Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:
The Continuing Church of God (CCOG) officially declared its existence on December 28, 2012 because integrity and heretical problems within a different COG group convinced me that its leadership could not possibly hold the Philadelphia mantle.
Unlike many groups that started with a coalition of ministers who pre-planned to start a group to insure its fiscal viability, we started the CCOG without doing anything like that.
Instead, we stepped out on faith in order to work to fulfill Matthew 24:14 and Matthew 28:19-20. Hence, for that and other reasons, we carry the end-time Philadelphia mantle. We are a continuation of the Church of God that first began in the second chapter of the Book of Acts.
While we have had many scoffers and critics, we have been the fastest growing Church of God since our formation. From three members and three prospective members on December 28, 2012, we have grown to the point where over 1500 are claimed to be part of the Continuing Church of God.
Despite the fact that as most of our members live in the poorer parts of the world, we are now one of the ten largest groups who had leaders once in the old Worldwide Church of God (WCG).
This growth was not done with large amounts of money as we have the least income of the top ten largest groups with origins in the old WCG. Of course the Bible says:
6 This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel:
‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’
Says the Lord of hosts. (Zechariah 4:6)
7 For we walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)
5 Look among the nations and watch —
Be utterly astounded!
For I will work a work in your days
Which you would not believe, though it were told you. (Habakkuk 1:5)
We are doing that work.
16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them. (Matthew 7:16-20)
As far as fruits go, we have also greatly exceeded the 30% growth per year that the old Worldwide Church of God used to claim it had for decades. Many of those that we have with us did NOT have a WCG background as we reached people other groups have not.
We have reached people in over 220 nations and territories, and in multiple languages. We have reached millions over the internet, had over 500,000 views of our YouTube television channels, reached millions over radio, and printed and distributed thousands of pieces of printed literature (magazines, song books, and booklets).
But as we intend to one day reach billions, we still have a long way to go. But we must work and prepare for that time.
The Bible says:
28 For He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness, Because the Lord will make a short work upon the earth. (Romans 9:28)
Since God will finish the work, and it needs to be a witness to all nations, we need to prepare for what I have referred to as the short work (see Preparing for the ‘Short Work’ and The Famine of the Word).
We have spent the past three years doing so, and have plans to expand the pool of those that we can potentially reach.
Magazines in More Languages
God seems to be opening new doors in other languages.
We made an arrangement with a group that works with multiple translators to get our Bible News Prophecy magazine translated into Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Mandarin Chinese, and Russian.
We have received those translations for the January-March 2016 and have sent some to others associated with the Continuing Church of God to review them as we attempt to determine the quality of the translations.
We have never had any of our literature in Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, or Russian before.
For the April-June 2016 edition, we expect to also have the magazine translated into Arabic.
However, we do not really have the funds to professionally produce these as magazines, so instead are going to make them mainly available online. The front covers will be similar, but not the same as the English, Spanish, and German versions.
Here, for example, is the front cover of the English version:
Here is how the front cover, for example, of the Russian version looks:
The Russian edition is now online: Библия Новости Пророчество, Январь – март 2016
The other new language editions are not yet, but should be soon.
We are trying to figure out the most cost effective ways to reach people in numerous languages.
Since the Bible shows there will be “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” (Revelation 7:9), we believe that we need to reach people in as many languages as we can manage.
Sosten Libungwa emailed me and informed me that the Continuing Church of God is now registered in Malawi.
Many African countries require registration as the governments have concerns about terrorist and other groups.
Sosten Libungwa also sent a translation of The Bible Hymnal into the Chichewa language, which we are working a formatting, and that is a bit of a challenge.
Ndhiwa, Kenya Youth Camp
Here is a report that I received from Pastor Evans Ochieng:
CONTINUING CHURCH OF GOD YOUTH CAMP 2015
Dear Pastor Bob
The youth camp 2015 was very good. Many youths came from most of our
congregations. The youths from Rift Valley did not come simply because
of rain. When I contact pastor Sawek, he told me that the roads were
not good. We had youths from Oriang, Mbani, Kiseke, Migori A, Migori
B, Ka Esron, Eberege Kisii, Bethseida Kisii, Nyakach A, and Nyakach B,
and Ndhiwa. They were 130 youths who attended the camp this year.
Those who were in the camp were Evans Ochieng, John Okinda, John Owak,
Lukas Ogada, Ezekiel Oanda, Ezekiel Nyandonge and George Ochieng(youth
leader). The camp was very good.
It is great that it went well. Attendance is also up from 71 youth in 2014 to 130 youth in 2015.
Here are two photos from the camp:
As announced last week, I am scheduled to be on the Nutri-Medical Report program later today, over the Genesis Communication’s Network. This program is heard all around the world.
Last week, we discussed why December 25th was not Jesus’ birthday, and I hope to discuss matters related to January 1st if given that opportunity.
Death of Rose Brown
We are saddened to announce the death of Rose Brown who hosted the CCOG congregation in Wichita, Kansas. She had been ill for some time and died Saturday afternoon.
While her death was not a shock, it is a major loss. She was with CCOG for about two years and an ardent supporter.
We sometimes spoke over the telephone. I actually telephoned her last Thursday, but because of health issues she was not able to take the telephone call, so I spoke with one of her children.
Earlier this year, I was able to meet her and some of her family at the Feast of Tabernacles in Denver, Colorado.
She was a brave and courageous woman who was willing to stand up for the truth and oppose Laodiceanism.
Her determination and warmth will be missed.
Final Note on Calendar Year-End Income Tax Matters
As mentioned before, those who live in the United States are reminded that for contributions to be eligible for tax deduction for calendar year 2015, all donations mailed must be postmarked no later than December 31, 2015.
You still have another day as all contributions received via US mail for residents of the United States should be processed based upon the postmarked date on the envelopes.
For contributions received via PayPal, we use the date that PayPal gives us.
In New Zealand and Canada the rules may be slightly different for mailed and other contributions, so if you want the tax deduction for calendar year 2015, you may wish to make your next contribution relatively soon.
World News Items
Odd weather has hit the Americas and other parts of the world (see ‘Weird’ weather problems in the USA, UK, and South America). God controls the weather and uses it to show that situations can change and that repentance is needed. Sadly, relatively few heed the message to repent.
A new movie was released on Friday called Concussion (see ‘Concussion’ movie released: How can real Christians remain in denial and encourage sports violence?). Although I have not seen it, it is supposed to be true and tells of a doctor who kept warning about the damage that American tackle football does to its players. Now, it is an established fact, yet many who claim to be Christians are fans of this violent sport.
Speaking of violence, a new study found that 40% of Americans believe that terrorists are winning the war against the USA (see VOA: 40 Percent of Americans See Terrorists Winning War on US). Bible prophecy shows that terrors will affect the USA (and others) and that the USA will one day be taken over (Daniel 11:39), likely with assistance from terrorists (cf. Psalm 83:3-8).
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: Did Saudi Arabia announce the King of the South? 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: CCOG: Background and Fruits. 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.
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)
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:19-20)
Brethren, notice that Jesus said that His message needed to be given to all nations in the end. We are doing that in the Continuing Church of God. May God bless all for their support of His work.
Pastor and Overseer