiceans have trouble realizing that they need to repent (Revelation 3:14-22).
Income Tax-related Administrative Matters
We are getting close to the end of the Roman calendar for 2013. Those who live in the United States of America will receive credit on their donation statements for all monies postmarked no later than December 31, 2013 that we receive within a short period of that, for the tax year that ends on that date.
Donations to the Continuing Church of God 100% deductible in all the US states.
Contributions can be sent to Continuing Church of God, 1248 E. Grand #A, Arroyo Grande, CA 93420.
(A request for tax exempt status in New Zealand was also approved this year, and hence donations made in New Zealand are also fully tax deductible. More on making contributions is in the link Donations.)
World News Events
In the USA, a judge basically has made an accommodation for polygamy (see (Judge makes polygamy accommodation). It would appear that his logic will allow mixed couples (not just one man, for example, with more than one woman, but likely multiple males and multiple females) as well.
Also in the USA, related to a star of a television program that I have never seen, the star was suspended for essentially stating that his religious views were that homosexual behavior is sinful (Duck Dynasty, freedom of speech, and the direction of the USA). The Bible warns against calling good evil and evil good, and many who seemingly agreed with his suspension were doing that from what I read and heard (cf. Isaiah 5:20-21).
The Bible teaches that a famine of the word is coming (Amos 8:11-12; cf. Romans 10:14-15). The time will come when the government will stifle the message of the Continuing Church of God, probably in the name of “tolerance” and/or calling parts of the message “hate speech” (they may also cite national security and other such concerns). What happened to the television star is not even really a foretaste about how bad it will get. But it does show how bad things are heading in the USA.
Also related to the USA, its trade representatives met with their EU counterparts this week on trade issues. The EU is determined to get the world to adopt as many of its standards as possible, which will help it fulfill prophecies in Revelation 13, 17, & 18 (see also WTO/TTIP and the Babylonian Beast). The European Union wants a lot of intellectual property and has made a lot of demands–many of which they will get.
On the other hand, for the time being, the EU has not gotten Ukraine. While many in Ukraine would like to be part of the EU (and that possibly might happen), some type of deal was struck with Russia to temporarily assist the Ukrainians as they are not immediately going to be part of the EU (see Ukrainian President Objects to Western Interference and Embraces Aid from Russia). Russia’s President Putin is trying to put together an organization called the Eurasian Union (The Eurasian Union, the Kings of the East, and Bible Prophecy), and he wants Ukraine part of it. Ultimately, Ukraine will likely support Russia when the time to eliminate the coming European Beast power happens according to biblical prophecy (see Russia and Ukraine: Their Origins and Prophesied Future).
The Vatican has had some involvement with Russia this week. It sent Cardinal Kurt Koch over to meet with the Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill (see (Vatican’s Cardinal Koch to meet with Russian Patriarch Kirill). Cardinal Koch is one to watch. If he lives long enough, he likely will be the final Antichrist or at least assist the final one (who could possibly be Pope Francis, though his age is a concern).
Cardinal Koch currently is the president Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. Since the Bible warns against what he is working on, his actions and attempts are some I have tried to keep my eye on. The recommended sermonette for today, while not focused on him, gives various scriptures about why the ecumenical movement that he is part of is a concern (Should you be concerned about the ecumenical movement?).
For some time I have warned that we might see violent civil unrest in Europe prior to the final rising up of the prophesied final King of the North of Daniel 11. Even some European leaders are suggesting that violent unless could happen in Europe in 2014 (see Italy’s President warns of social unrest in 2014; concerns also arise in France). And while 2014 is much too early for the start of the Great Tribulation, it is possible that violent civil unrest could occur in Europe in 2014 and this could have end time ramifications.
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 also is some Choral Accompaniment online).
- Opening prayer.
- Sermonette which for most will be a recorded one titled: Should you be concerned about the ecumenical movement? There is a partially related written article titled: Why Should American Catholics Fear Unity with the Orthodox? 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: What do Catholic and other scholars teach about Christmas? There is also a related written article titled What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days? 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).
Please pray for the brethren in Africa and Asia and that we will properly be able to go through the doors that God is opening around the world.
Bob Thiel, Pastor and Overseer
Continuing Church of God