Dear Brethren and co-workers in Christ:
Been working on internet posts and literature matters this week.
A Loss and a Potential Major Gain in Kenya
First, there is some sad news to announce. A few small groups in Kenya were influenced by another group that does not have our focus on proclaiming the gospel or using the same biblical calendar, so they are no longer part of the Continuing Church of God. This was not a surprise and I even told Evans Ochieng that something like this was likely to happen around now. So, this means that we seem to have eighteen congregations and groups in Kenya and Tanzania. Further negative changes may also happen. Despite what has happened, according to Evans Ochieng, we still have over 300 people as part of the Continuing Church of God in Kenya.
There is potential good news as well. There is another group in Kenya which has not been part of us, that has asked to become part of our fellowship. Around 200 people are with them.
The leader of this group contacted me in March 2014 and I invited him to attend the conference we held in Nairobi, Kenya. He accepted the invitation and did. He was pleased with what he learned about at the conference.
Here are some of his statements to me in two emails he sent in the past week:
Greetings to you in the wonderful name of our lord Jesus Christ. How is everything with you since we meet in Nairobi Karibu Hotel…where you hosted us a very excellent wonderful meeting in co-operation with Brother Evans Ochieng.
Thanks for the teachings that you shared with us for two days about Continuing Church of God! Church History and prophesy. It really touched us and impacted us greatly. In our Church many brethren are happy to find the truth contained in CONTINUING CHURCH OF GOD. They have found that some churches of God are not teaching the complete church of god teachings. Most people have Catholic History, but they don’t have Church History.
We are now so much happy that we are able to understand which was the first Church and various parts of prophesy, more so Fatima! Indeed we need to learn more and verify this truth in scriptures. We hope by dong this the started work will grow and expand to interior parts were this truth have not yet been spoken.
Here in Kisii Kenya there are 200 hundred brethren who are of our faith and are eager to learn from you, as you have gone deep in research about this truth…
Our aim is to reach many…, really the world is deceived and the enemy is moving to catch many… the Philadelphia Church…are required to practice to love and by loving we have accomplished all the Ten commandments.
I was surprised that he mentioned Fatima, as I had just finished a sermon related to Fatima when I got that email.
CCOG Regional Pastor Evans Ochieng and I are in contact with this group in Kisii and look forward to hopefully inviting them to be fully part of us. Evans Ochieng is intending to meet with this group this Sabbath.
We also heard from a group in Uganda that hopefully we will soon have the funds to be able to send Evans Ochieng to meet with.
Books and Booklets
We sent some books and booklets to Africa to a supporter who asked for some.
Because of limited and often non-existent internet access, we need more printed materials in Africa, but because of transportation costs, that does strain our finances. But sending materials is part of who we proclaim the Kingdom of God (Matthew 24:14) and teach all things that Jesus commanded (Matthew 28:19-20).
As announced last week, I did a radio interview today. This was over the Genesis Communications Network, which reaches millions. I spoke about the Vatican’s ecumenical agenda, the biblical warnings against that type of unity, Eastern Orthodox bishops who support and others who oppose the ecumenical agenda, as well as some statements from the United Nations’ General Secretary Ban Ki-moon.
I am scheduled to be interviewed again on the same program at 12:00 pm PDT on Thursday, May 15, 2014. The plan is to cover the deal of Daniel 9:27 in that interview.
Radio interviews are an additional, and virtually no-cost, way for us to reach people all around the world.
Feast of Tabernacles
As mentioned last week, we currently expect to have at least three ‘regular’ Feast of Tabernacles’ sites (USA, New Zealand, Kenya), plus perhaps one in the Philippines and possibly others in remote parts of Asia. (See also Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2014.)
If you are planning on coming to the Feast of Tabernacles’ site in the USA, please contact Dr. Bob Thiel, email firstname.lastname@example.org. The expected location is in Pensacola, Florida.
We need to know how many to expect so that we can narrow the location down. One facility, that looks promising, has limits to how many can attend and we need to decide between it and another location. This will partially be determined based upon how many people write and say that they plan to attend.
Please let us know as soon as you can. Thank you.
World News Events
A terrorist group boldly kidnapped hundreds of schoolgirls in Nigeria and then essentially threatened to sell them into prostitution unless they received money (see USA agrees to help try to free kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls). This was horrifying and shows how little concern many have for others. The terrorists need immediate repentance for these horrible actions.
Over in Egypt, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the man who is currently expected to be its next president claimed that the Muslim Brotherhood was done and would cease to exist during the time he would be president (see Egypt’s Abdel Fattah al-Sisi says Muslim Brotherhood will cease to exist). Whether or not a group called the ‘Muslim Brotherhood’ will exist can be debated, but the biblical reality is that a group with similar goals and objectives will rise up and succeed according to biblical prophecies (Daniel 11:40-43; Ezekiel 30:1-9). And while this will not end well for Egpyt according to those same prophecies, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will not be able to stop that from coming to pass.
The USA and United Nations released statements related to ‘climate change’ this week and advocated changes they hope will correct this (see White House issues dire warning on climate change, but fails to recognize its role in provoking extreme weather). However, as both the USA and the UN are promoting parts of the homosexual agenda and other agendas against the Bible, they should consider that weather problems are warned for those who do such (see White House issues dire warning on climate change, but fails to recognize its role in provoking extreme weather).
Speaking of the Bible, US Secretary of State John Kerry essentially advocated that people not live their lives according to what is written in it (see John Kerry on religion: He indicates that he and most people disagree with Jesus). The USA is moving more and more away from any semblance of Judeo-Christian morality.
In another step perhaps intended to show that he is against Western moral degradation, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin signed in a new law to ban and/or regulate foul language (see Russia’s Vladimir Putin takes a stand against vulgar language). Vladimir Putin has also come out against various aspects of the homosexual agenda (see Vladimir Putin wants to cleanse Russia of homosexuality). He is on very good terms with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill (e.g. Russian Orthodox Church Claims it Can Show the Way for Europe, Others Believe it Has Sold Out) as well as Pope Francis (see Russia’s Putin and Pope Francis both kiss Marian icon). His public stands may be setting the stage for statements of a ‘moral’ nature from the coming European Beast power.
Speaking of Vladmir Putin, he and his impact on Ukraine were in the news as was a possible vote in eastern Ukraine (see Kiev PM: Russian supporters orchestrating ‘real war’ and wanting ‘WWIII;’ Haaretz: ‘Putin got just the war he asked for’). A referendum is currently planned by separatists in eastern Ukraine for Sunday, May 11, 2014 (see Donetsk and Luhansk to hold referendum on Sunday, despite Vladirmir Putin’s public request). The situation in Ukraine remains tense and there has been fighting and deaths. War is in the prophesied future for many of those in Ukraine and Russia, and we have seen just a little of it so far.
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: Gambling: A Covetous Sin? A related written article would be: Gambling and Sin: Is it a Sin for Christians to Gamble? 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 Why Learn About Fatima? Two slightly related written articles would be the pdf of Fatima Shock, first two chapters and Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Apparitions. 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 improve that as well)–and, of course, we have written article options that we list each week.
The Book of Proverbs teaches:
5 Get wisdom! Get understanding!
Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth.
6 Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you;
Love her, and she will keep you.
7 Wisdom is the principal thing;
Therefore get wisdom.
And in all your getting, get understanding.
8 Exalt her, and she will promote you;
She will bring you honor, when you embrace her.
9 She will place on your head an ornament of grace;
A crown of glory she will deliver to you. (Proverbs 4:5-9)
Brethren, while love is the most important thing, wisdom helps us better utilize love as well as to be less susceptible to deceit in this world. In this world, we need to have the love of God in our hearts and wisely live our lives (Matthew 10:16).
Bob Thiel, Pastor and Overseer
Continuing Church of God