Dear Brethren and Friends,
I can honestly and sincerely tell you that this recent Feast of Tabernacles celebration was the most unified and inspiring Feast many of us have ever experienced. A number of our brethren and ministers have reported on the inspiring sermons and activities of the Feast this year. Also, as a number of our “updates” have reported, Almighty God intervened at least several times in acts of divine protection and direct healing that took place at Feast sites all over the world. Thank God!
My youngest son, Jonathan, drove me to the Myrtle Beach, South Carolina Feast site where I gave four sermons, plus a talk at the Seniors’ Luncheon. In spite of bad weather all around the site, our heavenly Father blessed us with much less rain and bad weather than many other areas nearby. So the weather did not stop our meetings, or hurt the warm fellowship we enjoyed. Having talked with several of our Headquarters ministers and brethren who attended Feast sites literally all over the world, it was encouraging to hear their reports about the genuine excitement and encouragement and blessings God gave at the Feast this year.
But, I want to encourage all of you to keep this “spirit” of the Feast going in our personal lives. Pray fervently to Almighty God for the continuing inspiration and guidance to help each one of us be genuine “bond slaves” of Jesus Christ in every way. As we encouraged you at the Feast, genuinely study and “feed” on Jesus Christ in a deeper way than perhaps many of you have done before. Make the lives, the examples and the faith of Abraham, of David, of Paul and of course of Jesus Christ “come alive” in your personal lives. Then, take action, by helping other brethren that you know have needs and difficulties. Then help others in your community, neighbors, colleagues and others so you can also be “lights” to this confused world. Let us all pray together and beseech Almighty God to pour out upon us the “spirit of faith” above and beyond what we have ever had! Ask Him to begin to give us—according to His will—the “gifts” of healing and the other gifts of the Spirit more than ever as we truly cry out to Him!
Brethren, as the end of this age approaches, and as the power of our Work increases, there will undoubtedly be great persecution in the years just ahead. Each of us needs to beseech God to grant us—and all of our brethren—the faith and the courage to keep going and growing! We need to encourage one another in this and help each one to “buckle up” for the rough ride ahead! Again, as I have reminded you over the years, always keep your mind on the “Big Picture” of God’s great Plan and how He always tries and tests each one of us before we are made full sons in His soon-coming Kingdom. One special prayer that I would ask all of you to join me in praying is this: let us all together beseech God to grant us in this Work at least half of the financial increase that He gave Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong for about 35 years! For, as Mr. Armstrong explained many times, God gave the Work under his direction about 30 percent increase year by year for about 35 years.
Near the end of his ministry, with personal problems and sins growing throughout the Church, those blessings were taken away or cut back. But the fact remains—as I can testify, having been in the “inner circle” of the Work for so long—God did give the Work that type of blessing for more than three decades. So, let us together beseech God, as this terrible society around us deteriorates more rapidly, as the wars and violence and weather upsets and earthquakes increase, that He would grant us much greater power to do the Work by giving us such a financial increase.
Perhaps none of us have the tremendous personalities and magnetism that the Armstrongs had. But God Almighty is still alive, He is working through us right now, and—as these terrible end-time events approach—we really need to shake the world with the knowledge of His Kingdom far more than we have ever done. Remember, brethren, we are only “beginning to fight.” We have not yet finished! So again, since Jesus told us: “ask and you shall receive,” we can with faith ask God to give us at least one-half of the financial increase He gave His Church all those years when Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong were still alive and doing the Work. That would be a 15 percent financial increase of this Work year by year. I hope all of you will sincerely and zealously do your part. But I am not going to “press you” on that. For that is up to you and between you and God as you “walk with Him” in the fear of God. But I feel that God would want us to cry out and ask Him for the blessing that I have already indicated. Then, we could go on far more television stations, greatly increase our impact over the Internet—which is certainly the “wave of the future”—increase our personal appearance campaigns and “grow” the Work in every possible way.
When I first began this present Work back in 1992, I was a little embarrassed to ask for money. For all those years I was helping Mr. Armstrong—even as Second Vice President for about twelve years—I did not have the responsibility to directly ask for money. Mr. Armstrong did. So he wrote truly powerful and stirring co-worker letters in those days. If you read some of the old co-worker letters today, as many of you brethren have kept some of them, they were almost “hair-raising” in the power they had! It might be offensive to some of our newer brethren in our more liberal, worldly society today. But because this world so desperately needs what we have to give, I urge you to join me along with our top ministers in beseeching God to grant us at least 15 percent increase in our financial resources year by year and therefore enable us to really get going far beyond what we have yet done so this world will have a powerful “witness” of the Plan of God, of the reality of the soon-coming Government of God over this earth, and a genuine understanding of the true Jesus Christ of the Bible. May God inspire all of you to get involved in this way!
Dear brethren, some of you may wonder why I am coming on so strong at this time. But I hope that many of you—as I did—have taken the sermons and the wonderful experience we had at the Feast home and had the time to think and pray about how close we ought to be to God, about what we really ought to be doing and how this world so desperately needs the full Truth. Down through history, as you know, many of God’s leading servants went through periods when they cried out to God for special help and blessings. Remember the time when Daniel came to realize the tremendous need for God to intervene as he began to fully realize that the 70 years of desolation of Jerusalem were almost over: “Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. And I prayed to the Lord my God, and made confession, and said, ‘O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments’” (Daniel 9:3–4). He described his concern for “all Israel”—both near and far—who had been driven to countries all over because of their unfaithfulness to God and their spiritual weakness (v. 7).
Many of you older brethren realize that something similar has happened to the Church of God today! After Mr. Armstrong’s death, God’s Church came apart in many ways. We have been truly scattered into many different groups and denominations. The power and effectiveness of the Work has been shattered beyond belief. All of the little groups that have clung to at least part of the Truth are literally unknown to 99 percent (or more!) of the world’s population! Most of you realize this. If you go around your neighborhood you find virtually no one who has heard of the Living Church of God or any of the other groups that are trying to do God’s Work today. This needs to change! So I hope all of us can begin to fast and to pray fervently and ask God to help us stir ourselves to do our part far more zealously and begin to serve our Creator with zeal and to give of our physical substance sacrificially as we are able. Some of our brethren are already doing this. But I am fully aware that many of our brethren—often fine brethren who mean well and who are already giving a little bit of their substance—are nevertheless sitting on hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars worth of money, property and other resources they very rarely touch to help do the Work of the living God at the very end of this age.
Think of it!
In the early days of the true Christian Church, brethren were often filled with such zeal and such fervency that they were willing to open their hearts and their wallets to a degree far beyond what most of us are willing to do today. God’s Word tells us: “Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need. And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus, having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet” (Acts 4:32–37). God does not ask us to “have all things in common” as did these first-century Christians, but we can still be moved and inspired today by their great zeal.
Brethren, as our beloved peoples of America, Canada, Britain and other Israelite-descended nations go down and down and down in worldly power and influence, it is obvious that God will soon shake us beyond what we have ever experienced before. It is obvious that our own standards of living will greatly diminish more than what many of us can perhaps imagine. It is obvious that many millions of people of the descendants of Israel will go into captivity—experiencing anguish and suffering which they have never before experienced.
So, is it asking “too much,” as Daniel did, for God to intervene in a powerful way at this time? Is it too much to ask that all of us follow the pattern of the early Church and give of ourselves, our time, our energy and our possessions in the very service of Jesus Christ at the end of this age? It is in that spirit that I am asking all of you to become more truly zealous and “sacrificial” in the way you give of your resources. We in America, Canada, Britain and Australia often have far beyond what we actually need to lead a comfortable life, and far, far more than we need merely to subsist. So, “God is watching and testing” our attitudes in this regard. I am just asking you to do what some of us are already doing to a degree. But I, and all of us here at Headquarters certainly need to do more. I have now served my Creator—and hopefully all of you—for over 63 years full-time since my graduation from Ambassador College in June of 1952. I am trying to give my life to God more fully than ever after 63 years of continuous service. So I ask you to join me in a genuine “crusade” so God’s message can go forth with greater power than ever before. That is why I am writing this message at this time—filled with extra fervency and zeal as a follow-through from the wonderful spirit so many of us felt at the Feast of Tabernacles.
Once again, I am asking—as your pastor and friend—that you will “join me” in this crusade to ask God fervently for this financial increase, and that each one of you will try to do your part as best as you are able. I hope all of you can see the “signs” of the soon-coming end of this age. We all know what this means. We know that it means that we have just so much time to get out Christ’s message so that people all over the world will know that our God is real, and that He is now beginning to intervene with increasing power to set up His Kingdom on this earth. So, I pray we will all “get going” as never before. May God guide you, inspire you and bless you as you walk with Him. Let us all pray for one another that we can keep the zest of the Feast of Tabernacles going and growing in our personal lives day by day. I love you. I thank you so much for the love and the joy and the encouragement that you have continued to give, and I hope that you will join me in this crusade to ask God to give us even greater power than ever before—even in the financial part of the Work. Then we will be able, in this commercial society in which we live, to reach out even more powerfully than ever before. May God be with you.
With Christian love,