July 9th, 2015
Greetings from Charlotte,
In Europe, the EU appears to be on the edge of coming apart, and in China the stock market is collapsing. Both events could lead to economic and political disruptions that could impact the world. The so-called "Christian" nations of the Western world continue to defy God as they plunge ahead with the promotion of homosexuality and same-sex marriage. From the standpoint of Bible prophecy, we are certainly living in very interesting times! Here in Charlotte, Dr. Meredith has been holding meetings and working on a Tomorrow's World article. We are receiving positive reports about the Adirondack Canoe Trip and the Texas and Missouri Pre-Teen Camps. This week, the LYC Adventure Camp in Wyoming got off to a good start, and the North Carolina Pre-Teen Camp will begin on Sunday. Mr. and Mrs. Paul Shumway are making a pre-move trip to Barbados and Trinidad, and Mr. Weston visited Charlotte this week for meetings and television taping. Mr. Graeme Hemphill, who pastors congregations in Sydney, Australia, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea has asked for prayers for his wife Jan after an operation that removed about 75 percent of a brain tumor. Your prayers for all these activities and for God's people are deeply appreciated.—DSW
Adirondack Canoe Trip
From July 1-5, 36 members from across the USA and Canada camped and canoed in the beautiful Adirondack Mountains, learning the importance of teamwork and building bonds of brotherhood. Rainy and windy weather produced rougher water than expected for the two-mile trip from Golden Beach, where we met, to our camp-site on an island in Racquette Lake. Over the next few days we learned a variety of canoeing and camping skills, from paddling and steering, and uprighting a swamped canoe, to starting a camp fire, orienteering, knot-tying, making a stove and using a tarp to make a shelter. Each day, "Morning Motivation" and "Evening Reflection" focused on the big picture of drawing closer to our God. Every evening then ended with hymn singing. Our Sabbath service included a sermon by Mr. Jonathan McNair on the importance of vision and remembering that God has a plan and purpose that He is bringing to pass. On Sunday we returned to Golden Beach across a calm and picturesque lake, and said our good-byes. This year's trip built new friendships and strengthened existing ones, drawing us closer together as brethren in God's Church.—Michael Aviles
Spanish Update: Tomorrow's World Reaching the End of the Earth!
Beginning July 5, we started preaching the Gospel on radio in the southernmost city on earth: Puerto Williams, Chile, located on one of the last islands in the Tierra del Fuego archipelago. El Mundo de Mañana is broadcast on Sunday mornings from 10:00 to 11:00 and is heard on other nearby islands as well. The first programs aired were "Prophetic Trends for 2015" and "Overcoming Stress," both by Mr. Richard Ames. The radio station manager said she gladly opened the door for our program because people need to hear a message of hope that promotes good values and respect for God.
"For so the Lord has commanded us: 'I have set you as a light to the Gentiles, that you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.' Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed" (Acts 13:47-48).—Armando Orrego
Feast of Tabernacles
Activity Registration and Payment Opens This Sunday!
Beginning Sunday, July 12 at 9:00 a.m. EDT (USA), all LCG members and guests attending the Feast of Tabernacles will be invited to begin registering for activities at their respective Feast sites. Payments for activities will also be enabled at that time. Activity registration and payment will be made via your MyLCG account, through the Festival Web site. To access it, go to www.lcg.org, and click on the link "Feast of Tabernacles."
Festival (Second Tithe) Assistance Requests—U.S. Only—Repeat Announcement
Attention U.S. Pastors: The deadline to submit Festival Assistance Request forms to the Church Administration Department is Wednesday, July 15. All forms should be properly completed by the members requesting second tithe assistance to attend the Feast this year. Then, the Area Pastors should write their recommendations/comments on the forms before submitting them to CAD. Festival Assistance Request forms are available to ministers on the MyLCG Web site (www.cogl.org). Note: Members requesting second tithe assistance should plan to attend their assigned site, unless there are extenuating circumstances.—Festival Office
Living Youth Program
Missouri Pre-Teen Camp
Despite wet weather, 147 campers and staff enjoyed a fun-filled week in the Ozarks at Camp Bob White in the Knob Noster State Park. Campers enthusiastically participated in archery, riflery, swimming, music, volleyball, camp improvement and crafts. Each morning began with a Christian Living class, presented by the Camp Director (myself) and Assistant Director Phil West. The theme of all activities during the camp this year was "Respect." One of the highlights of the camp was the new "Gaga Ball" pit, an idea borrowed from our Texas camp. A common comment from our returning campers and staff was that this was the best year ever for the camp. God's hand was present throughout the week.—Gene Hilgenberg
Registration for First (Fall) Semester
Registration for first semester classes is now underway and classes will begin August 17. Students may register anytime before the start of classes. For those who have never taken a Living University course, you will need to enroll in the University first, and then register for your selected course. A complete listing of the "Fall 2015 Class Schedule" (Spring in the Southern hemisphere) can be viewed on the Living University Web site. To make application to Living University, to register for courses, and to find out more, please visit the www.livinguniv.com Web site. For additional information, please contact Mrs. Michelle Broussard at [email protected] or 704-708-2294. The following are brief descriptions of some of the 20 classes being offered next semester. Over the next month, we plan to share an overview of our courses in The World Ahead, so be sure to watch for them.
THL 320—Introduction to Church History: The literal prophecies in Revelation 2-3 were fulfilled in their own time as churches in Asia Minor, but they have important prophetic meaning as well, fulfilled over the course of nearly 2,000 years as successive eras in Church history. Overlooked by historians far too long, these two chapters provide a general outline of Church history from the birth of the Church in 31AD to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ at the end of the Age. In this sense, Revelation 2-3 constitute a prophetic history of the Church of God, with an important message for the people of God in every century. Topics for this course include the development of the Church through each of its seven distinct eras.
HPRO 114—Health and Wellness: This course covers topics that are important for improving your personal health and well-being. It aims to filter the vast array of health-related knowledge available in the world today through sound biblical principles. Dr. Scott Winnail will emphasize lifestyle-related wellness, health promotion, and disease prevention within the context of a range of health topics. Focus will be placed on healthy decision-making, becoming a wise health consumer, healthy weight management, and other skills which will enable students to make health-enhancing choices and engage in actions to improve their own health and quality of life.
ANTH 230—Biological Anthropology: This course deals with human origins, including intelligent design, the creation of mankind, human genetics, genetic forces, what it is to be human, and human variation and adaptation including human nutrition, growth and development, health and demography. In this course we deal with the concept of evolution, but through the lens of the Bible, thereby equipping students to understand the science and defend against attacks by biblical naysayers. This course is required for our Bachelor and Associate degree programs.
Beware of Misguided Ideas: The Apostle Paul warned "in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons" (1 Timothy 4:1-4) and that many will not listen to sound doctrine but will prefer to follow their own ideas (2 Timothy 3:1-6; 4:1-4). The Apostle also warned that critics within and from outside the Church will try to divide the Church to gain a following (Acts 20:29-31). He pointed out that Satan will try various ways to mislead well-meaning people (2 Corinthians 2:11)—often new people (1 Timothy 3:6)—by appealing to the human desire to be in the limelight or be recognized as an authority (3 John 9-10). Numerous issues threatened to divide the early Church: foods, hair lengths, ideas about the resurrection, circumcision, etc. (see 1 Corinthians and Galatians). However, Paul's consistent advice was to "Guard what was committed to your trust" (1 Timothy 6:20), to "hold fast" to what you have been "taught" (Titus 1:9-11) and "avoid foolish disputes" (Titus 3:9; 1 Timothy 6:3-5). When questions do arise over doctrine, the biblical example is to take the issue to the leaders of the Church for a decision (Acts 15:1-31). Nowhere do the Scriptures encourage individuals to take it on themselves to correct or "save" the Church. That is something that Jesus Christ will take care of in His time as He "builds" His Church (Matthew 16:18).
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—July 9, 2015
Growing Turmoil in Middle East: Violence is spreading in the Middle East. "Egypt's military killed 241 militants in the Sinai from July 1-5, the army said Monday, including militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) who launched spectacular attacks last week" (Al Arabiya, July 6, 2015). A German source writes, "New challenge in Gaza: 'Islamic State' takes on Hamas" (Deutsche Welle, July 5, 2015) and "The Syrian army, backed by Lebanese Hezbollah fighters, has entered the rebel-held town of Zabadani on the border to Lebanon. Capturing the town would be a boost to the government after several setbacks" (Deutsche Welle, July 5, 2015). Another source states, "The United Nations has been pushing for a halt to the air strikes and fighting that have killed nearly 3,000 people in Yemen since March when the Saudi-led coalition intervened against... Houthi forces in a bid to restore... President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi" (Reuters, July 6, 2015). An Arab newspaper reports, "Kuwait is considering charging more than 40 people in connection with a deadly suicide bombing in a mosque claimed by the Daesh (the so-called IS) group... The bomber killed 26 people and wounded 227 in the June 26 attack in the capital Kuwait City" (Saudi Gazette, July 6, 2015). Where is all of this turmoil headed? Bible prophecy describes a Middle Eastern confederation led by the "king of the South" that will provoke a war against the "king of the North" which will then "overwhelm" the southern confederation (Daniel 11:40-43). Today's spreading turmoil will likely hasten the emergence of this southern king. For more on this dynamic situation, read The Middle East in Prophecy.
Israel's Unexpected Future: German Bundestag President Norbert Lammert recently commented to the Israeli Knesset, "The intensive friendship between our two countries is a historic miracle. This miracle happened mostly thanks to the abilities of two veteran and experienced leaders—David Ben-Gurion and Konrad Adenauer—to make a decision," said Mr. Lammert (Jerusalem Post, June 24, 2015). He also noted that "Many issues can be up for negotiation—but not the existence of the State of Israel" and that "he wants to strengthen ties between Israel and Germany" (ibid.). These were encouraging words as Israel feels more isolated and under increasing international pressure to accommodate the Palestinians. Germany's support will draw Israel closer and build more trust between the two nations. This is sobering in light of Bible prophecies that a German-led European beast power will eventually control the Holy Land and begin to take a more prominent role on the world stage in the near future (Daniel 11:40-43). Meanwhile, the Vatican has just signed its first treaty with "the state of Palestine"—building trust with the other major group in the Holy Land (Reuters, June 26, 2015). Students of prophecy should watch for Germany and the Vatican to be given or take a leadership role in the Holy Land and even determine what happens on the Temple Mount (Daniel 9:26-27; Matthew 24:15). For more about the future activities in and around Jerusalem, read The Beast of Revelation: Myth, Metaphor or Soon-Coming Reality?
Murder and Torture for Pleasure? "A violent video game that encourages players to perform gruesome killings on a 'genocide crusade' has been approved for sale in Britain. Hatred, believed to be the most violent game ever produced, was awarded an 18 certificate by the Games Rating Authority yesterday" (The Times, May 23, 2015). "Adam Simmonds, the police and crime commissioner for Northamptonshire, who has conducted research into children's exposure to violent video games, said it was 'outrageous' that Hatred had been certified. 'We say that adults should be allowed to play these types of games, but then we're shocked when children act them out in playgrounds with real weapons,' he said" (ibid.). The game's creators noted on their Web site "Don't take it too seriously, it's just a game... we wanted to create… something that could give the player a pure gaming pleasure" (ibid.). Why have murder, evil and destruction become acceptable "pleasures" in society today? Is anything ever "just a game," or are there mental, emotional, and even physical consequences from playing violent games? The prophet Isaiah warned that end-time society would reach a point when people would actually call evil things "good" and good things "evil" (Isaiah 5:20). We are witnessing these things happening today. For more on this subject, read our article "How the Media Mold the World."—Scott Winnail, Justin Ridgway, Chris Sookdeo, Francine Prater and Debbie Bennett