Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:
Greetings from our office in Grover Beach, in the ‘Five Cities’ region of California.
In trying to provide “meat in due season” (cg. Matthew 24:45-46, KJV), this week’s recommended sermon explains why the seven reasons a Protestant pastor has given for Christians to observe Halloween are wrong.
We continue to see Protestant pastors put forth reason why people should transgress God’s laws and statutes. I state this, because that is why I ended up feeling the need to put together a sermon several months ago titled What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality?, wherein I denounced ten positions from a Protestant minister that were used to try to justify the homosexual marriage agenda.
Spent a lot of time on various matters involving Africa this week.
We hope that Kenya-based Pastor Evans Ochieng will be able to visit Ethiopia next month. There are some issues he and I have tried to work out with the Ethiopians, and perhaps some will wish to be part of the Continuing Church of God in a few months.
Some have asked about other ministers and leaders in CCOG other than Pastor Ochieng and myself. While leaders can change, here is a listing he put together at my request:
Pastor Dr Bob,
3- ORIANG—————–JACOB KUNGU————–HOST
16- BOMET 2————-JOSEPH SIELE———————-HOST
22-DEACONESS we have only one. That is Rosemary Akinyi Ochieng.
We have two groups which are still new and they don’t have hosts.
GHANA—————-SAMUEL and other Pastors.
Our leader in Tanzania is Martin Wanga———–Deacon
I have met several of the Kenyan leaders listed above.
And, of course, we have hosts in other parts of the world, including the USA, Canada, the Philippines, Nigeria, Europe, and New Zealand. And those in Ghana are still a little distant from us as they are not fully part of CCOG yet. Nigeria and Ethiopia have not yet been visited by any in the CCOG, which is why their pastors/leaders are not listed above.
Are far as other matters in Africa this week, Sosten Libungwa of Malawi has had issues that the battery for the laptop he was given no longer works. This is an issue because they do not have electricity in his home or the homes of many members there. So, we sent funds for him to get a new battery and pay for some internet and electricity access. Sosten Libungwa is planning on getting The Bible Hymnal translated into the language of Chichewa, which those he is associated with in Malawi, as well as neighboring Mozambique, speak. He also hopes that they will be able to translate the April-June 2016 edition of Bible News Prophecy magazine into Chichewa for the first time.
We sent some copies of The Bible Hymnal and some of the books (as opposed to CCOG booklets) that I wrote to Ghana as they requested books from us. We hope that they will one day fully decide to be a real part of CCOG and support our mission to fulfill Matthew 24:14 and Matthew 28:19-20.
We also ordered some copies The Bible Hymnal and some of the books (as opposed to CCOG booklets) to be sent to Nigeria as finally there is a mailing address for those in the Abuja area–these are ordered via Create Space from Amazon and sent directly without coming to our office in Grover Beach, California, USA. This is what we also did a couple days earlier for those in Ghana. Additionally, we put togeher some Bible News Prophecy magazines and CCOG booklets to be sent separately to those in Abuja, Nigeria.
French and German Language Booklets
After some delay, yesterday we received the electronic and printed copies of our booklet Prayer: What Does the Bible Teach?
Here is a link for those who would like to see the online version: La Prière : Qu’est-ce que la Bible Enseigne?
Gisele Haddon, who translated the booklet in French, asked me about it at the Feast of Tabernacles in Canada, so I followed up with the graphics & printing company, who had not finished it. So, now it is finished and available.
Also yesterday, we finally received printed copies of our Faith for Those God has Called and Chosen booklet in the German language. We have had it available electronically for months, but there were printer issues, but it is now available.
We are trying to reach people “of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues” (Revelation 7:9) and are pleased when our volunteer translators provide us materials that we can make available to all over the internet, as well as with printed versions of most of what we have translated into languages other than English.
Ended up being on the radio (internet radio) for 1 1/2 hours last evening. It was on the Revolution Radio show. The radio host, Zen Garcia, had seen something that I wrote about the Holy Days and Ten Commandments and contacted me just before the Feast of Tabernacles. So, we scheduled something after that, but he ended up not having that time available.
Anyway, yesterday’s interview went well and the host invited me to come on again next Wednesday, from 8:30 to 10:00pm EST. Now, unlike the other interviews I reported here, this is simply an internet -based program and does not have the audience like the others I have normally reported about. However, this program reaches a different audience and we try to go through doors that open (cf. Revelation 3:7-18).
Radio is one of several means that we are using to reach the world with the Gospel of the Kingdom (Matthew 24:14) and teaching people to do whatsoever Jesus commanded (Matthew 28:19-20).
Issues in the USA and Vaccinations
Health issues came up in the USA this week. On Tuesday, I sent out three anointed cloths–two to members and one to a child with health concerns.
Another issue to bring up now is vaccinations.
The Continuing Church of God teaches that vaccinations are a personal decision. The Continuing Church of God neither requires its members (nor their children) to be vaccinated nor to refrain from vaccinations. This is considered to be a personal matter. For those who might wonder, my wife and I never had any of our children vaccinated nor have we personally ever been vaccinated for going overseas (though there could be places in the future that could mandate it, especially if she or I were to go to certain countries in Africa).
It probably should be mentioned that although most of the 50 USA states allow for religious and/or philosophical exemptions to vaccinations, many states are looking to change this. Furthermore, the US Supreme Court has basically indicated that public school systems can require this irrespective of the beliefs of the parents and/or their children. So, while we are willing to provide our exemption request forms, please understand that in many lands (and not just the USA) the government is reducing rights in many areas, including those associated with vaccinations.
Specifically, the State of California passed a law to basically eliminate the religious and/or philosophical exemption for immunizations. If you have a child in the State of California and you do not want this child to get vaccinations, then you must have an exemption on file with the school district no later than December 31, 2015. Here is a link to the current California State Exemption Form available at https://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/immunize/Documents/CDPH-8262.pdf.
The State of California will ‘grandfather in’ many who have exemptions on file prior to December 31, 2015. But each school district can still push for immunizations anyway. Currently this requirement does NOT apply to ‘home-schooled’ children nor those attending college/university, but this could change in the future. The CCOG is NOT a source of legal information, but we thought that some would want to know about this as the mandatory requirement for vaccines as the personal beliefs exemption will not be accepted for those attending affected schools in California beginning July 1, 2016.
Getting back to the work of proclamation, Google reported that our advertising campaign over the internet reached 3,726,262 computers last month. For the quarter (July-September 2015), Google reported that our advertising campaign reached 10,480,562 computers.
Even though we are reaching millions, it is my hope and prayer to be able to increase our reach this way next year. We will see how our finances look as because likely trips in Africa, we may not be able to increase the funding for the campaign yet.
Through our websites, even apart from Google, we have reached people in pretty much all nations and territories in the world.
We want to provide as thorough of a witness of the gospel of the kingdom as we can (Matthew 24:14).
World News Items
The politicians in the USA have been coming up with another budget deal that most Americans claimingly would not support, but that will continue to increase the debt of the USA (see Tentative ‘budget’ deal does not agree with what 9 of 10 Americans claim to want). This is NOT unexpected. The first issue of the Bible News Prophecy magazine that the CCOG put out warned that debt would increase and that the prophecies from the Book of Habakkuk show that the USA will be taken over, at least partially, because of the debt (cf. Habakkuk 2:6-8).
Some in the West and Japan are concerned about Russia’s ‘Asia pivot’ as Russia announced plans to increase its naval presence in the Kuril islands (see Russia’s ‘Asia pivot’ causing concerns, but …). Russia once had the islands, prior to the 19th century and decided to acquire them after Japan was defeated in WWII. Russia’s ‘Asia pivot’ comes after the US government began its Asia pivot policy. By focusing more militarily on Asia and Russia, the USA will not be prepared as it otherwise could be to deal with the force that is starting to arise in Europe. A power that will one day take over the USA according to biblical prophecies, like Daniel 11:39.
The USA has been involved in negotiations for several trade deals. One is called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and involves the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and some others, but not the UK nor Europe (see More countries interested in TPP. including Muslim Indonesia) One is called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and this is one the European leaders are highly involved in. Another, dealing with services, is called the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), which includes the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and some others (see TISA proceeding, but quietly, and without Uruguay). It has long been my view that disputes regarding trade are likely to be a reason that the Europeans will look unfavorable on the USA and some (if not all) of its Anglo-Saxon descended allies. There are parts of at least two of these trade proposals that could result in that.
The US Federal Bureau of Investigation again announced potential terrorist threats posed by Syrian and other Middle East migrants that the Obama Administration wants to bring to the USA (see FBI again warns about Syrian migrants; Bible prophecy suggests that the US and UK may be hurt by them). Bible prophecy does warn of “terrors from within” (Deuteronomy 32:25) as well as specifically risks from Syrians (Isaiah 9:12). These prophecies are set for more fulfillment.
Speaking of Syria, the USA has put some ‘troops on the ground to deal with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria,’ despite the Obama Administration basically saying earlier that this would not happen (see USA has put ‘troops on the ground’ to fight the Islamic State; naval warship offends China). Part of the reason that the USA is considering doing more of this is not only because of displeasure with its recent approaches, but also to attempt to counter the growing Russian military influence in the area. China raised objections to the presence of the US military vessel in waters it claims are its this week (see USA has put ‘troops on the ground’ to fight the Islamic State; naval warship offends China). Actions by the USA seem to be moving Russia and China closer together.
The USA and Europe continue to work on various international trade agreements, but not nations are interested (e.g., see TISA proceeding, but quietly, and without Uruguay). Various political candidates for the presidency of the USA have voiced their positions on trade agreements. It has long been my view that disputes over trade will be a factor in turning public opinion in Europe against the USA. Watch (cf. Mark 13:37).
A deadly earthquake affected people in Afghanistan and Pakistan this week (see Death toll exceeds 100 from Hindu Kush earthquake). Jesus warned about earthquakes in various places as part of the end time sorrows (Matthew 24:4-8). Weather events and earthquakes remind us that we cannot take things for granted as major changes can happen quickly. Those affected in Afghanistan and Pakistan are in my prayers.
On the 50th anniversary an the interfaith declaration from Vatican II, Pope Francis made comments and continued to push his interfaith and ecumenical agenda (see 50th Anniversary of Vatican II and Canadian and USA churches jointly accept ‘communion’ in another ecumenical step). Today, I saw that a Hindu leader is stating that the Church of Rome is basically showing how religions in the world should treat each of. Mystery Babylon the Great is casting out her ecumenical and interfaith net (Revelation 17:1-5) and many seem to wish to jump in it–despite biblical warnings (cf. Revelation 18:1-10).
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 many who receive this letter via email will be a recorded one titled: Is the US Congress eliminating the 1st Amendment? 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 many who receive this letter via email will be a recorded one. The one suggested for this week is: Halloween: Are there 7 reasons for Christians to celebrate it? What about 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.
In the 22nd Psalm, the following was prophesied:
1 My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?
Why are You so far from helping Me,
And from the words of My groaning?
2 O My God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear;
And in the night season, and am not silent.
3 But You are holy,
Enthroned in the praises of Israel.
4 Our fathers trusted in You;
They trusted, and You delivered them.
5 They cried to You, and were delivered;
They trusted in You, and were not ashamed. (Psalms 22:1-5)
I referred to this as a prophecy, because the Bible shows that Jesus said much of verse 1 in the New Testament (see Matthew 27:46). The other reason it is ‘prophetic’ is that Christians sometimes feel that it looks like God is far from them, but it tells us not to be discouraged.
Pastor and Overseer
Continuing Church of God