October 31st, 2019
Greetings from Charlotte,
This is the first World Ahead update sent out from Charlotte since the Feast, and reports coming in from around the world have been very positive. The two sites Carol and I attended (Hilton Head and Williamsburg) were well organized and the loving atmosphere among the brethren was outstanding. We have completed the Holy Day offering counts here in Charlotte, and all seven Holy Days show an increase over last year and over budget. This is most encouraging. We are saddened to announce the death on October 18 of Mrs. Rodger Hagmaier, wife of our elder in Akron. Please remember her husband and family, and all others who have lost loved ones, in your prayers. A bit of good news is the response to the French language telecast in Quebec, Canada. Mr. Yvon Brochu’s telecast, “Le cannabis” (“Marijuana”), garnered 57 responses, 16 of which were first-time responses—second-highest first-time response this year and nearly three times the average. Mr. Brochu was our only French language presenter for more than four years. However, this year he has had help from Dr. Wilner Pierre, whose program “Qu’est-ce que la grande tribulation?” (“What Is the Great Tribulation?”) on September 29 received a record 84 responses. They make a dynamic duo, supported by their back-up in the studio and in production.—Gerald Weston
2019 Charlotte Family Weekend—Must Read Where Applicable
We are again looking forward to hosting the annual Charlotte Family weekend, to be held December 25–29 at the Renaissance Charlotte Suites Hotel in Charlotte, North Carolina. The weekend will begin Wednesday, December 25, with arrivals and possible tours of the HQ office facilities. Thursday will involve family games, volleyball and basketball tournaments, as well as other fun and fellowship. Friday will include morning seminars, an afternoon activity, and an evening Bible Study to begin the Sabbath. Saturday will include Sabbath services and an evening dinner dance. Departure will be on Sunday, December 29. More details, including reservation information, costs, and other weekend details, will be coming very soon. Please mark your calendars and make plans to join us for this exciting and memorable weekend!
As the students in our Living Education–Charlotte program returned from the Feast, we continue with our schedule of classes and activities for their nine-month intensive study program. With midterm behind them, they are approaching the halfway point. In addition to building a knowledge and understanding of the Bible, they are involved in a variety of other activities. This week, for example, they’ll volunteer one evening of their time to help at Charlotte’s “Second Harvest” food bank, along with other members from the Charlotte congregation. We’ll open the application process for the 2020-21 school year within the next few weeks. If you or someone you know would be interested in attending the program, be on the lookout for more information.—Jonathan McNair
Feast of Tabernacles
A Big Thank You!
From reports of our Festival Site Coordinators, there was a high degree of cooperation and service all over the world at this year’s Feast of Tabernacles. We want to thank everyone who contributed in big ways or small ways, to make the Feast inspiring and meaningful to all of us! From singing in the choir, to assisting brethren with parking, to working on stage directions, or volunteering at the Business office, scores of needed roles were filled by cheerful volunteers. We also hear of brethren helping out others financially or in other ways, to fill needs as they come up. As someone once said, “Many hands make light work!,” and at no other time is this more true than at the Feast. To you all, we give our hearty thanks!
Fill Out Your Festival Survey
If you have not already handed in a paper survey, or filled it out online, please fill out the online Festival Survey as soon as possible. Every entry is read, and your comments are valued! You can access the Feast Survey at fotsurvey.lcg.org. You can also find the survey on your MyLCG page.
Living Youth Program
Online Teen Bible Studies
The Friday evening online Teen Bible Studies are scheduled to resume on November 15. The Bible Study will pick up where we left off in the spring, with Mark 7, and will be given by Mr. Sheldon Monson. Join us at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
To join the study, visit https://live.livingyouth.org, and sign in with either your MyLCG or LYP Camp registration credentials. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected]. For those who are unable to make it to the study, or if you want to catch up on earlier studies, recordings of Living Youth Bible Studies back to 2013 can be found on the Living Youth Programs Live archive page at https://live.livingyouth.org/archive/.—Josh Penman
It’s a Matter of Heart: The Bible reveals that God looks on the heart (1 Samuel 16:7) and that David was chosen to be king because God saw that David was “a man after My own heart” (Acts 13:22). But what exactly did God see in David’s heart? God saw that David was a person “who will do all My will” (Acts 13:22). God saw that David was teachable and that he “loved” God’s law and meditated on it daily so he could learn God’s mind and gain God’s perspective (Psalm 119:97, 105). David did not argue with the Scriptures or look for ways to get around instructions that God clearly revealed in His word (Psalm 119:16, 18, 27). David praised God with his whole heart (Psalm 119:1–2), and he repented wholeheartedly when he realized that he was wrong (Psalm 51). This is why David will reign as king over the children of Israel in the Kingdom of God (Ezekiel 34:23). If our thoughts, words, and actions reflect what God is looking for, we will be given the opportunity to reign with Jesus Christ and with David in the coming Kingdom (Matthew 19:28–29; Revelation 5:10). The Bible reveals that our reward will be based on what is in our heart!
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—October 31, 2019
Threat of War Looms over Europe: With the United States signaling it will not be around to provide military support for Europe, and Russia increasing its military presence on Europe’s borders, many European nations are taking greater action to rearm (The Guardian, September 30, 2019). “Sweden’s navy HQ is returning to a vast underground cold war fortress designed to withstand a nuclear attack, in what has been seen as a defensive move against a resurgent Russia.” The massive underground fortress, which has been closed for 25 years, contains large docks, a hospital, and miles of tunnels. The Swedish government fears that Russia might use some of its advanced weaponry against them and sees this underground fortress as the only location safe enough to withstand such an attack. “Sweden’s army and airforce commands are also moving out of the capital and into more fortified locations, spreading their headquarters geographically to make them less vulnerable to attack.”
Meanwhile, Josep Borrell Fontelles, the European Union’s “Commissioner-designate for a Stronger Europe in the World” and incoming foreign policy chief, publicly shared his personal concern that if the EU does not “speak with one voice” and “develop a military capacity to act,” it may soon be seen as irrelevant on the world stage (Reuters, October 7, 2019). Several EU nations have already begun increasing their military spending, and the EU has created a central command.
World events are speeding up, and nations appear to be arming to the teeth. Old rivalries are heating up again, and the threat of war appears to be growing. Bible prophecy indicates this will occur at the end of the age, and that “wars and rumors of wars” will precede the return of Jesus Christ (Matthew 24:5–7). Those following Christ’s advice should be watching world events so they are not caught by surprise as Bible prophecies come alive in the news. For more information about end-time events to watch for, be sure to read or listen to Fourteen Signs Announcing Christ’s Return.
Australian Countdown to “Day Zero”: Towns in northern New South Wales and southern Queensland are in the midst of one of Australia’s most devastating droughts (Reuters, September 27, 2019). Many towns are now counting down to “day zero”—the day each town will completely run out of water. For most, this terminal date will fall in mid- to late-2020.
Many towns are trucking in water, and several are digging deep wells, searching for underground water sources. Many farmers are feeling the pressure of the drought. The biggest dam in Sydney, Warrangamba, “has dropped to 50%, after almost being at capacity less than three years ago.” Australia’s central bank estimates the drought will soon begin affecting the nation’s economic growth.
Severe drought understandably generates fear and worry. Bible prophecies have long warned that Israelite nations, including Australia, would experience severe droughts at the end of the age because they have turned against God and rejected His ways: “your heavens which are over your head shall be bronze, and the earth which is under you shall be iron. The Lord will change the rain of your land to powder and dust; from the heaven it shall come down on you until you are destroyed” (Deuteronomy 28:23–24). The drought in eastern Australia should stir us to consider the difficult times prophesied to lie ahead for not only Australia, but all British-descended nations. However, the encouraging truth is that Christ is going to return, these nations will repent, and droughts will become a thing of the past. To learn more about this coming time of plenty, read or listen to The World Ahead: What Will It Be Like?—Scott Winnail, Bob Rodzaj, and Francine Prater