Greetings from Charlotte,
We have good news to report from the United States Supreme Court. In a unanimous decision, the Court ruled in favor of Gerald Groff in his case against the U.S. Postal Service after Mr. Groff lost his job for observing his weekly day of worship. While the day of rest for Mr. Groff is Sunday, this will also help those who observe the true Sabbath of God and the biblical Holy Days. This case, in effect, invalidates a 1977 Supreme Court decision that ruled against a WCG member in his dispute with Trans World Airways. The unanimous decision handed down this week is a powerful statement regarding freedom of religion in the U.S. The Teen Adventure Camp in the spectacular Olympic National Park in Washington State should be over by the time you receive this, and we are looking forward to hearing adventure stories from campers and staff. Many faculty and staff will be leaving this coming week for Texas and the Teen Camp there. Please remember everyone in travel plans as there are major disruptions due to turning on 5G networks near airports. France is going through another round of riots—it may be a long hot summer once again in Europe.—Gerald Weston
New Attendees from Tomorrow’s World Presentations
You may be interested to know how many new brethren are attending as a result of TWPs this year. From the data we have, about 74 individuals have begun attending services in 2023, in the United States and abroad, as a result of these presentations. This figure does not include those who contact the Church directly, apart from TWPs, to ask about attending services. We are grateful to see our new brethren and pray God will give more people the opportunity to come into direct contact with God’s Church as the year progresses!
Note About Advertisements on Our YouTube Channels
You may have noticed advertisements on some of our YouTube videos over the last couple of years. This is because of YouTube’s policy changes, where they began systematically placing ads on videos created by channels that are not under their “non-profit” status. Regrettably, they only allow one “non-profit” status channel per non-profit organization. This forced us to choose which one of our many YouTube channels we could make “ad-free,” and we chose the Tomorrow’s World channel since it is the one seen most by people not in the Church. This means YouTube will run advertisements on all our other channels, including Living Church of God, El Mundo de Mañana, Le Monde de Demain, and others, and, regrettably, YouTube completely controls what is advertised.
Still, there may be a silver lining. YouTube would normally keep 100 percent of its forced advertising income for itself. However, we can at least require YouTube to pay us a small portion of the revenue they generate—similar to how we receive a royalty from stations who use our programs in time slots we did not request. So, any advertising you see is being forced on our channels by YouTube without our approval, but hopefully God will use their profit-oriented mindset for His good, however modestly.
Living Youth Program
LYC Teen Camp Airport Transportation
If you will be flying into or out of Texas for Teen Camp, and have not yet submitted your transportation information, please do so as soon as possible. We need this information right away! Just log in to your camp application at https://camp.livingyouth.org to submit the information.
The Need for Wisdom: Solomon wrote that gaining wisdom is one of the most important goals in life (Proverbs 4:7), and he wrote the book to help others gain wisdom (Proverbs 1:1–6). Solomon also reveals that the key to gaining wisdom is developing a proper fear of God and having a sincere desire to follow God’s instructions (Proverbs 1:7; 9:10). Wisdom helps us discern between right and wrong, and it leads to happiness and long life (Proverbs 2:10–11; 3:13–16). As Jesus grew up, He “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52) because He obviously followed the advice in Proverbs 2:1–6 to seek after wisdom and follow the Commandments of God. The Apostle James urges us to ask God for wisdom (James 1:5), and the Apostle Paul admonishes us to study the Scriptures “which are able to make you wise” (2 Timothy 3:14–17). Do a word study of “wise” and “wisdom” to gain a better understanding of this vital subject. As you grow in wisdom, you will be developing one of the attributes of God and Jesus Christ (Job 9:4; Romans 16:27).
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—June 29, 2023
No Place to Call Home: According to a new report from the United Nations refugee agency, “Last year saw a record spike in people forcibly uprooted from their homes” (Deutsche Welle, June 14, 2023). In 2022, the number of displaced people around the globe rose by nearly twenty million—with many connected to the war in Ukraine and the conflict in Sudan. Tragically, poorer countries are bearing the burden of housing the refugees.
One encouraging item in the report is that in 2022, nearly six million displaced persons were able to return to their homes—primarily in Syria, Ethiopia, and Myanmar. However, more than one hundred million people were displaced.
War, lust, and greed are major contributors to the forcible displacement of people from their homes. Yet, there is good news on the horizon. The Bible reveals that Jesus Christ is going to return to set up the Kingdom of God and put an end to war (Isaiah 2:4). Also, God will create a system where land remains in a family’s possession. Even if it is lost for a time, it will be returned to the family at the end of each fifty-year cycle. Home and land are important to human beings, and they are also very important to God. To learn more about this peaceful future, be sure to watch “The Way to Peace.”
Where Will Artificial Intelligence Lead? AI has been in use behind the scenes for years and has become so common that it is involved in everything from the online shopping recommendations we receive to whether we are approved for a loan. But where is AI headed? Could AI even take over religion? With the advent of widely accessible AI services, such as ChatGPT, whole new realms of possibility have been opened, potentially replacing tremendous amounts of human work. Now, some are routinely using AI to generate original images, write original essays, and even imitate the voices of others.
In an interview, popular and influential author Yuval Noah Harari has even suggested that an advanced, future AI could one day be used to author a new religious book to replace the Bible—allowing some to claim the book truly was generated by a superhuman intelligence: “Think about a religion whose holy book is written by an AI. That could be a reality in a few years” (YouTube, “Humanity Is Not That Simple,” June 6, 2023).
In a recent German Lutheran worship service in Bavaria, around 300 congregants listened to a sermon, prayers, and music generated almost entirely by AI—with words written by ChatGPT and images and voices generated by other AI software (Associated Press, June 10, 2023). A 29-year-old University of Vienna theologian and philosopher, Jonas Simmerlein, who used AI to create the church service, claimed, “I conceived this service—but actually I rather accompanied it, because I would say about 98% comes from the machine.” Later, members of the congregation commented that the sermon was presented in a monotone manner and without emotion—but the technology is always improving.
How will true believers navigate the increasingly complex world of AI-informed religion that some believe is coming? People will need to know their Bibles to verify—or contradict—what the AI source is saying (1 Thessalonians 5:21; Isaiah 8:20). They will also need to be guided by God’s Holy Spirit. As the Apostle Paul noted, “For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:11). AI searches vast databases and compiles its results from those databases. However, the Truth of the Bible cannot be easily compiled from databases, but rather requires godly discernment guided by God’s Spirit. As time moves forward, truth will become rare (Isaiah 59:14). People will need to draw nearer to God, dive deeper into their Bibles, and be led more fully by His Spirit in order to avoid being deceived. To learn more, read or listen to our insightful commentary “The Spirit of Pentecost.”—Scott Winnail, Francine Prater, and William Williams