December 14th, 2017
Greetings from Charlotte,
This has been a very busy time with a lot of end-of-year details that have to be attended to. Church business meetings were held for the Hong Kong and Dutch areas, and the last co-worker letter of 2017 was written and mailed this week. Dr. Winnail returned from a productive trip to Texas. Mr. Jim Meredith returned from a conference in South Florida, and from the funeral of Mr. Burk McNair, who died recently. He was a long-time Evangelist in another Church of God, but well-known to many of us, and part of the McNair clan. Jim's mother was a McNair and sister of Burk. Mr. Rod McNair and I both recorded new Tomorrow's World television programs this week. We are gearing up for the Charlotte Family Weekend, and Kansas City is no doubt doing the same for its weekend.—Gerald Weston
LCG Webcast Live Stream of Charlotte Weekend Sabbath Service—Congregations Tuning In Should Have a Backup Plan
We are once again welcoming LCG congregations and members to join us "online" for the Charlotte Family Weekend Friday night Bible Study on December 22, and Sabbath Service on December 23. The Friday night Bible Study will begin at 7:30 p.m. (Eastern time) and the Sabbath service will begin at 2:00 p.m. (EST). To join, please go to www.lcgwebcast.org, and under "Stream Site" select "Charlotte Family Weekend 2017." Enter the password, your name (or congregation name) and the number of people viewing (for attendance purposes). Please note, this Internet broadcast is for LCG membership and you can find the password at your "MyLCG" account. (Just go to www.cogl.org and click on the "MyLCG" link.) Pastors: If your congregations are tuning in, be sure to have a lineup of speakers or DVDs set up as backup, in case you have any technical difficulties. We look forward to "seeing" you all on the live stream!
Note: This year, simultaneous translation of the Bible Study and Sabbath Service into French or Spanish will not be available.
Charlotte Family Weekend—Registration Closing!
Registration and payments for the Charlotte Family weekend will close at the end of Sunday, December 17. All meals and activities must be paid for by the deadline, so if you have registered but not yet paid, do so now! The fact that we have to give the hotel guaranteed meal counts make this an absolute necessity. To register, log on to your MyLCG page through www.cogl.org/mylcg.shtml and then just click the "Registration" button in the Charlotte Family Weekend box on the right side of the page. The deadline for check payments has passed, so only online payments can now be accepted. Payment for the basketball and volleyball teams must be paid in cash at the Sports Day.
Charlotte Family Weekend Family Games
This year's Family Sports day will begin with a series of fun, exciting, and challenging Family games for those of all ages! These games will include a combination of physical and mental activities such as a relay race, team building challenges, and Church culture trivia questions. Ten teams will be able to play. Each team must:
- have a minimum of 12 and a maximum of 20 participants
- be co-ed
- have a variety of ages, including the following minimums: three teens, three pre-teens (ages 7 -12), and two seniors (50 and over)
If you would like to register a team, please have your team captain contact Jake Hall ([email protected]) with your team name and a list of team members as soon as possible. Or, if you don't have a team and would like to be on one or start one, you can e-mail Jake and let him know.
Let the games begin!
Kansas City Family Weekend Deadlines Approaching
Next up is Charlotte, then the Kansas City Weekend! We're expecting over 400 people this year, and we're excited to welcome guest speaker Rod McNair and his family. We also have regional guest speakers lined up for the Bible Studies on Friday evening and Saturday morning.
The deadline for reserving a hotel room at the Embassy Suites was extended a few days to Tuesday, December 19. They are out of two-double-bed suites and only have king-size beds left at the current price. There may be deluxe suites with double-beds available at a higher price. After December 19, much higher, standard hotel rates will apply to new reservations.
If you have already registered, please make your dinner payments as soon as possible via PayPal or check. We have to give the hotel final numbers next week, so if we haven't received your payment by then, your party may not be counted. Details about payments and housing can be found on the website at kclcg.org (not an official LCG website).
The deadline for signing up for a Family Games or Volleyball team is this week! If you have a few people in mind for building a team, reach out to them and build a team on the website. Or use the KC Weekend Facebook page to see who needs a team. For those who are new to the Weekend or who just want to show up and play, we will happily place you on a team of our choosing. Family games start a little later this year, but if you're playing volleyball or basketball, the sports Bible Study begins at 8:30 a.m. (it will help you tame your competitive spirit a bit), with the volleyball tournament and open court basketball beginning at 9 a.m.
See you soon!
Living Youth Program
No Friday Evening Online Teen Bible Studies on December 22 and 29
There will be no online Teen Bible Study on Friday evening, December 22 (Charlotte Family Weekend Bible Study) or on December 29 (Kansas City Family Weekend Bible Study). However, archives of previous Living Youth Bible Studies, including last evening's on "Introduction to the Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ (part 2)" can be found on the Living Youth website. Online Teen Bible Studies will resume on Friday evening, January 5, when we will begin the study of the Gospel account of Matthew, covering the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.—Sheldon Monson
Texas Teen Camp—"Top 10 Reasons to Come to Camp"
One hundred seventy teens, ages thirteen to eighteen, were surveyed this summer at Lone Star Camp in Texas. The "Top 10 Reasons To Come to Camp" and "10 More Reasons To Come to Camp" are listed on the Youth website. Be sure to check out the results.
Final Semester Registration
Registration for spring semester classes is now underway! Classes will begin on Wednesday, January 10. This will be the last semester of LU operation and your last opportunity to experience a full-blown LU course. As the Church transitions its educational efforts, beginning in the fall of 2018 we plan to provide a "limited release" of courses to the general Church membership—with a few classes being added each semester or year. These courses will be exciting and continue to have the potential to increase one's biblical understanding; however, they will be significantly different from the current format.
Students may register for the spring semester (fall in the Southern Hemisphere) anytime between now and January 9. Those who have never taken a Living University course will need to enroll in the University first, and then register for your selected course(s). Those age 65 and older are eligible to audit one course with tuition waived (you will be responsible for textbooks and a technology fee). High school students may dual-enroll at a significantly reduced rate. If you reside in a developing nation, you may qualify for reduced tuition. A complete list of second semester courses can be viewed on the Living University website under the link "Spring 2018 Class Schedule." To make application to Living University, to register for courses, and to find out more, please visit the www.livinguniv.com website. For additional information or questions, please contact Mrs. Michelle Broussard at 704-708-2294 or [email protected].
Hold On to The Truth: The Apostle Paul admonished Christians to "Prove all things: hold fast that which is good [right and true]" (1 Thessalonians 5:21, KJV). David wrote "Your law is truth" and "all Your commandments are truth" (Psalm 119:142, 151). The apostles warned that people would leave the truth, resist the truth, turn their ears away from the truth and speak evil of the truth (2 Timothy 2:18; 3:8; 4:4; 2 Peter 2:2) because they did not love the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:10). The history of the early Church shows how this happened as the truth of the gospel was lost and replaced by pagan ideas and practices. However, these same practices are being repeated today. I recently visited the East Texas community of Big Sandy that was once the home of Ambassador College and a Church congregation of over 1,000 members. Today, the college is gone, and in this small town of 1,300 people, there are about a half dozen little congregations that once met together on the campus of Ambassador College. These congregations have either retained or rejected the truth in various degrees—just as Jesus prophesied (Matthew 24:4-5). To avoid being deceived and led astray, we need to follow Paul's admonition and "continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them" (2 Timothy 3:13-14). Brethren, let's prove and hold on to the Truth!
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—December 14, 2017
Where Will Gender Confusion End? In Australia, shortly after a same-sex marriage bill was introduced in the parliament, a member of the House of Representatives proposed marriage to his same-sex partner of nine years—on the floor of parliament! The event was followed by approving applause from all who were present (ABC.net.au, December 4, 2017). In an unprecedented move in Britain, a prominent homosexual Anglican cleric encouraged believers to "pray for Prince George—age 4, and third in line to the throne—to find the love 'of a fine young gentleman' when he grows up so as to advance the cause of same-sex marriage in church" (New York Times, December 1, 2017). Austria will join the 25 countries around the world where same-sex marriage is legal (Reuters, December 5, 2017). Gender confusion is spreading around the globe, due to pressure from liberal politicians and clerics, governments and the media, all of which seem bent on pushing society along any path that is anti-God and anti-Bible—despite the known risks and dire consequences of these choices. However, the prophet Isaiah warned that sinful nations that revolt against God's laws and adopt the ways of Sodom and Gomorrah will face God's judgment (Isaiah 1:1-10, 25). Jesus Christ also warned that the "broad way" of following popular opinion and one's own desires (Jeremiah 17:9) does not lead to happiness but rather to misery and destruction (Matthew 7:13-14)! What the Bible labels "good" and "right" is now called "wrong" and "hate speech"—just like God warned (Isaiah 5:20). However, the "narrow way" that Jesus praised—the way of life described in the Bible—avoids the consequences of disease and despair, and leads instead to health, happiness, peace and satisfaction. Societies around the world have been confused and deceived by a powerful spirit being into pursuing a lifestyle that is not only contrary to long-standing Christian traditions, but is also based on physical lust for personal gratification (Revelation 12:9). You can learn more about the "narrow way" to a more meaningful life that is outlined in the Scriptures, by reading or listening to our free booklet, The Ten Commandments!
Tech Leaders Without Vision: The technology boom of the past several decades has changed the world by using social media to connect people around the globe. However, social media connections have also been used to promote political uprisings, topple governments and spread "fake news" around the world. But why would the brilliant creators of social media develop tools with destructive effects on individuals and society? "It never seems to have occurred to them that their engines could be used to deliver ideological and political messages" (The Guardian, November 19, 2017). John Naughton, Professor of Public Understanding of Technology at the Open University, and author of From Gutenberg to Zuckerberg, suggests that many tech creators are fantastic mathematicians and engineers, but lack an understanding of history and the humanities. While researchers and developers relish the challenge of creating new and unique devices, they seldom ask the hard questions: "Should we do this?" and "What could happen if we do this?" For many, the pursuit of money and profits can overshadow morality. However, the Bible provides valuable insight into these critical moral and social issues—even those created by the latest technologies. The prophet Isaiah warned about conditions that would arise at the end of the age: "I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them" (Isaiah 3:4). Many of the tech elite are young men and women who lack the perspective that comes with age and experience. The prophet Hosea also foretold, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" (4:6)—referring to a lack of understanding and discernment that comes from a knowledge of the Scriptures. Solomon observed, "Where there is no vision, the people perish," and the wise "foresee evil" and avoid it (Proverbs 29:18, KJV; 22:3; 27:12). What the world needs today are leaders with character who possess the qualities of godly wisdom, discernment, foresight and a strong sense of right and wrong. Thankfully, the time is coming when Christ will return and set up a government with leaders who will help heal the world. You can begin preparing for this exciting future by reading "Does Character Really Matter?"—Scott Winnail, Rob Tyler, and Francine Prater