Weekly Update

August 31st, 2023

Greetings from Charlotte,

The parable of the mustard seed and other parables show us that God starts small, but His work will eventually encompass the whole world. The New Testament Church of God started with only about 120 followers at the end of Christ’s ministry. God started very small with Mr. Armstrong and again with Dr. Meredith following the WCG apostasy. In this week’s video update, I mentioned that we are working with 139 people in India—a small number compared to the population of that country. Of those, 21 are baptized members, 85 are prospective members, and 33 are church youths. Mr. Rajan Moses serves India and reports that of the 85 prospective members, he hopes to baptize several dozen on his next visit. We are only now, after nearly ten years of efforts, beginning to see the Church starting to grow in what is now the most populous country in the world. Hong Kong and China is another area where we have been working for over a decade. We have made much progress behind the scenes, such as translating all our literature into traditional and simplified Chinese and putting up a China-friendly website. We hope to see some fruit there in the next year or two. While we are understandably interested in our own local areas, let us never forget that God has called us to do a worldwide Work.—Gerald Weston

Church Administration

Tomorrow’s World Presentations

Last weekend we held two follow-up presentations that drew a total of eight guests. The summer season of TWPs is winding down as we draw closer to the Festival season. So far, this year has been very successful for Tomorrow’s World Presentations. We have held 142 events in the United States, drawing 1,427 visitors, and 59 internationally, drawing 847 visitors. The positive impact these presentations have is incalculable, and we thank everyone for their prayers and support for the Tomorrow’s World Presentations.

Feast of Tabernacles

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.

Feast Service Need—Pianists for Hymns at Rockport-Fulton, Texas—Repeat Announcement

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].

Business Office

Please note that our last scheduled day to print checks will be Tuesday, September 26. After that date, we will not be able to print any checks again until Thursday, October 12. Any invoices we receive by September 21 will be paid before the Festival break. Any invoices we receive after September 21 may not be able to be paid until October 12.

If you have any questions concerning specific invoices or payments, please contact Michelle Greene in the Accounts Payable Department at 704-708-2234 or Kezia Ciesielka at 704-708-2237. You can also e-mail [email protected].


Why Study God’s Word: The prophet Isaiah records that God is looking for individuals who “tremble” at His word (Isaiah 66:2). Jesus taught that we are to live “by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). He also warned that misguided leaders would set aside the commandments of God and teach “as doctrines the commandments [traditions] of men” (Mark 7:5–13). This is why the Apostle Paul stressed that we must diligently study the Scriptures so we can rightly divide (correctly understand) the word of God and avoid being misled and confused by false teachers and misguided ideas (2 Timothy 2:15). In a world filled with conflicting ideas, we need to know and prove what the Bible says so we can avoid being deceived (1 Thessalonians 5:21). Jesus plainly stated, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31–32). Let’s make time to study God’s Word!

Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail

News and Prophecy—August 31, 2023

Archaeology Confirms King David: As recently as thirty years ago, King David was just a mythical figure for many secular historians—a position that continues to be held by some. However, over the last few decades, archaeological evidence has been mounting to support not only the idea that King David existed, but also that he oversaw a powerful and substantial kingdom—just like the Bible says he did!

In 1993, the Tel Dan Stele was found near the Syrian border, referring clearly to the “House of David” (Christianity Today, 12 June 2023). The stele dates to within 140 years of David’s death. While some archaeologists have questioned David’s influence, due to the lack of large architectural buildings in the region that can be dated to his reign, more recent research on the Temple Mount and in the vicinity of Jerusalem is unearthing substantial buildings and fortifications never before known. Prominent Holy Land archaeologist Eilat Mazar uncovered some of those large buildings. A non-religious archaeologist who nevertheless took Bible history seriously, Mazar told Christianity Today in an interview before her death in 2021, “This is Jerusalem, which we know best from the Bible,” which “contains within it descriptions of genuine historical reality.”

For centuries and even into modern times, critics of the Bible have argued that there is little to no secular evidence for the Bible’s validity. In their zeal to disprove God’s word, they often dismiss it as an untrustworthy religious text filled with myths, and they base many of their arguments on a supposed lack of evidence. Yet, as time goes on, archaeology continues to validate the authenticity of biblical claims, including that King David was a powerful king overseeing a substantial kingdom. To learn more about the constantly growing body of evidence supporting the validity of the Bible, be sure to read or listen to The Bible: Fact or Fiction?

The Power of Laughter: For many years, laughter has been known to boost one’s health and mental outlook. Periodically, new research emerges providing even more support for this understanding. A recent study shows that laughter “causes the tissue inside the heart to expand—and increases oxygen flow around the body” (The Guardian, August 27, 2023). More specifically, “Patients with coronary artery disease who engaged in a course of laughter therapy had reduced inflammation and better health.” Laughter therapy was actually shown to increase the “functional capacity” of the cardiovascular system.

After three months of laughter therapy, study participants’ hearts were able to pump 10 percent more blood than those in the control group. In addition, inflammatory markers in the blood of study participants significantly decreased, compared to those in the control group. The elasticity of arteries also increased. This is one of the first studies to take detailed measures of the impact of laughter on heart health compared with a control group.

This new study reinforces the scientific accuracy of the Bible. More than 2,500 years ago God inspired King Solomon to write, “A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones” (Proverbs 17:22). While the principle of the scripture is clear, we now understand that there is more substance to the statement than one might presume. The study mentioned above provides scientific support for Solomon’s statement. In addition, some have noted that chronic depression increases the risk for osteoporosis—which one might rightly consider a “drying” of the bones. To learn more about health principles found in the Bible, be sure to read our free and insightful booklet Biblical Principles of Health.—Scott Winnail and Francine Prater