Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:
Today is the USA holiday called Thanksgiving.
While less and less Americans believe in God and are thankful for His blessings, all (in or out of the USA) should thank God.
Not just on this day, of course, but everyday.
Steve Dupuie has been working on various projects to get more CCOG-related literature to other audiences. His latest endeavor is related to a place called Smashwords (logo shown above).
Here is a report he sent about it:
I wanted to give you an update on our “Smashwords” project.
First, just what is Smashwords? Smashwords is a free ebook publishing and distribution platform. They make it fast, free and easy for authors and publishers to distribute ebooks to the world’s largest ebook retailers and library ebook platforms. We retain full control over how our books are published, sampled, priced and sold.
We are currently offering our ebooks for $1.99.
Smashwords is the world’s largest distributor of indie ebooks (indie is short for independent).
Once formatted for Smashwords, our books are published in several formats. Smashwords distributes .epub files to Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, OverDrive and others. In addition, our books are published in a format readable by Kindle, Sony Reader, Palm Doc, PDF, Plain Text and Online Reader.
Smashwords offers many tools to help promote our books. We have not taken advantage of any of them at this time because our main focus has been to just get all the books formatted and online. So far, we have three books available on Smashwords – Universal Offer of Salvation, Prayer: What Does the Bible Teach and Christians: Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God.
Many of the Brethren are helping write long and short book reviews for our ebooks, which is a requirement for Smashwords publishing. Other Brethren are creating audio books, which will be our next addition to online publishing.
Here is a quote from the Smashwords founder, Mark Coker, “unlike print books, ebooks never go out of print. Ebooks are immortal.” Our thought of publishing our books through Smashwords is to make the information available to the world just before Amos 8:11, when the Continuing Church of God gets its “15 minutes of fame”. Still – unless the Lord shall build the house.Steve
Well, while I would not say “Ebooks are immortal,” they do have various benefits. Particularly since we tend to update our books (usually with more scriptures or historical items).
As far as the “15 minutes of fame” goes, that is related to Romans 9:28 and the ‘short work’ (see also Preparing for the ‘Short Work’ and The Famine of the Word).
Just like we are on multiple platforms for our videos, we are pleased to be on multiple sites to promote CCOG-related literature.
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.” Amen. (Matthew 28:19-20)
Smashwords is another small step to help accomplish those objectives as we get closer to the end of the age.
Evangelist Evans Ochieng and COVID
As mentioned last week, evangelist Evans Ochieng went to Malawi to meet with church leaders from there as well as neighboring Mozambique. Because of COVID test requirements he had to stay and spend more time in Malawi than anticipated.
He received a positive COVID-19 test late last week, but did not trust the facility that did it. So, he then had to go to a different medical facility. The test results there showed he did not have COVID-19, which finally allowed him to travel home.
This was a tough trip for him, so please pray for him, his wife Rosemary, and the rest of his family.
I asked him about CCOG membership, in Malawi, Mozambique, and Kenya we have 4,365.
This does not count at least two congregations in Kenya we are evaluating, nor does it count one or more congregations in Malawi which we are re-evaluating.
God’s Holy Days in Kalenjin?
Evangelist Evans Ochieng was recently able to distribute English language copies of three CCOG books and booklets to Pastor Tiongik Sawek in the Rift Valley in Kenya. He and I have been communicating about this and the need to get them in the local language of Kalenjin there.
I asked him which one to start with first and he believes that would be best to start with. Here is an email he sent me on Tuesday:
Receive greetings from Pastor Sawek and brethrens from Rift valley Kenya. The mission of the church in Rift valley is going on well.
Last week I travelled around to see the congregation in Rift valley where the C.C.O.G has reached, and previously have distributed the books in these regions including, Molo, Njoro Naswet, Mau, Bomet and Groups of Chilani
I received good reports that the books are good since they show clearly the differences between C.C.O.G and Sunday believers. The books also teach more about God holidays, as there are many sabbatarians not observing such holidays
My view and the view of others is that some brethrens are literate and need the book to be translated in their local language so that they understand well. I had told evangelist Ochieng that it is good for these books to be translated. Already we have Kalenjin elders from seven sub-tribes who understand English well. These people together are able to come up with clear translations.
When the draft is done, it will be handed to evangelist Ochieng who will print the final copies. I will also give you my email so as to send some books that need to be translated including the procedures on which book to start.
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
May God bless you.
I sent him an email Wednesday with instructions so he can get that started and so, ultimately, we will be able to get it printed in Kenya.
One of the reason that the CCOG has been more successful than other COGs in Kenya is that we have put literature out in local languages such as Dholuo, Ekegusii, and Kiswahili.
Over six million people in Kenya speak Kalenjin.
Suggested Sabbath Service
Here is a suggested Sabbath service for 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 letter via email will be a recorded one. The one suggested for this week is: Biden-Harris & Hate Speech. 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 most who receive this letter via email will be a recorded one. The one suggested for this week is: The New Testament Canon From the Beginning. 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. 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 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. There are also some messages at the CCOGAfrica channel.
World News Items
COVID vaccines have been in news a lot. While, in general, I oppose the vaccine agenda, it is looking more and more like a COVID vaccine will be required for at least international air travel (see COVID vaccines make people sick, and two doses seem to be required). While it is NOT the ‘mark of the beast,’ some do not want people to be able to go to work without getting the vaccine.
Speaking of COVID, Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that the economic fallout from it is perhaps the biggest economic problem since the Great Depression (see G20, COVID, Putin, & Economic Depression).
During all this, Brexit trade negotiations continue, while the Europeans are also working to build a massive military (see “Brexit: Next days ‘decisive’ for hopes of deal, says EU’s Ursula von der Leyen,” as PESCO moves ahead). Europe is prophesied to end up with a “great army” (Daniel 11:25) and this will defeat the USA (Daniel 11:39), its British-descended allies (Daniel 8;24-25), and a coming Middle Eastern/North African power called the King of the South (Daniel 11:40-43).
Thanksgiving is an optional national holiday. It is not a biblical holy day, nor is it kept like one.
But Christians should give thanks whether they observe some version of it or not.
One song that comes to mind to me at this time (and is in the old WCG hymnal, as well as CCOG’s hymnal with the title Oh Give Thanks and Praise the Eternal!) is based 1 Chronicles 16:8-13 upon which says:
8 Oh, give thanks to the LORD!
Call upon His name;
Make known His deeds among the peoples!
9 Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him;
Talk of all His wondrous works!
10 Glory in His holy name;
Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the LORD!
11 Seek the LORD and His strength;
Seek His face evermore!
12 Remember His marvelous works which He has done,
His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth,
13 O seed of Israel His servant,
You children of Jacob, His chosen ones!
Those of us who understand God’s plan of salvation, should be thankful for being part of those chosen in this age. This is consistent with the following admonition from the Book of Psalms and one from Saint Paul:
4 Sing praise to the LORD, You saints of His, And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name (Psalm 30:4).
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
Anyway, the Bible is full of admonitions to give thanks to God. in the NKJV the term “give thanks” is used 40 times and the term “giving thanks” is used 5 times–and nearly all of these verses are discussing giving thanks to God. The term “thanksgiving” is used 24 times. Here are a few of them:
14 Offer to God thanksgiving (Psalms 50:14).
30 I will praise the name of God with a song, And will magnify Him with thanksgiving. (Psalms 69:30)
2 Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. 3 For the Lord is the great God, And the great King above all gods. (Psalms 95:2-3)
4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. 5 For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations. (Psalms 100:4-5)
Brethren, it is certainly appropriate to thank God for calling us, blessing us physically, and for the opportunity to understand the purpose of life and God’s way of life, the sacrifice of Jesus, and for the opportunity for salvation that He has given to us. We can be grateful for the understanding of God’s great plan that the Kingdom of God will bring peace and abundant prosperity.
Pastor and Overseer