November 4th, 2021
Greetings from Charlotte,
We held an informative and exciting online ministerial conference on Wednesday, in which we answered questions coming from our ministers around the world. It is eye-opening to learn about the challenges other regions are facing. We covered subjects such as vaccines, masks, potlucks and refreshments following services, family weekends, Tomorrow’s World Presentations, and more. Dr. Winnail encouraged us to maintain our focus and stick with the mission given us. Mr. Ames updated us on the very encouraging progress of the Work. One point of interest is the viral nature of a new whiteboard posted to Tiktok, which garnered over five million views in less than a week! While I mentioned Mr. Michael DeSimone, who is the voice of these whiteboards, he was quick to remind me that these are a real team effort involving Jacob Hall, Josh Lyons, Ryan Dawson, and Jonathan Riley. Those who work behind the scenes in all our departments are absolutely essential, and without the positive support of all our members around the world we would not be able to accomplish what we do. Then we must never forget that it is Christ who opens the doors and God who gives the increase (Revelation 3:8; 1 Corinthians 3:7). As the Apostle Paul reminded us in 1 Corinthians 12:12–25, all parts of the body are necessary and work together in harmony.—Gerald Weston
Date Change for Merrill Winter Family Weekend
For those who are in the Wisconsin and Minnesota areas or are otherwise interested in going to the Merrill Winter Family Weekend, please note that the date for the weekend has been changed to February 25–27. If you are planning to go to the Merrill Winter Family Weekend, please contact Mr. Mark Sandor ([email protected]).
If you are interested in attending a Winter Family Weekend in your region, please contact your pastor. Below is a list of the planned Winter Family Weekends:
Family Weekends in the Planning Process for December 25–26:
- Charlotte, North Carolina (Mr. John Strain)
- Atlanta, Georgia – Currently on hold (Mr. Dan Hall)
- Ocala, Florida (Campout – Mr. Joe Brown)
- Montgomery, Alabama (Mr. Anthony Stroud)
- Big Sandy, Texas (Mr. Gary Stein)
- Kansas City, Missouri (Mr. Rand Millich)
Other Activities Being Planned for Different Dates:
- Delavan, Wisconsin (Young Adults Weekend, December 31–January 2 – Mr. Bob Rodzaj)
- Merrill, Wisconsin (Family Weekend, February 25-27 – Mr. Mark Sandor)
Viral Tiktok Video
Last Thursday we added a whiteboard video about the Mark of the Beast to our YouTube channel, and one of our members shared it on Tiktok. Within a day or so of that posting, the video had garnered over one million views, and as of today (October 4), the video has over 5.4 million views! The person who shared this video now has over 219,000 followers, up from a couple hundred or so a week ago.
This viral video has positively impacted our YouTube channel subscriptions and overall engagement and has even resulted in several requests to attend services. In answer to the question, “Where did you hear about the Living Church of God?,” those people specifically referenced the Tiktok video.
This is exciting news for the Work, and it shows that Christ is the One in control and is the One who will make things happen for us, as there were no plans, intentional efforts, or expectations of ours that prompted this.—Mike DeSimone
Are You a Team Player? Members of successful teams (families, churches, etc.) develop skills to function together to accomplish goals. As Christians, we must develop the same qualities. We need to be focused on the same goal—the Kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33) and doing the Work of God (Mark 16:15). Effective team players avoid offending others (Matthew 18:7), they forgive and overlook slights and insults (Proverbs 17:9), and do not accuse or criticize other members of the team (Matthew 7:1–5). Effective team players are peacemakers (Matthew 5:9); they treat others gently, respectfully, and patiently; and are willing to listen (James 3:17; 4:11). They do not promote themselves at the expense of others (Matthew 20:20–24), and they appreciate that team members have different talents (1 Corinthians 12:4–12). In short, good team players have learned to love their neighbors. Let’s strive to develop these vital qualities.
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—November 4, 2021
Another Coup in Sudan: Last week, the Sudanese military ousted civilian leaders and took over the nation’s government (BBC, October 25, 2021). The coup leader, General Abdel Fattah Burhan, claimed governmental infighting as his justification. Two years ago, the longtime ruler of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, was similarly overthrown, and the civilian government and military have been at odds ever since. Protests have erupted in cities around the country, and citizens appear confused and are calling for the reinstatement of a civil government.
General Burhan has been part of a power-sharing agreement between the civilian government and the military, intended to transition Sudan to a democracy. He claims to be working to support the nation’s plan to hold planned elections in 2023. However, a senior official from the prime minister’s office warns that the coup is very likely to incite another civil war. Sudan’s last civil war lasted 22 years, ended in 2005, and is blamed for the deaths of almost two million people.
As we approach the end of 2021, nations around the globe are still engaged in governmental coups, and threats of wars and civil wars abound. Mankind has spent thousands of years trying various forms of government based on different philosophies and religious ideologies that never seem to achieve the peace everyone desires. According to the Bible, human beings simply do not know “the way of peace” (Isaiah 59:8). However, there is a way that does lead to lasting peace between individuals and nations. For more insight into this important subject, be sure to read “The Way to Peace.”
Discord in the EU: The European Union, sometimes called the “European experiment,” continues to demonstrate that it is not a well-oiled machine. Recent decisions by Poland’s constitutional court, placing Polish law above EU law, have put pressure on the European Commission—the EU’s executive branch—to reprimand Poland in some significant manner (Euronews, October 21, 2021). However, to the consternation of the lawmakers in Parliament, the European Commission is resisting taking any actions that might press Poland out of the Union. Last week the European Parliament sued the European Commission “for failing to apply a new law that allows the freezing of EU payments to countries which do not respect rule-of-law principles” (Reuters, October 29, 2021).
In another disagreement, EU leaders “struggled to agree a common response to soaring energy prices” (Reuters, October 21, 2021). Some European nations want to pool their gas-buying efforts, while other nations want to avoid changing EU regulations over what they perceive to be a short-term crisis. The energy hikes have also re-opened the debate on climate change. Some European nations are asking the EU to delay implementation of certain climate change initiatives that would cause further financial strain during the current energy crisis. Many do not see the futuristic climate goals as practical under the pressures of the crisis (Euractive, October 19, 2021).
Bible prophecy describes the relationship between the nations of an end-time European “beast” power as a mixture of iron and clay—where the parties involved “will not adhere to one another” (Daniel 2:41–43). As we watch events in Europe, we should expect to see even more turbulence among the current 27 nations of the EU. For more details on the present and future of Europe, be sure to read “The EU After BREXIT: Better Without the Euro?”—Scott Winnail, Francine Prater, and Chris Sookdeo