August 3rd, 2023
Greetings from Charlotte,
Mr. Ames returned home from Florida this week after two Tomorrow’s World presentations that reached about 60 guests. He is scheduled to give another one this week in Fort Mill, South Carolina. I recorded a telecast on Wednesday on a subject we have never touched on before on a telecast—tithing. While we follow Jesus’ instruction “freely you have received, freely give” in Matthew 10:8, we are to teach “the whole counsel of God” as did Paul with the Ephesians (Acts 20:20, 27). Notice also in verse 20 that he mentions “publicly” as well as more privately. One of the Ten Commandments is “You shall not steal.” If we are to teach that it is wrong to steal from our neighbor, are we to leave out a more serious sin of stealing from the Creator of the universe who gives us everything we have? Not hardly. I tried to have a balance between assuring that all our resources are given free of charge and teaching the whole counsel of God, including the command against theft. It will be interesting to see the response.—Gerald Weston
97 New Church Attendees from Tomorrow’s World Presentations
Last weekend we held five Tomorrow’s World presentations, with 101 guests attending. This week, we will have new presentations in Athens and Knoxville, Tennessee; and Fort Mill, South Carolina. So far this year, 97 individuals are attending Church services with the Living Church of God due to the TWP campaigns. Thank you for your prayers and support for this particular effort of the Work.
News from Manipur, India
Please keep our brethren in India’s northeastern state of Manipur in your prayers. In the last several months, ethnic clashes have erupted between the largely Hindu majority that lives in the Imphal Valley and the mainly Christian tribes from the surrounding hills. Mr. Rajan Moses pastors these areas and reports that all the members are safe, but violence has made Internet connection unavailable, though brethren have been able to connect over the phone for Sabbath services. Manipur is under a curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. but brethren are able to travel and go to the market. Mr. Moses and Mr. Rob Tyler were not able to visit the brethren for Pentecost because of the curfew but are hoping to visit Imphal next year in January.
We are now making final preparations for our new 2023–24 school year. On Monday, August 7, we’ll begin orientation for the five students who will be in our Second Year/Student Leader program. These five students will take additional classes, continue working in headquarters departments, and serve as leaders in various capacities. The objective of this program is for these students to use the experience they gained over the past year to encourage and lead our incoming students. Three students served in the second-year program in 2022–23 and they contributed greatly to an increased sense of continuity with our program, helping to reinforce the values and principles that were being taught in the classroom. On August 11, we’ll begin in earnest as our new group of first-year students arrive in Charlotte!—Jonathan McNair
Feast of Tabernacles
Sermons for Those Unable to Attend the Feast in Person
Attention Pastors: Because some members, for legitimate reasons, are unable to attend the Feast of Tabernacles in person, the Church provides access to Feast sermons by various means.
Many Feast sites will offer livestream or telephone connections to those assigned to the site. This is the preferred option. Though not a substitute for being present at the site, these connections give access to complete, live Feast services, including prayers and hymns.
Pre-recorded Feast sermons will also be available for brethren who are unable to attend in person and for whom the livestream or telephone connections are not feasible. The pre-recorded sermons will be published online (one per day) throughout the Feast:
- English-language Feast sermons will be posted at https://members.lcg.org
- French-language Feast sermons will be posted at www.eglisedieuvivant.org
Additionally, links to the pre-recorded Festival sermons will be emailed to the pastors ahead of the Feast. You can forward that email to the members in your areas who are not attending the Feast in person, before the Feast starts.
We request that as many as are able access the Feast sermons by livestream or telephone from their assigned site or view the pre-recorded sermons online. However, if there are brethren in your areas who cannot take advantage of these options, and need to receive physical sermon CDs through the mail, please send us their names and addresses before the following deadlines:
- All international requests for pre-recorded Festival sermon CDs are due by August 14, in order for the sermons to arrive before the Feast.
- August 31 is the deadline for recipients in the U.S.
Living Youth Program
Teen Camp in Belgium
The European LYP Teen Camp is underway this week in Chevetogne, Belgium, with 21 campers and 19 staff members. We have origins in 22 different countries and speak a total of 16 different languages. This is the first European camp since COVID, so campers and staff are excited to be here. The camp is bilingual, with French and English translation for all activities. Despite chilly weather and some rain, the challenging activities have still been lots of fun for all involved. The camp theme is “God’s Way Works.” Christian Living classes are delving deeply into how to practice God’s way of life every day, as well as focusing on the importance of drawing closer to God. Campers are repeatedly encouraged to choose to come out of the world and live God’s way of life, and to make the most of the opportunities He provides. God has blessed us with the weather we need for outdoor activities and held off the rain (mostly) until we are indoors. We are all grateful for the opportunity to share this week in the beauty of God’s creation, building stronger relationships with each other, and having fun learning and practicing how God’s way really works.—Scott and Dinah Winnail
Are You a Team Player? Members of successful organizations (teams, families, churches, etc.) develop skills and perspectives to function smoothly together. As Christians, we must develop these same qualities—and many are biblical. As Christians, we must focus on the same goal—the Kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33) and strive to do the Work of God together (Mark 16:15). We must avoid saying or doing things that offend others (Matthew 18:7; 1 Corinthians 10:32). We forgive and overlook slights and insults because we have learned to not be easily offended (Proverbs 10:12; 17:9; 1 Corinthians 13:5). We don’t sit in judgment of others. Instead, we focus on getting our own lives in order (Matthew 7:1–5; James 4:11). Team players are peacemakers (Matthew 5:9), they treat others as they would like to be treated (Matthew 7:12), and they are willing to listen (James 1:19). Effective team members appreciate that a team is made up of individuals with different talents and abilities. In short, good team players have learned to love their neighbors. Let’s all strive to develop these vital qualities.
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—August 3, 2023
European Nations Request German Military Presence: The war in Ukraine is shaking up politics and military planning throughout Europe—and it is worrying nations on Russia’s periphery. In late June, Germany announced it would send 4,000 troops to Lithuania (Politico, July 4, 2023). Not long afterwards, the Romanian prime minister “urged German Chancellor Olaf Scholz… to further boost NATO’s eastern flank by sending over German troops to his country ‘soon’ and ‘permanently.’” The urgency in the prime minister’s request was clearly evident, as the sounds of war echo near the border his country shares with Ukraine.
Less than a century ago, it was the sound of German artillery that echoed across Europe. Now, many of the same nations who once feared Germany are turning to their more prosperous and powerful neighbor for military protection. However, this should be no surprise. Bible prophecy indicates that a German-led European “beast” power will lead Europe again in the not-too-distant future. This powerful military and economic force will lead a group of “ten kings” or leaders of nations that are willing to submit to Germany’s power over them (Revelation 17:12–13). If more nations request the presence of the German military on their own soil, students of Bible prophecy should take note. To learn more about Europe’s surprising and sobering future, be sure to read or listen to our free booklet Germany in Prophecy.
Japan’s Radioactive Fish: It has been over a decade since the meltdown of Japan’s Fukushima nuclear reactor. Since then, water used to cool the hot nuclear reactor has been stored in massive storage ponds. Now, The Guardian reports that Japan is preparing to release over 1.3 million tonnes of radioactive water into the environment—a plan already approved by the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (July 23, 2023). However, some fish found near the Fukushima plant contain levels of radioactivity that are exponentially higher than those approved by the government.
As a reaction, Japanese seafood from the region is facing boycotts. About a month ago, “China began blanket radioactivity testing of Japanese seafood imports… leading some wholesalers to cease handling such produce from Japan.” A fish with high radioactive concentrations was found as far away as 50 kilometers from the plant. South Korea and some other Pacific island nations are also concerned by Japan’s pending release of contaminated waters. No one knows exactly how these waters will impact the ocean environment
As mankind develops more innovative sources of energy, those sources often carry with them great destructive potential. On our own, we simply lack the wisdom and insight of our Creator! It is only under the wise guidance and loving reign of Christ that technologies will finally be developed that are truly safe and clean. To learn more about the society that will be built under the returning Jesus Christ, be sure to read or listen to our visionary study guide entitled The World Ahead: What Will It Be Like?—Scott Winnail and Francine Prater