August 24th, 2023
Greetings from Charlotte,
Dr. Wilner Pierre is in town this week and is recording 15-minute radio programs for possible use in French-speaking Caribbean Islands, in Africa, and possibly elsewhere. We have a wealth of timeless radio programs that were previously recorded by Mr. Dibar Apartian, so Dr. Pierre, with technical assistance from Jake Boyer, is able to record one every hour and may be able to produce them at a faster rate with practice and becoming more familiar with the process. Mr. Simon Muthama is in Uganda where he is visiting GOTOs, preaching, and finalizing matters regarding the Feast. Mr. Wallace Smith recorded a telecast this week, and I am finishing a rough draft of a new booklet that will address Law and Grace. (Please do not write for it as it will be sent to all members once it is printed.) We held a short online Council of Elders meeting on Thursday to discuss topics that need to be covered in next Thursday’s General Ministerial Conference, which will also be held online.—Gerald Weston
Tomorrow’s World Presentations
Last weekend was marked by six successful TWPs. Three initial and three follow-up TWPs drew a total of 69 guests. One notable TWP was given by Mr. Wachowicz in Cranbrook, British Columbia, Canada. Only 149 subscribers were invited to this presentation but ten guests attended—a 6.7 percent response rate! This is a testament that even in remote areas of the world, God is doing a Work. Thank you all for your continued support and prayers for the Tomorrow’s World Presentations.
Feast of Tabernacles
Feast Service Need—Pianists for Hymns at Rockport-Fulton, Texas
The Feast site in Rockport-Fulton, Texas, needs pianists to play hymns. If you are able to help fill this need and would be willing to transfer to Rockport-Fulton for the Feast, please contact the Festival Coordinator, Mr. Jonathan Bueno at [email protected].
Final Preparations for the Feast of Tabernacles
With only 36 days left before Opening Night, final preparations are being made for the Feast of Tabernacles 2023! Last Monday night, the Festival Office conducted an online meeting with Business Managers and their assistants, and next Monday night we’ll meet with those heading up Audio/Visual departments. Note to all brethren: Please pay special attention to checking your email for messages from your site coordinator. The email address associated with your MyLCG account will be the way he will communicate vital information to you all the way up to the Feast.
Activity Registration and Payments
Activity registration is live and Living Church of God attendees and guests are now able to sign up for Feast activities.
How to register: Simply go to fotreg.cogl.org, sign in, select “Register for activities,” and follow the prompts. Once you have signed up for activities, you can pay by selecting “Payments.” If paying by check, please read and follow carefully the instructions provided by your Festival Site Coordinator—and, of course, never send cash in the mail. Note payment deadlines for your specific site. The general deadline to pay by check is September 15. If you have questions, contact your Festival Site Coordinator.
Tithe of the Festival Tithe—Repeat Announcement
For many decades, the Church of God has practiced what is called the “tithe of the Festival tithe.” What this means is that brethren who can afford it are asked to send a tenth of their Festival tithe to the Church before the Feast, to help pay for meeting halls and other Feast expenses, as well as to help brethren around the world with limited resources to attend the Feast (Deuteronomy 14:27; 16:14). If you are able and you have not already done so, please send in your tithe of the Festival tithe for this year. This contribution is greatly appreciated.
Military Draft (U.S. Only)—Repeat Announcement
As violence spreads and the world grows more dangerous, members and adherents of the Living Church of God may be interested in establishing their conscientious objection to military service. The Church maintains an official registry of Conscientious Objectors (COs) and can also assist in having your name added to the national database of COs that is maintained by the Center on Conscience and War.
Young adults (both male and female) who would be draft-eligible as well as those who have previously served in the military and may be eligible for reactivation can take steps to establish this status. Please contact Legal Affairs at [email protected] or 704-844-1960, ext. 2229, for an information packet.
Anyone currently serving in the military who has become a conscientious objector and wants the Church’s help in the attempt to be discharged can also contact Legal Affairs as noted above.
Sobering Signs of the Times: The Bible contains numerous warnings to help alert Christians avoid terrible trials that are coming at the end of the age. In Genesis 18 and 19, God sent two angels to warn Lot and his family that Sodom and Gomorrah would be destroyed because of their wicked and perverted ways—including homosexuality (Ezekiel 16:48–50). These citizens, including Lot and his family, had forgotten that God destroyed nearly the entire human race only 400 years before (Genesis 6–7). However, Lot’s family enjoyed the abundance of the region and were reluctant to leave (Genesis 13:10–13). Lot’s wife lost her life because she looked back longingly instead of following God’s instruction to leave this sinful region. As we see the world moving down the same dangerous path, we need to remember these examples are recorded for our admonition today (1 Corinthians 10:1–13) and come out of this world and its evil and perverted ways (2 Corinthians 6:17–18). We cannot afford to ignore these sobering warnings.
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—August 24, 2023
Anarchy in Haiti: In the first half of 2023, gangs in Haiti “killed at least 2,000 people and kidnapped more than 1,000,” according to the United Nations (The Guardian, 14 August 2023). Since the 2021 assassination of Haiti’s last president, anarchy has taken over as 150 rival gangs compete to control the nation’s capital. Murder, robbery, rape, and kidnappings are rampant, and the police are powerless against them. Human Rights Watch recently noted, “Urgent action is needed to address the extreme levels of violence and the palpable fear, hunger and sense of abandonment that so many Haitians experience today.”
With effectively no police force to protect them, citizens are turning to vigilante groups. The UN secretary general is expected to propose an international peacekeeping force for Haiti. Kenya recently offered to lead the taskforce, with the backing of the United States and Canada, and many have concluded that “international forces are now necessary to push back the gangs.”
The chaos in this small island nation corresponds well with Bible prophecies about conditions we will see more broadly as the end of this age advances. The Apostle Paul wrote, “In the last days perilous times will come: for men will be lovers of themselves… unloving… brutal, despisers of good” (2 Timothy 3:1–5). In a world lacking a common moral compass based on God’s word and strong leaders with integrity, lawlessness is skyrocketing. The only thing that will effectively fix the problem is the return of the Lawgiver—Jesus Christ. He will return to rule in love and mercy, but also with a “rod of iron” (Revelation 2:27). To learn how peace will come to this world, read or listen to “Global Utopia: An Impossible Dream?” France’s Waning Influence in Africa: In a recent article in the Le Figaro newspaper, three right-wing French senators and 96 members of the parliament attacked French president Emmanuel Macron’s policies concerning Africa (The Telegraph, 12 August 2023). Referring to the current coup and chaos in Niger, they wrote, “Today Niger, yesterday Mali, the Central African Republic and Burkina Faso rejected France, French forces, French businesses.” France is unable to control the political unrest in West Africa, a region that was once part of France’s colonial empire. Also, Jean-Herve Jezequel, a project director with the International Crisis Group, concluded that there is “now also a question mark over [France’s] future in West Africa.”
Anti-France sentiment is spreading, even among nations traditionally close to France—including Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire. As France’s influence falters, the Russian Wagner Group is stirring up support for dictators opposed to France. Some warn of the spread of upheaval in Africa if the situation in Niger does not change.
Bible prophecy reveals that at the end of the age, the modern Israelite-descended nations, including France, that have led much of the world will fall from dominance because of their disobedience to God. Moses warned that their adversaries would rise against them and they “shall be the tail” (Deuteronomy 28:44). France has long prided itself on being a “secular” nation. Yet, France has been blessed because of ancient promises to the patriarch Abraham. Now, along with many of the other Israelite-descended nations, the pride of France is fading (cf. Leviticus 26:19) and the nation is reaping the consequences of rejecting the God who was the source of its blessings. To gain a deeper understanding of what is happening in our world today, be sure to read or listen to The United States and Great Britain in Prophecy or Les pays de langue française selon la prophétie.—Francine Prater and Chris Sookdeo