Letter to the Brethren: February 6, 2014

Dear Brethren and co-workers in Christ:

Another full week in the Five Cities region here in California.

I was able to put together various articles to send to our editors and translators for the upcoming magazine.  Since the process of translating takes a lot of time, and all of our translators have other jobs, it normally takes some time for most of them to get it done.  Furthermore, it takes a fair amount of time for me to coordinate the layout of the magazine in multiple languages after they get done.

That being said, we have been able to regularly produce our periodical Bible News Prophecy magazine on a timely basis and we expect to be able to do so for the next edition in English (translation availability varies).

CCOG Website Records

The statistics from AWstats are in and January 2014 showed record results for most of our websites.

All time record results were recorded for the following sites:

CDLIDD.ES La Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios.
PNIND.PH Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos.

It was not a record month for the CCOG.EU site, but was still one of its best months.  With CCOG.IN, we have concern that much of the traffic is from hackers and not valid.  That being said, our valid traffic is up on the sites and that is great.

COGwriter Makes it to the Top 100,000!

As far as COGwriter.com goes, while it was not an all-time record month, this was the best January ever recorded (and it has been around many years longer than the other sites, all of which did not exist until 2013).

Notice, for example, the results for January 2013 for COGwriter.com:

Reported period Month Jan 2013
First visit 01 Jan 2013 – 00:00
Last visit 31 Jan 2013 – 23:59
Unique visitors Number of visits Pages Hits Bandwidth
Viewed traffic 100,403 173,010
(1.72 visits/visitor)
(2.04 Pages/Visit)
(8.86 Hits/Visit)
36.71 GB
(222.46 KB/Visit)

Here are the results for January 2014 for COGwriter.com:

Reported period Month Jan 2014
First visit 01 Jan 2014 – 00:00
Last visit 31 Jan 2014 – 23:59
Unique visitors Number of visits Pages Hits Bandwidth
Viewed traffic 121,598 189,393
(1.55 visits/visitor)
(1.99 Pages/Visit)
(7.2 Hits/Visit)
34.92 GB
(193.31 KB/Visit)

Note: The term “Pages” means number of articles.  Almost none of the “pages” is only one page in length.  Most articles are 15 or more pages long, and some are closer to 100 pages long.

We are getting out a lot of information on the internet.

Furthermore, we hit a milestone that has been a personal goal.  The Alexa popularity of the COGwriter.com has increased to the point that it is the 99,997th most popular website in the world.  Alexa is an independent company that attempts to rank the popularity of websites worldwide (unlike some other rankings that only focus on the USA and/or one-time visitors).  Considering that there are about 634,000,000 websites on the internet, this is a major accomplishment.  Alexa itself only ranks the top 30,000,000 or so, and tends to better track those that are in the top 100,000.  It is fantastic that this has now happened.  Alexa rankings are not just based on a single month, but basically cover the prior three months.  While Alexa rankings will vary, this does show that we are reaching more people (cf. Matthew 24:14; 28:19-20).

One other statistic of interest is how long people visit the website. According to Alexa, the average visitor spent 6 1/2 minutes at COGwriter.com each time they visited. This is probably why Alexa ranks COGwriter as popular as it does–people spend more time viewing and reading articles at COGwriter than they do at the vast majority of other websites.  This helps demonstrate that we are at least partially succeeding with the following admonition from Jesus:

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)

COGwriter.com has reached people in at least 220 countries and territories around the world, and since some of the other language sites and articles are linked to it, we also reach people in various tongues as is prophesied to happen (cf. Revelation 7:9).

Meeting in Kenya

I received several reports about a meeting held by Evans Ochieng in Kenya on February 2, 2014.  Here is one of the reports:

Dear Pastor,
We are indeed glad to have met in Rongo yesterday.It was a very interesting meeting chaired by pastor Evans Ochieng.We exhaustively discussed the agenda which included the teaching of tithes and offering,perfection in God’s work,among others.Our secretary George Owato recorded every details of the meeting and I hope will be forwarded to you by the man of God pastor Evans Ochieng.We were really blessed by the exhortation and pieces of advice we got from the two old men who accompanied pastor Evans i.e Richard and Bartholomew from Ndhiwa.
The qualities of the church of God leader as shown in Titus 1:7-9,were expounded and we as the leader of God’s church MUST have such qualities because we are the salt of the earth Matt 5:13 and if we loose that saltiness then we will be thrown out and trampled underfoot .We are again the light of the world Matt 5:14.Our Father in heaven wants us to be perfect like Him.Most of the church leaders have taken all these command for granted some of whom I have no power to mention.
God is calling His people whom he is to perfect for the final face of the work in CCOG and God did some wonders by calling and choosing pastor Evans Ochieng in this wonderful ministry to work hand in hand with you in Kenya.He has tried his level best sometimes digging deep into his pockets to go round the country to preach the gospel.We are also trying despite financial challenges but we are being told in Luke 17:10 that in all we are doing,lets consider that it is our duty.We are really praying to God to open us ways to help Evans Ochieng preach the gospel in some other places.May the God of Abraham,Isaac and Jacob bless you  abundantly!
Best regards.

If funds and schedules permit, I would like to personally go to Kenya in early April 2014, as well as possibly Tanzania.  Currently funds are a factor.  Your prayers about this would be appreciated.

Received an email from a church leader in Zambia today.  This is the first time I have heard from him in five months.  He first contacted me in June of 2013.  He and his group are also looking at possibly wishing to affiliate with the Continuing Church of God and he has requested prayers for the situation there.


On Tuesday, I received a telephone call and invitation from a Jewish Rabbi in what is known as Mt. Zion in Jerusalem, Israel.  He would like me to go back again and be involved in one or more projects there.  Although this is something that I am considering, currently there are doubts that we will have certain technical and financial matters far enough along to go in 2014, though I have not totally ruled it out.  But if it is God’s will then perhaps this will happen in 2014 or 2015 or 2016.

World News Events

Janet Yellen became the first women to head the US Federal Reserve this week.  It has been suggested that she is now the most powerful woman in the world (see Female now head of US Federal Reserve; there are concerns about her economic views).  Also, various reports from the USA show that while the rate of debt increase appears to be decreasing, the reality is that the USA continues policies that will result in increasing its debt for a long time (see Deficit going down and credit limit to be reached?).  The reality is that this cannot continue forever and there will be major consequences for that (Habakkuk 2:6-8).  This week’s suggested sermonette deals with these issues from a biblical perspective (watch $6 666 Trillion Dollar Debt, the US Federal Reserve, & Prophecy).

On a differing area of bad finances, I saw a report yesterday that Australians lost more money gambling per adult in 2013 than any other nation.  Actually, the USA and Anglo-Saxon descended nations accounted for 5 of the top 11 losing nations in the world for 2013 (see Gambling: Australians seem to lose the most money).  People do gamble in probably all nations, but partially because of the amount of money and partially because of attitudes, the descendants of Joseph seem to lose a lot more money than nearly everyone else in the world.

Financial corruption made the news related to the European Union this week (see European Commission: Widespread financial corruption in EU is ‘breathtaking.’ What might this lead to?).  Allegations of financial corruption will probably be one of the reasons given for justification for the end time Beast to control buying and selling in the time of the end (cf. Revelation 13:16-17).

Earlier today,  both the Vatican and US President Obama made ecumenically sounding statements (see Barack Obama makes an ecumenical appeal).  Speaking on behalf of Pope Francis to youth in Europe, Catholic Archbishop Parolin said that the  great hope was, “that of the building of the European family.”  Reconstructing a revival of the old ‘Holy Roman Empire’ has long been a goal of the Vatican and they are getting closer to something like that.

In terms of health news, reports about risks of high sugar diets, heart disease, and cancer came out (see WHO: Cancer rates rising; JAMA: Sugar increases heart disease risk), as did more information about the dangers of smoking (see Smoking, Tooth Loss, and Congratulations to CVS).  I recently wrote a lengthy article (as opposed to a news post) about smoking, titled Should Christians Smoke?

Over in the Middle East, Iran (see Iran says nuclear talks failure would be ‘a disaster for everybody’) and Syria (see Syria still has 96% of its chemical weapons; John Kerry indicates US policy on Syria is failing) have not made the type of progress getting rid of their existing or planned weapons of mass destruction that the West would like.  This is not a surprise.  Nor will it be a surprise if a regional conflict breaks out there relatively soon.  The situation with both Iran and Syria will change.  We can be certain of this because of prophecies in the Bible about the final King of the South (Daniel 11:40), which Syria will support, but that Iran will not lead (Daniel 11:40-43; Ezekiel 30:1-8).

Suggested Sabbath Service

Here is our suggested format for Sabbath services this week:

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 improve that as well).

Finally, notice what Solomon wrote:

13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.  (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, KJV)

Brethren, live righteously, as God would have us live, and keep His commandments.  That is our duty and this is part of how we walk by faith.


Bob Thiel, Pastor and Overseer
Continuing Church of God

Posted in Letters to the Brethren
About CCOG
The Continuing Church of God, which attempts to represent the most faithful remnant of the Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7) portion of the Church of God, bases its beliefs on the Holy Bible. Read CCOG's statement of beliefs for more information.