May 27th, 2021
Greetings from Charlotte,
I must begin these opening comments with a very sad announcement from Mr. Jonathan McNair. “I wanted to express our deepest appreciation for all the love and concern that has been shown toward my wife and our family as my wife has spent the last year battling cancer. Early this morning, Thursday, May 27, she finished her fight and we now look forward to the resurrection and a time when physical pain and suffering will be a thing of the past. We will be having a memorial service for her this Sunday.” Words cannot express the sorrow many of us feel for the McNair family. Christy’s race has been run and a great race it was! We look forward to seeing her in the Kingdom.
Some have asked about how Messrs. Rand Millich and Gary Ehman are doing. Mr. Millich had several procedures involving his heart and is now feeling much better and regaining his strength. Mr. Gary Ehman, who is suffering from cancer, is on pain management medicine, but is still working from home.
In other news, I thought it would be good to update all of you on four recent ministerial hires and moves within the field ministry. Mr. Brandon Fall has moved to pastor congregations in Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho, Utah, and Montana, following the death of Mr. Ben Whitfield. Replacing Mr. Fall in Oregon and Washington is Mr. Jonathan Bueno. Mr. Chet Carpenter is a new hire who will replace Mr. Bueno and will be moving to Fresno, California. Mr. Donald Stevens was hired a few months ago and has now arrived in the south Texas region. Mr. Ryan Dawson finished his ministerial training and has moved to north Florida. Mr. Alex Celan is also a recent hire who has been in Charlotte for a few months and has now moved to the Walterboro, South Carolina, area to relieve Mr. Bill Whitaker who is retiring at the age of 89—a very spry 89, as anyone who knows him understands. Congratulations to these men and their wives on the beginning of their new responsibilities in the ministry.—Gerald Weston
Saratoga Family Weekend—July 23–25—Repeat Announcement
The Annual Saratoga, Wyoming, Family Weekend, begun by Mr. and Mrs. Ben Whitfield more than 20 years ago, has been enjoyed by brethren throughout the Rocky Mountain Region. This year we will continue this long-standing tradition, meeting along the banks of the North Platte River from July 23–25. Our special guest speaker this year will be the Western Regional Pastor, Dr. Jeffrey Fall. The weekend will be a wonderful opportunity to gather with family and friends. Plans include group meals, Bible Studies, Sabbath services, a workshop, and lots of enjoyable time fellowshipping together. For registration, please contact me at [email protected] or call 307-333-1502.
Brethren can stay on-site at the Riviera Lodge or camp nearby for a nominal fee at Saratoga Lake. You can make reservations at the Riviera Lodge by calling 307-326-5651. Just mention that you are with the Living Church of God.—Brandon Fall
Feast of Tabernacles
Service at the Feast
One of the best ways to ensure a meaningful and rewarding Feast is service. Whether it’s ushering, parking, helping with flowers, or volunteering at the Information Table, service is a great way to meet people and experience the camaraderie of being part of a giving and sharing team.
If you haven’t yet signed up to volunteer at the Feast, don’t worry—it’s not too late! Simply log in to the Festival registration system and click on the link “Volunteer to Serve.”
If you are still undecided on which Feast site to attend, consider one of the following. Listed below are Feast sites which still have unmet needs in the specified areas, and Feast sites with room for additional transfers.
USA Feast Sites with Service Needs
- San Diego, California (Piano, Special Music)
- New Bern, North Carolina (Ushering)
- Pigeon Forge, Tennessee (Piano, Special Music)
USA Feast sites with extra capacity:
- Boerne, Texas
- Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
- Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri
- Midway, Utah
- Mount Snow, Vermont
- Natchez, Mississippi
- New Bern, North Carolina
- Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
- San Diego, California
- Sandusky, Ohio
- Williamsburg, Virginia
Living Youth Program
Adventure Camp Registration Closed and Teen Camp Registration Soon to Close
Thank you to everyone who applied for Adventure Camp this year! There has been a great deal of interest, and more people have applied than can be accepted, so registration has been closed.
Registrations for Teen Camp will close next Tuesday, on June 1, though any applications begun by then but not finished will have until June 8 to be completed. For more information or to register, please visit https://camp.livingyouth.org.—Joshua Penman
The Hope of Christians: Many today have been led to believe that this life is all there is—when you die, your body decays and all is forgotten. However, this misinformed idea ignores a remarkable truth—the message of the Gospel about the Kingdom of God gives us the hope of eternal life. Jesus plainly taught, “whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). The Apostle Paul referred to this “hope of eternal life” as a “blessed hope” of glory that believers will receive at the return of Jesus Christ (Titus 1:2; 2:13; Romans 5:2). The hope and reward of Christians is to be among the “firstfruits” of God’s plan, as “sons and daughters” of God and “joint heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:14–25; 1 Corinthians 15:51–54; 2 Corinthians 6:18). The Apostle Peter referred to sharing God’s divine nature and reigning with Jesus in the Kingdom of God as “exceedingly great and precious promises” (2 Peter 1:2–4). While many today have no real hope, let’s stay focused on the glorious hope that God has given to those He has called and never let it slip away (Hebrews 2:1–3).
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—May 27, 2021
Will China Defeat America? Earlier this month, Japan, Australia, France, and the United States held joint military exercises on Japanese soil (Newsweek, May 13, 2021). These exercises involved nations concerned about China’s naval activities in the region and have understandably been seen in a negative light by China. Shortly after the exercises began, the editor-in-chief of China’s Global Times newspaper asserted in his editorial that the United States “will be defeated” if it enters into combat with China in its adjacent waters. While the editor does not speak for the Chinese government, his paper is a well-known tool of the nation’s Communist Party.
The editorial called for China to make it very clear that if America and its allies start a war with China, they will be “overwhelmed,” even if it requires the use of China’s nuclear arsenal. The editor also called for further growth of the nation’s military, economy, and technology as a deterrent to any U.S. actions. The Global Times is widely read and can sway the views of many.
While Chinese sources bristle with strong rhetoric, joint military exercises aimed at preparing for future conflict with China clearly stir up feelings of distrust and confrontation. All this saber-rattling certainly echoes Jesus’ warnings about the end of the age: “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet” (Matthew 24:6). The “rumors of wars” emanating from the South China Sea are currently just that—rumors. Words and threats are not actions, yet they often incite or motivate action. Will China and the U.S. come to military blows? Will Japan, France, and Australia be drawn in, too? What “signs” on the world stage should we watch for that indicate the end of the age is approaching? For more answers, be sure to read our insightful booklet Fourteen Signs Announcing Christ’s Return.
The Benefits of Eating Together: Many parents know that family meals play an important role in producing healthier children. Numerous studies show that “kids who eat with their families do better in school and have bigger vocabularies. They also have lower rates of depression, anxiety and eating disorders, as well as healthier diets and better cardiovascular health” (The Conversation, April 30, 2021). Recent research reveals that eating together, with children or others, also benefits adults. Adults who eat with others—as opposed to eating alone—tend to eat more fruits and vegetables and less fast food, they eat more slowly (reducing the risk of overeating), and they eat smaller amounts of food. Adults and children who eat alone while watching TV have an increased risk for obesity.
In addition, parents who regularly eat with their children “reported higher levels of family functioning, greater self-esteem and lower levels of depressive symptoms and stress.” Another study of parents with infants and toddlers found that “couples who attached more meaning and importance to family meals were more satisfied with their marital relationship.”
Jesus ate with His disciples on numerous occasions (Mark 14:17–18; John 21:10–12). The Bible instructs parents to teach their children “when you sit in your house” (Deuteronomy 6:7) and notes that the first Christians took advantage of opportunities to get together and enjoy meals with each other (Acts 2:42, 46). Eating meals together is a wonderful and beneficial way to follow their example—especially during this time of social isolation due to the pandemic. As we consider ways to improve our family relations, our marriages, and our personal and mental health, eating meals together is a very important key. To learn more about ways to be healthy, be sure to read Biblical Principles of Health.—Scott Winnail and Francine Prater