Weekly Update

March 25th, 2021

Greetings from Charlotte,

Passover and Unleavened Bread are finally here, and we pray all goes well for all of you during this important time of year. Mrs. Richard Ames is recovering from her auto accident and should be coming home Friday (March 26) from the rehab center. See the notes below from Mr. and Mrs. Ames and also one from Mr. Rand Millich on his health situation. Here in Charlotte, we are having a bumper crop of babies. Already two have been born this year and I have been told there are another 11 on the way! This follows a bumper year of weddings in 2020. There will be a lot of rejoicing this year. We took over the Wakefields’ home last Monday to record a stand-alone television commercial to advertise the Tomorrow’s World magazine. This was an educational experience, as we used an outside company to do the taping and brought in members who had never been on screen before. As I have mentioned a time or two already, this past year gave a golden opportunity to learn about ourselves and how we reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic, with all its conspiracy theories, politics, fear, anger, sickness, loss of family members, etc.  Let us learn important lessons about ourselves as we keep the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread, remembering that we must recognize, reject, and come out of this Satan-manipulated society.

Mr. Rand Millich wrote the following this week regarding some health issues:  “I just received a call with the test results. I’ve been diagnosed as having heart failure. I have an appointment with a doctor Friday morning to see what she recommends. The Passover is very encouraging in a special way this year for the family and me. God is well able to intervene according to His will and purpose. I’m looking forward to getting out from the office and back to working more fully with the brethren. In the meantime, Mr.  Bobby Jacques and the other elders are doing a great job.”

From Mr. Richard Ames:  Dear Brethren, Thank you for the many cards, letters, and emails from congregations and individuals encouraging Kathryn and me. We’re sorry we cannot answer all of them, but please accept our deepest thanks and appreciation for your loving concern. Kathryn also wants to thank you personally. Warm regards, Richard Ames

From Mrs. Ames:  Dear Brethren, I would like to express my deep appreciation for your love and concern for me after being injured in the auto accident. Your prayers and many cards are truly inspiring and mean so much. I believe our God has heard your prayers and has intervened to lessen the pain and is healing me. I will soon be home for Passover. Thank you each and every one for your love and your prayers. Sincerely in Christian love, Kathryn Ames

Please be praying for everyone in these and other situations.—Gerald Weston

Church Administration

Livestream of First Day of Unleavened Bread Services

All congregations are invited to tune in to the livestreamed First Holy Day of Unleavened Bread service on Sunday, March 28. There will be an offertory message and sermon broadcast from HQ (offering will be taken up). Services will begin at 1:00 p.m., EDT, USA. For congregations where the time difference makes this impractical, or for those needing Spanish or French translation, a recorded and/or translated version will be available at a later time. Log in to your MyLCG account for information about how to access the stream.

Passover

The Passover is a commanded assembly for all baptized members of God’s Church. The Passover service this year will be observed on the evening of Friday, March 26, soon after sunset. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, where we are able to have in-person Passover services, we will be taking additional precautions to protect the health of all who attend this service. Contact your pastor if you have any questions about the protocols that will be followed this year for Passover. (Pastors, please see the Church Administration email of January 26, 2021.)

Note: A copy of the instruction letter “Passover Preparations for One Person or a Household” is available on the MyLCG website.

Night to Be Much Observed

The Night to Be Much Observed is a long-standing Scriptural practice of the Church (see Exodus 12:42). As many did last year, it is fine for brethren to keep the Night to Be Much Observed at home with members of their own household or, if mutually agreed upon, with a small group of other brethren. If state, local, and venue regulations do not prohibit group meetings, your pastor may approve a larger group meeting for the Night to Be Much Observed dinner. Contact your pastor if you have any questions. Please note that extra care must be taken in such circumstances. Anyone who is not well should not participate, but rather self-quarantine. (Pastors, please see the Church Administration email of January 26, 2021.) Note: There is no biblical command about exactly when to start dinner that evening. However, it is the “Night” to be observed, so unless there are unusual circumstances, the meal should begin and take place after sundown.

Note: A “Night to Be Much Observed” Video Message is available on the MyLCG website. This recorded message explains the meaning of the Night to Be Much Observed. This video should be viewed by those observing the Night to Be Much Observed. The recording may be played before sundown that evening, March 27. 

Tomorrow’s World Presentations in Tauranga, New Zealand and Atlanta, Georgia

Whenever possible, we try to have multiple follow-up Tomorrow’s World presentations after the initial event in a city. This gives subscribers who miss the first presentation the chance to attend or view the following ones. In addition, it gives us the opportunity to work with repeat attendees who come back for more than one presentation, with the goal that some of these eventually come to church. In recent weeks, we’ve been encouraged to see a good number of attendees at follow-up presentations:

Tauranga, New Zealand

  • February 21: “What’s Ahead for New Zealand?” (Mr. P. Kearns): 24 guests
  • February 28: “Your Eternal Future” (Mr. P. Kearns): 11 guests (all repeat)
  • March 14: “Can you find God’s True Church Today?” (Mr. P. Kearns): 11 guests (3 first-time, 8 repeat)

Atlanta, Georgia

  • March 5: “The Signs of Christ’s Return” (Mr. J. McNair): 31 guests
  • March 6: “Where Is the Church Christ Built?” (Mr. D. Hall): 22 guests (15 new, 7 repeat)
  • March 12: “God’s Purpose for Mankind” (Mr. D. Hall): 13 guests (7 new, 6 repeat)
  • March 19: “Are the Ten Commandments Done Away?” (Mr. D. Hall): 16 guests (7 new, 9 repeat)

Next upcoming presentations:

  • April 9 – Atlanta, Georgia (follow-up online TWP).
  • April 11 –St. Louis, Columbia, and Rolla, Missouri, and Springfield, Illinois (online TWP to all four areas simultaneously).

Finance

Upcoming Holy Day Offerings: U.S. Churches Only—Repeat Announcement

As we prepare for the upcoming Holy Days, we want to let the brethren know how we will be handling Holy Day offerings. For those who will not be able to attend services in person, we are encouraging online donations, if possible, just as we did for the fall Holy Days. This cuts down on the time and work involved in processing checks sent by mail. Congregations that hold in-person services on the Holy Days will have an offertory message and will collect an offering, as we have normally done. If you attend in person and choose to donate online, simply write “online” on your offering envelope collected at services.—Finance Department

Comments

Adjusting Your Focus: Prior to the Passover and during the Days of Unleavened Bread is a good time to evaluate how we spend our time and where we focus our energies and concerns. Jesus admonished us to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). Are your thoughts focused on this big picture—of doing the Work and building the character necessary to function in the Family of God? The Apostle Paul advised Christians to “walk circumspectly” (live purposely) and to make the most of our time and opportunities “because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15–16). Paul also instructed Christians to treat each other with respect and to avoid interpersonal bickering and arguments over doctrinal issues that shift our focus away from the big picture (Romans 12:9–12; 14:20; 1 Corinthians 1:10). Jesus warned that “the cares of this world” can choke the Truth and cause us to be unfruitful (Matthew 13:22). In light of these Scriptures, we need to periodically evaluate how we use our time, what we watch on TV, what we read, how much time we spend on the Internet, and what we post on social media. If we really want to focus our minds on what is true, noble, just, and pure (Philippians 4:8), let’s use the Holy Days to focus on the big picture.

Have a profitable Sabbath and Holy Day season,
Douglas S. Winnail

News and Prophecy—March 25, 2021

Canadian Bill Could Criminalize Therapy: Canadian Bill C-6 is now before the House of Commons. This broadly written bill would criminalize any attempts at “conversion therapy” aimed at helping men and women continue to present or return to presenting as their biological gender. If passed, the bill would also make it a crime for anyone—including churches, ministers, and Christian counselors—to encourage anyone under age 18 to value their God-given gender and reject the pressures of sex and gender confusion that our secular society is pushing at them.

The proposed bill would target not only those providing the counseling, but also those supporting the counseling. Conviction could result in a five-year jail term for anyone providing such counseling unless it is sought directly by a consenting adult. The bill’s vague definition of “conversion therapy” is so broad that it lumps legitimate religious and psychological counseling in with long-discredited ideas, claiming without basis that any attempt to help an individual overcome gender confusion or manage unwanted sexual desires is dangerous.

The rationale behind this bill stems from the assumption that there is no biological or moral basis for sex and gender. This kind of reasoning rejects objective biological reality and the idea that God exists and that He made males and females to be different and to fulfill different roles in marriage and family. The authors of the bill are unaware that their ideas come from the “god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4) who works to deceive the world into believing lies (Revelation 12:9; John 8:44). Satan knows that when we depart from God’s laws and way of life, we become confused and troubled. Isaiah prophesied about end-of-the-age Israelite nations: “The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faints” (Isaiah 1:5). Isaiah also warned that in the last days traditional values will be turned upside down—evil will be called good and good will be called evil (Isaiah 5:20). The proposed Canadian legislation is only one example of the promotion of perversions in our once nominally “Christian” societies. How should anyone holding biblical values view what is happening today? Read “Sighing Because of the News” and find out!

 

Coming Conflict in Europe: Governments around the globe are creating legislation to “protect” LGBTQ+ individuals. Ironically, they are doing so while denying the rights of those with biblical values. Recently, the European parliament passed a resolution overwhelmingly in favor of declaring the 27 member nations of the European Union an LGBT “freedom zone” (Associated Press, March 10, 2021). This legislation is partly a reaction to Poland’s “Charters of Family Rights,” which are aimed at protecting the traditional family. Scotland also passed a bill making it a crime to “[stir] up hatred” against societal minorities (Catholic Herald, March 12, 2021). Opponents of the legislation say the wording is far too broad and could easily be misused to restrict free speech.

However, the Roman Catholic Church recently issued a statement in apparent opposition to this legislation. To clarify the church’s stance on civil unions, the office of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith noted that the Vatican “does not have the power to bless same-sex unions. Such blessings, therefore cannot ‘be considered licit [i.e., permissible or legitimate]’” (Vatican News, March 15, 2021). The declaration also emphasized that any sexual relationships outside of that between a man and a woman married to each other “do not respond to the ‘designs of God.’”

Where will this apparent clash of ideologies lead if the Vatican openly opposes same-sex unions and European nations make this position a crime? The Bible reveals that, at the end of the age, a group of ten “kings” (perhaps nations) will give their power over to a “beast” (see Revelation 17). While this elite group will be spiritually led by the Roman Catholic Church, prophecy also describes the “iron and clay” nature of these nations that struggle to be unified and foretells an eventual falling out between government and religious leaders (Revelation 17:16). To learn more about this important topic, be sure to read or listen to The Beast of Revelation: Myth, Metaphor or Soon-Coming Reality?—Scott Winnail, Stuart Wachowicz, Wyatt Ciesielka, Lenny Bower, and Francine Prater