Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:
Greetings from the Five Cities region of California. Another busy and productive week with a lot of international news to report.
Before getting into international matters, I would like to state that we have heard more from a few scattered individuals in the USA who are looking more towards the Continuing Church of God, which is always nice.
Although we have not heard anything for months from Canadian authorities in regards to our request for recognition as a charity in Canada, we have another small group that has gotten together to be part of the Continuing Church of God there.
Here is a report on that:
The CCOG has found a home in Milton Ontario Canada! Anyone who would like to worship and fellowship with like-minded brethren, then direct them to firstname.lastname@example.org. We are going to meet every Sabbath we can, 10AM to 12PM.
We met last Sabbath for the very first time, and things went really well! We had a grand total of two in attendance, and that`s counting myself. If there are other brethren who support the CCOG, and are willing to make the trip to Milton, we would welcome them with open arms. Milton is in south west Ontario, about a half a hour drive out of the city of Toronto.
There is interest in the truth from people in various parts of Canada. We now have two small groups meeting there.
We received a translation of the Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God into the Dutch language this week. Here is a link: Verklaring van geloofspunten van de Continuing Church of God.
We have a couple of scattered supporters in the Netherlands and are glad that we know have our Statement available in Dutch.
New Zealand Website In Progress
The CCOG.nz website is starting to come together, though there is more to come. We plan to list it on the back of the next edition of the Bible News Prophecy magazine as well as our other official websites.
Although its focus is on New Zealand, it is my hope and prayer that people from other British-descended nations, as well as other lands, will notice it.
This site gives us the opportunity to better fine tune messages for New Zealand and perhaps certain other lands.
This site is another door (Revelation 3:8) that is being opened to proclaim the gospel (2 Corinthians 2:12; 1 Corinthians 16:8-9; Colossians 4:2-4).
Computers in Africa
Kenya-based Continuing Church of God Pastor Evans Ochieng sent the following report today related to the work in his part of Africa and receiving used laptop computers a few days ago:
Greetings to all our brethren worldwide. I am sure everyone who is truly called by God to His end time Church must and should always be happy for we wait to be kings and priest when Christ will return with His Kingdom to this planet earth.
God has a master plan and we know that. We live because of Him and if it were not so, we would have been dead. We all have sinned and became short in the glory of God but because of his mercy, we still live to do his will. We should always pray until when God will return and how I wish that the kingdom may come soon so that most of us who have stay with Lord should continue to stay with the Lord and not me moved with all the various calamities that has hit the world at large.
There is something to notice in the book of Micah 6:1
“ Hear you now what the Lord saith, Arise, contend thou before the mountains and let the hills hear his voice”
Many may take this verse for granted and not just many but also those in Christian organizations.
Why would I say so?
Because they don’t think it is their responsibility to fulfil Matthew 24:14 and Matthew 28:19. Many organizations think that it was the work of Herbert Armstrong to help call many to God, well that is not false but have we ever asked ourselves why the end has not come if it was only for Herbert Armstrong to do it as it says in Matthew 24:14
“And this Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached to all the world as a witness to all nations and then shall the end come.”
We should all know that there is, for all of us, the duty to preach/support the gospel until the end come.
Many have been asking why the Continuing Church Of God is growing day by day.
Some even complain about that.
I want to let everyone know that there are many organizations that have much money but they don’t preach the truth and there will be no need to fellowship with such because the will not direct you to everlasting life.
It is God that calls people and only his people to Him and we are sure that Continuing Church of God is part of the end time Church and that God is calling his chosen people to his true Church. Matthew 7:18:
“ A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruits neither can corrupt tree bring forth good fruits” It is how fruitful the Continuing Church Of God is the only God’s true end time church. Vs 20 “ Wherefore by their fruit you shall know them”
Why should anybody go against the will of Him who sent us into the world to preach the gospel?
The work in AFRICA is growing day by day. Many people are contacting us from every corner just because of the very truth that CONTINUING CHURCH OF GOD is trying to dig out from the Bible. We all know that every true thing we need is within the Bible but many take it for granted and are not willing to have the responsibility as theirs.
Let me just mention where the Continuing Church Of God has congregations in this region:
1- In Western Province we have one congregation.
2- In Nairobi we have 3 new congregations
3- In Rift Valley province, we have 4 new congregations.
4- In Nyanza province we have 17 congregations.
5- And in Tanzania we have 5 congregations.
So even if the Continuing Church Of God has billions of US dollars, could we pay for everyone to be in the Church? Or has everyone ever seen any advertisement by Continuing Church Of God that we would pay people so they may join?
I am not saying it is always bad to criticize aspects of the work being done by the Continuing Church Of God, but we should know that they even criticized our Savior on various occasions so who are we not to be criticized?
We are not the only ones preaching the Gospel in public. But as you can see, we are getting everyone ready for the coming of Christ.
You could witness that when we had the youth camp last year December (2014).
So God is doing the work and none can stop it.
As a means of fulfilling both Matthew 24:14 and Matthew 28:19, the Continuing Church Of God has been able to donate laptops to Kenya to help eradicated illiteracy among brethren and to make it easy in preaching the Gospel.
Below are the things that the Laptops will help.
1: Help in the translations of teachings into various languages.
2: Help in reaching the brethren as sending in weekly newsletters (the Letters to the Brethren) can be read in every congregation that received a laptop.
3: Help teach the young children as a way of preparing them for leaders tomorrow.
4: The laptops will help a lot in keeping church records.
Those are just some few important fields the laptops will help. Here are some of the comments from two of those who have received the laptops:
I am grateful to see for the first time that our brethren from the United States have donated to us laptops. It is a pleasure because the laptops will help in areas like making it easy for translation of the teachings from English to other languages, making communications easier between brethren in Africa and the world at large, helping eradicate computer illiteracy among the children and all the brethren, helping in spreading the word of God to all the world, and helping in storage of Church Documents. May God bless everyone who help donated the laptops to us.
I hereby say thank you for the good work done as I have received the laptop today on 9/1/2015 (January 9, 2015). I am seeing some light before me. This will help do God’s work as that is what we are called to do during these hard times. It will help reach every community easy. It will help me translate the teachings from English to Ekegussii. Pray for God’s work in Kenya. Thank you.
May God sincerely bless our brethren who made it possible to have the laptops sent to us. God willing we can see great income from it.
Thank you all and may God bless you.
BOOKS AND MAGAZINES
I would like to thank Dr Bob Thiel and Continuing Church of God for the big work and much effort that he has put to promote the work in AFRICA through books and magazines.
Translation of Magazines in Swahili has made the church to do a big role in reaching many people both in Kenya and Tanzania. I will have my trip to Tanzania where I am going to baptize a lady and after that I will visit all our groups in Tanzania. During this trip I will carry some laptops for our translator in Tanzania Mr Simon who will help us to translate magazines in Swahili.
I am congratulating our brother Bill Wedekind who has done a wonderful work to help Africans to eradicate computer illiteracy among us. This will help people especially in the Continuing Church of God to understand and get access to the information easily and this will also enhance the communication among the individuals in Africa. It will also help brethren to get weekly updates easily.
May God bless all those who donated the laptops. Also I thank Shipley’s Shoice that has donated the laptops.
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)
That is what we are trying to do, and as Evan Ochieng’s letter shows, that is something that we have been doing. Our member who sent the laptop computers is planning on sending more there as well–and we ordered 100 copies of The Bible Hymnal as well as 56 copies of the NKJV Bible to go to him to see how many he will be able to include. Why? It is much cheaper to use this way to send items to Kenya than other services we have tried (though it is also much slower).
It is my hope and prayer that the computers and literature in Africa will help our brethren in Kenya and Tanzania in many ways.
Perhaps I should add that we have received a lot of attacks from other claimed Church of God ‘Christians’ in Kenya. Pastor Ochieng, myself, and the CCOG, have received attacks from those who are willing to use filthy language, false information, and false accusations, in an apparent attempt to discourage us from going forward.
We have made major inroads into Africa and some wish to oppose us. But we (Pastor Ochieng, myself, and other leaders and members in Kenya and Tanzania) continue to “press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).
Spanish Language Magazine
We finally received the printed copies of the January-March 2015 edition of the Bible News Prophecy magazine yesterday and mailed them to our Spanish subscribers. Here is a link Noticias de Profecía de la Biblia: ¿Comenzará la Gran Tribulación en 2015?
World News Events
The primary terrorists associated with the incident in France last week were reportedly killed. The French were rightly incensed about the terrorism and millions of them demonstrated over the weekend. However, while the French have issues with Islam, many also are antisemitic. So much so, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu advised Jews living in France to come to Israel. While some were incensed by his comments, others have recognized that there is a lot of hatred of Jews in France and other parts of Europe (see France and Israel mourn terrorist deaths, while many Jews fear the rise of antisemitism in France).
Of course, it is not just physical Jews who face harassment and persecution. The time will come when ‘spiritual Jews’ (cf. Romans 2:28-29) will experience a severe persecution which will come under the leadership of one in Europe per Daniel 7:25. The way that leaders in Israel and the USA handled this matter has upset some of the French (see Al-Qaeda claims responsibility for Paris attack; French upset with Israel and USA)–and may be one of many reasons that the French will ultimately betray the USA and some of its allies.
Speaking of the USA, the Pentagon announced plans to close 15 military bases in Europe (see USA taking another step to reduce its military influence in Europe: an 11th step leading to WWIII?). The USA continues to take steps that will reduce its ability to fight back against attacks that will come from Europe–this is consistent with Bible prophecy (e.g. Daniel 11:39).
In other news, the Pope is in Asia as part of his ecumenical and interfaith agenda. Today he said he wants people to not make statements that may offend people of other religions (see Pope Francis pushing for limits of speech and seemingly justifies violence)–his position seems to be helping setting the stage for the coming ‘famine of the word’ that the Prophet Amos wrote of.
Yesterday he was in Sri Lanka encouraging people there to turn to his version of ‘Mary’ (see Pope Francis tells those in Sri Lanka to turn to ‘Mary’). He plans to also spread some of his improper messages to the Philippines in the next couple of days. Sorceries and enchantments related to a “Lady,’ also called a ‘virgin,’ are prophesied in 47th chapter of the Book of Isaiah. Pope Francis seems determined to get people to look to his ‘virgin Mary’ and thus make them more susceptible to demonic influences in the future (2 Thessalonians 2:8-11).
Speaking of Sri Lanka, a politician there was misled by his astrologer, and recently lost an election (see VOA: Astrology failed in Sri Lanka). Many believe in astrology, despite lack of evidence and it being warned against in the Bible (see also The Bible and Astrology).
Annual Donation Statements
We sent out the annual donation statements today for nearly all of those with addresses in countries other than New Zealand (New Zealand sends theirs out separately). So, thanks to all who have contributed tithes and offerings to the work.
Note: If you have moved and/or for some reason do not receive a donation receipt, please contact us and we will send out a replacement.
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 emailed-letter will be a recorded one: Butterflies: A Sign of Disaster to Come? A related written article is Monarch butterflies becoming endangered because of GMOs. 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 emailed-letter will be a recorded one. The one suggested for this week is: How to Study the Bible. A related written article is also titled: How to Study the Bible. 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.
The Apostle Paul was inspired to write:
14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. 15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.
16 Rejoice evermore.
17 Pray without ceasing.
18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
19 Quench not the Spirit. 20 Despise not prophesyings.
21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. (1 Thessalonians 5:14-21, KJV)
Brethren, live as God would have you live. Believe what the word of God teaches.
Bob Thiel, Pastor and Overseer
Continuing Church of God