Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:
The late Herbert W. Armstrong started out one of his letters with the following:
May I address you as the Apostle Paul did the Hebrew brethren: HOLY brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling? IF we belong in God’s Church — if God has baptized us into His Church by His Holy Spirit, then we are HOLY brethren — we are SAINTS — we are partakers of the HEAVENLY CALLING! We are dedicated to the calling. Our lives are not our own — we have given them to God as instruments in His hands. Our possessions — our money — these are not our own — they are dedicated to GOD! (Armstrong HW. Letter to the Brethren, February 2, 1959)
27 I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read to all the holy brethren.
28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. (1 Thessalonians 5:27-28)
As “holy brethren,” we need to live our lives up to that calling.
Reaching the World Over the Radio
Ended up with a last minute radio opportunity yesterday, so I accepted it and went through that open door (2 Corinthians 2:12) as best I could (the host has several differences of views on prophetic matters). We were able to discuss the situation between Israel and Gaza as well as the deal of Daniel 9:27.
Spent an hour and a half with a European bureau representative of a major USA-based newspaper on Monday. We discussed biblical and non-biblical prophecies, the role of prophecy, and the possible identification of the King of the North. This is the second time I have spoken with this reporter (the first time was early last year), and we will see if one day he does a story mentioning the Continuing Church of God. This would be quite interesting should it happen.
Feast of Tabernacles
As a reminder, the location for the USA Feast of Tabernacles’ site in 2014 is that Sheraton Suites Orlando Airport hotel • 7550 Augusta National Drive • Orlando, Florida 32822. As the name implies, it is near the Orlando, Florida airport.
Here are links to a discounted rate on the rooms/suites there:
The discounted rooms will only be available for a few weeks, so if you wish to stay there (and no one has to stay at that particular hotel), please try to book relatively soon.
The site for the Feast of Tabernacles in New Zealand is to be in Tawa which is a suburb of Wellington. For more information, contact John Hickey, email email@example.com; You can also telephone him on his mobile phone. His number is 021 519 441.
In Kenya, it is expected that Ndhiwa will be used as the primary Feast of Tabernacles’ site, but there could possibly be others. For more information, contact Evans Ochieng, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We expect to have a video group site in the Philippines (Silay City). For details, contact Oscar Mediavilla via email email@example.com.
We could, perhaps, have other locations this year, such as South Africa.
Information on all the expected sites is in the article Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2014.
Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and South Africa
Here are two reports about Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda:
Pastor Dr Bob,
There is one congregation in Kisii (Eberege) where we have
13 old men (Senior men) who are 60 years and above, has 101
members including children. Another group in Kisii now has 75
members. Another one in that region has 40 members. I give you only 3 congregations in Kisii, there are others who have expressed some interest there which I have given a report about this time…
We are walking in light not in darkness. Everything we are doing, we do in light. And now even our members in Tanzania is increasing highly since we started to give magazines. We also have 15 brethren in Ukambani. Soon we are going to have members in Uganda. So the gospel is moving a head. we don’t have time to waste. Many people are contacting you through internet and I am going personally to talk with them. We are out to preach the gospel. if some people are sleeping let them sleep…
Pastor Dr Bob,
Last Sabbath I met our congregation in Nyakach. The service was very good. I also supervised our on going hall we we are putting there.
Since Nyakach is a dry place with no food. Even teachers who are
working in these area, Kenyan government is paying them what we call hardship allowances simply because of food problem and tough life they are leading. We sat down after services and discussed how they can start a tree nursery project that can sustain their life because the church cannot afford to provide them with food every season. So if they start this project will help them to get how they can sustain their life both physically and spiritually. I have already bought for them seeds for the start.
Kisii is in western Kenya, Ukambani is in east-central Kenya, and Nyakach is in the west (but is north of Kisii). However, the majority who are with CCOG are in Ndiwha, which is also in the west, but further west than Kisii.
Many in east Africa contact me over the internet, and as Pastor Evans Ochieng mentions, I often turn them over to him and then contacts them. Usually he first talks to them over the telephone, and then often later in person.
Also, as the reports mention, we have members in very poor areas. We struggle to try to balance what we can do for them spiritually as well as physically.
Perhaps I should mention that someone sent out an email several days ago claiming that we did not have as many supporters in Kenya as I reported here a couple of months ago. I attempted to correct his misunderstanding. Yesterday, to his credit, that individual apologized to me in an email for his spreading inaccurate information about me and CCOG. The fact is that we have hundreds of supporters in Kenya and others in Tanzania and elsewhere in Africa.
Speaking of Africa, I have received several encouraging emails from a church leader, once part of the old WCG, who helps lead three congregations with two other elders in South Africa. He has expressed interest with being part of CCOG. Also, according him, nearly all who are with him also wish to be part of CCOG. We are trying to get more information about them and plan to report more presuming this works out as we and they hope.
Last week, I announced that the electronic version of our first two booklets were then available in the Spanish language.
They have also been printed. So, we now have both printed and online versions of the English language booklet Continuing History of the Church of God and the Spanish version of the booklet: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios.
And so, we also now have both printed and online versions of the English language booklet Faith for Those God has Called and Chosen the Spanish version of the booklet Fe para aquellos que Dios ha llamado y escogido.
Having materials translated into various languages helps us to go through all the ‘doors’ (cf.2 Corinthians 2:12).
World News Events
Wars and violence continue in the world. The situation in Gaza has continued and over 1000 have been killed there (see Netanyahu: Fighting to continue until all Gaza tunnels are destroyed).
Fighting continues in eastern Ukraine (see USA accuses Russia of serious nuclear treaty violation, EU looking to increase sanctions, while fighting continues in Donetsk) and there has also been serious fighting in Libya (see Violence closes US Embassy in Libya; more Syrians support ISIS), as well as in Iraq, Syria, and other lands.
Jesus told of a time of wars and rumors of war (Matthew 24:4-8) and we are certainly seeing that.
Jesus also warned about false religion, and a promoter of a false ecumenical religion, by the name of Tony Palmer was killed in the motorcycle accident (see Ecumenical ‘Anglican’ Bishop Tony Palmer died; Pope Francis continues his ecumenical meetings). He had been a long-time friend of Pope Francis
Pope Francis took more ecumenical steps this week, including going to an evangelical Pentecost church service (see Pope Francis visits Pentecostal church–a first, but part of a Babylonian plan).
Pope Francis spoke against Christians being violent, even though his church has long advocated violence; Pope Francis also spoke about “the kingdom” and complained that Jesus did not explain it (see Pope Francis on Violence, Jesus, and the Kingdom of God). Not only did Jesus a lot about it, there were many statements in the New Testament that Pope Francis also apparently did not consider when he made his public statements about it this week (see also Pope Francis on Violence, Jesus, and the Kingdom of God and The Gospel of the Kingdom of God was the Emphasis of Jesus and the Early Church).
In Africa, more are being affected by the deadly Ebola virus (see Liberia, Sierra Leone, Korea, Australia, and USA react to Ebola outbreaks). Consumption of biblically-unclean bats is a factor. People in Asia and the USA are concerned that Ebola may spread. Jesus, of course, warned of pestilences and other sorrows to come (Matthew 24:7-8)
Over in the USA, a study came out saying that over 35% of Americans are in so much debt that that they have been turned over to collection agencies (35% of Americans have debts turned over to collection agencies). Both the USA government and its residents are in great amounts of debt–such debt is warned against in the Bible (Habakkuk 2:6-8; Deuteronomy 28:42-45,47-52).
Also, in the USA, at least two more states will be legalizing “homosexual marriage,” and something called “mommy porn” was being widely promoted (see Protesting ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’). This will not end well for the USA (Romans 1:18-32).
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 will be a recorded one: Zephaniah’s ‘Gather Together’ Prophecy. A related written item would be Zephaniah said to ‘gather together’. 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. The one suggested for this week is: Luke 14-16: The Lost Sheep, the Prodigal Son, the Rich Man and Lazarus. There is not really a related written article, but some of what is covered is in the articles What is the Unpardonable Sin?, Parable of the Mustard Seed, and Jesus: The Son of God and Saviour. 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.
Brethren, when it comes to doing the work of God and living our own lives, these must be done in truth:
8 “For I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery for burnt offering; I will direct their work in truth, And will make with them an everlasting covenant. (Isaiah 61:1-8)4 For the word of the Lord is right,
And all His work is done in truth.
5 He loves righteousness and justice;
The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord. (Psalms 33:4-5)
10 Cursed is he who does the work of the Lord deceitfully (Jeremiah 48:10).
The truth is why you are with the Continuing Church of God, so live holy lives based upon the truth of God’s word.
Bob Thiel, Pastor and Overseer
Continuing Church of God