Church of God News
Positive News of the Churches of God
John 21:15-17, “So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me more than these? He saith unto Him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love Thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me? He saith unto Him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love Thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me? Peter was grieved because He said unto him the third time, Lovest thou Me? And he said unto Him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love Thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.”
Pay particular attention to the words “lambs” and “sheep.” Have you ever considered why Christ said “Feed my lambs,” “Feed my sheep,” “Feed my sheep,” repeating the command three times? Note that it is “lambs” once and “sheep” twice. Is there any significance?
Before we can answer that question, we need to see if there is a difference. “Feed” is Strong’s #1006: (bos’-ko); [compare 977, 1016]; to pasture; by extension to, fodder; reflexively, to graze: KJV--feed, keep. “Lamb” is Strong’s #721: (ar-nee’-on); a lambkin: KJV--lamb. “Sheep’” is Strong’s #4263: (prob’ -at-on); probably neuter of a presumed derivative of #4260; something that walks forward (a quadruped), i.e. (specific-ally) a sheep (literally or figuratively): KJV-- sheep [-fold]. The Englishman’s Greek concordance states that #1006 means “to tend, feed,” #721 means “lamb,” and #4263 means “sheep.” We can conclude that “lamb” and “sheep” are proper translations.
Proceeding further, we realize that a lamb is a “baby” sheep, or stated another way, the beginning of an adult sheep. Can the double emphasis on “sheep” mean that those in the same position as Peter should spend twice as much time with the adults as with the children? More likely it means it takes twice as much time and effort to maintain the sheep (spiritually mature) as it does the lambs (the newcomers). A person is a “babe in Christ” for a relatively short time compared to the adult portion of his/her spiritual life.
Another possible meaning is that more time (twice as much) should be spent with or for the spiritually mature members (sheep) than chasing after new members (lambs). Other scriptures reinforcing this idea are found in Matthew 18:12-13 and Luke 15:4-7. Luke says: “What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.”
Note that this one was a “lost sheep” rather than a “lost lamb.” Therefore, the “joy in heaven” must refer to some spiritually mature member who got caught up in some sin, fault, or left the flock (the Church) for some reason. The sheepherder (minister) dropped his efforts at tending the flock and went to rescue the lost member.
It appears that Christ put twice as much emphasis on “tending” or “feeding” the sheep than He did about the “lambs” (new converts). As Christ directed these words to Peter, one of the apostles to-be, it is safe to state that these scriptures are directed toward the ministry.
Much emphasis was put on Matthew 18:18-19 many years ago by the Worldwide Church of God. Most of the splinter groups still believe their primary mission is to evangelize the world. This belief came from the saying “the work of God.” After leaving worldwide, Mr. Cole and others discovered the true meaning of “the work of God.” It is found in John 6:29, “Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”
From this scripture we can take comfort that believing on Christ is the most important thing we can do. That “work” takes precedence over all else, including Matthew 28:18-19! By accepting that we can bring further proof that taking care of those called (the sheep as stated above) is the more important part of the minister’s job. We even find a brief condemnation of the end-time ministry in Jeremiah 23 and Ezekiel 34 for not doing this.
— by William B. Scherer
What?---Are You Doing?
We have been devoting a rather large section of the paper to “News of the Churches” and I think this has a three-fold purpose.
First: It keeps us in touch with others. We are more scattered and isolated than ever. Therefore, we need to make an effort to keep in contact. The Feasts and Sabbaths are the best opportunities to develop fellowship of course. Hopefully, these articles will also help to uplift and encourage each other. One of Satan’s tools is to divide and conquer, so let us make every effort we can to reverse his attempts to separate us.
Second: We can get to know a little bit about each other. Notice, I didn’t say, “get to know each other.” Getting to knowsomeone requires personal contact: interacting and even breaking bread together. When we first meet, we men especially, usually ask, as an icebreaker, the question, “What do you do?” This at least provides the opportunity whereby we can get to know what you’re doing and come know a little ‘about’ you.
Third: We can learn from each other. No, I’m not talking about ‘new’ doctrine. I’ve heard enough of that. I want to know a little about who you are and what you’re doing. That way I’ll know that we’re walking together and maybe I can get ideas on what I should or can do. Maybe it will give me hope or even build a little faith. John addresses it this way.
(I John 1:7) “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” This paints a picture in my mind (I got it from a movie but forgot the name) of a long string of people, including many children, walking along a path with candles and lanterns. They were trudging over mountains and through rivers and trees. Yet they were all on the same path; going to the same place. Let your little light shine. There is much we can learn from each other by walking together. But notice; it explicitly states “…in the light.” We’re to continually walk in the light of His truth, the scripture That includes the law and the examples Christ set for us.
This scripture is also appropriate for the Passover season that is rapidly approaching. It seems to emphasize here the fact that His example, the WAY He kept the law and walked in the light, is greater than the law itself. We only have fellowship and are cleansed from sin IF we all walk in the same light.
So, who are you? What are you doing? Write and let us know. Pictures welcome. Please list the names and location of the persons on the picture if possible.
— by Steven J. Kieler
Letters to Editor…
Thanks for sending me the first two issues of the Church of God News. I am glad to see that these are punched for a three-hole binder and also stapled in the upper left corner so that the pages can be flipped easily. These simple things make a good job better. Anyhow, your paper is off to a good start and I hope it is helpful to all who receive it.
— by William B. Scherer
Former Oklahoma Governor Keating’s Marriage Initiative
On January 14 thru the 16th, Doyle Carter (Biblical Fellowship) and Danny Foreman (Divorce Ministries) attended the OMI (Oklahoma Marriage Initiative) P.R.E.P. (Prevention Relationship Enhancement Program.)
This program of OMI and the use of PREP is the idea of Oklahoma’s former Governor Frank Keating. He, and others, noticed that the state of Oklahoma has one of the highest divorce rates in the country. The training program was presented by its founders, Dr. Scott Stanley, Howard Markman, and Natalie Jenkins.
There were eight full hours of training in each of the three days we attended and fourteen lectures in all that covered such topics as: forgiveness, friendship, commitment, and problem solving. Although this program was designed originally to end the high divorce rate and give married couples working tools to use to save their marriages, there are some tools that individuals would benefit from on a day-to-day basis. One skill that was most interesting was listening, we were taught (and discovered we already knew) that often time what is said is NOT what is heard.
Upon completion of this program, Doyle Carter and Danny Foreman have now become trained to provide workshops to couples, who feel they may benefit from the skills learned. We are not counselors, but teachers, and if there appears to be a problem that is beyond our skills we will refer you to a professional. The workshop instructs couples in communication and problem solving skills, to work as a team managing conflicts without damage to the closeness of the union, and to preserve and enhance love, commitment, and friendship. This program can be used along with Biblical principals.
We met many social workers and counselors in those three days who also desire to help marriages. I feel that this training will be beneficial to anyone in the Churches of God. For more information please contact Danny Foreman: DJFOREMAN_1990@yahoo.com or Doyle Carter firstname.lastname@example.org.
— by Danny Foreman
(Danny and Doyle will be presenting two sessions on this topic at the Feast of Tabernacles in Lake Texoma, OK.)
The good news is that the November/December, 2002, issue of The Good News magazine is perhaps the best issue that the United Church of God has ever published. There were several excellent articles on Health written by Noel Horner. In “Vibrant Health: The Crucial Biblical Keys,” Horner gives seven principles of Biblical Health: obey God’s commandments, basic sanitation, sexual purity, circumcision, control your stress level, exercise, and control your emotional management. The health benefits of circumcision are many. The Bible was right after all. The UCG is to be commended for boldly stating Bible truth in this matter, in the face of the universal modern condemnation of circumcision. Let God be true, and every man a liar. In the article, “Follow a Healthy — and Biblical — Diet,” Horner again brings Bible Truth to light. Larry Walker, in “Did Jesus Declare All Meats Clean?” explains that Jesus’ statements in Mark 7 did not do away with the Old Testament dietary restrictions.
GN Managing Editor Scott Ashley, in “The High Cost of Ignorance,” stated, “AIDS is entirely preventable and wouldn’t even exist if people only lived according to the laws revealed in the Bible.” He cited Leviticus 20:13 and I Corinthians 6:9-10 to show that homosexual sin and adultery have dire consequences and are a direct violation of the Word of God.
Melvin Rhodes explains in “America vs. Iraq or America vs. the World?” that Islam’s war against America and Britain is not just based on the Anglo-American support for the nation of Israel, but a hatred for America’s cultural imperialism, and jealousy for their vast wealth. “A high birth rate among Muslims, coupled with limited economic development [in the Muslim world], will ensure a continual source of suicide-bomber recruits for decades to come.” Indeed, radical Islam is to the world today what Communism was just twenty to thirty years ago: an enormous threat to the world and appealing to the poor to join in terror campaigns against the West. Rhodes sees the development of the “King of the South” happening in the Muslim world.
Other articles in this Good News issue explain that Christ was not born on Christmas Day, how to have healthy children, the ill effects of smoking on health, Bible keys to mental health, problems with homosexuality, and more. In all, the November/December, 2002, issue of The Good News is a real gem.
Noel Horner, Melvin Rhodes, and Larry Walker have solidified their top standing among the best writers among the Churches of God, along with LCG’s John Ogwyn and Dr. Douglas Winnail.
The UCG is to be commended for such a fine publication!
— by Richard C. Nickels
Church Work in Nigeria
My name is Mercy Okeke. I am 28 years old and married to Charles Okeke aged 32, who is the Pastor of a small gathering of Sabbath-keepers here. We have two children. We live on the outskirts of Uyo. I am director of the Family Prison Ministry in Nigeria, but Charles is the Pastor of the Christian Bible Church of God.
The Christian Bible Church of God is a small fellowship of several families who hold fast to the belief that the whole Bible has been given by God for us to follow as individuals and that II Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” applies to each of us today. This most certainly includes the observance of the Sabbath Day (Saturday) as holy, and was given to man for a purpose. We also feel that the annual Holy Days should be kept as outlined in Scriptures, and that we have a calling to allow Christ to rule in our lives.
Charles and myself used our personal income to buy the land and construct the Church building. Recently, we have halted the Church work due to lack of funds; but we are hoping to resume the construction work in the middle of February this year. By the grace of God, we will use it for God’s Holy Days this year. Please pray for us as we labor daily to complete the work in the worship center.
We are a small group and have many visitors. Sabbath meetings can range from twenty to fifty, while Sabbath Home fellowships are about twelve. We are not affiliated with any organized group. We believe that God calls the individual and addresses His word to each, personally.
We meet to study together and encourage one another. Many of us have been Sabbath keepers for over twenty years, and God has brought us together for mutual encouragement. I have been keeping the Sabbath since I was ten years old. My Mother, four brothers and four sisters also keep the Sabbath and Holy Days in different parts of Nigeria with their families.
The Family Prison Ministry is directed and funded through my personal efforts. We try to share the word of God and the Sabbath truths with inmates in jail and the rural women in our villages. We give out free literature, books and Bibles both in English and our local Efik language to them. Many lives have been touched and changed as we share the Good News with them.
My husband does a secular work several miles from home. He comes home after two days and goes back. He has started a home fellowship there. Please pray for him as he travels to and fro to do the work, and earn money for the work of God, and win souls for Christ.
— by Mercy Okeke, FPM C.PO BOX 2834, Uyo, 520001, Akwa Ibom State Nigeria email@example.com
LCG in Jamaica
The Kingston, Jamaica congregation of the Living Church of God welcomed Regional Pastor Jonathan McNair on January 11th, for a quarterly visit. Two prospective members attended, bringing the Sabbath attendance to a record-high of seventy-two people. Our Jamaican brethren continue to wholeheartedly support the preaching of the full gospel. Currently in Jamaica, the Tomorrow’s World television program is broadcast each Sunday morning. More than three thousand subscribers receive the Tomorrow’s World magazine, and many have requested booklets on a range of subjects.
A public lecture (and combined Sabbath service) occurred January 25, 2003, in the town of Mandeville, with associate pastor Hugh Wilson conducting the lecture. 269 subscribers (who had requested two or more booklets) had been invited. Total attendance at the lecture was 39 adults and 4 children, of which 30 were new people! It is fabulous that 43 attended in Mandeville, for back before WCG changed, its attendance in Mandeville was less than that.
A second Public Lecture is to be held in the capital of Kingston, on May 4, 2003. Jonathan McNair is scheduled to conduct it. Last year the Kingston lecture had an excellent turnout. With the growth LCG has been experiencing in Jamaica the past few years, this year’s lecture probably will result in even more growth.
LCG Headquarters Announcements
Mr. Wayne Pyle, Media Agent reported, “The Tomorrow’s World telecast saw the addition of a new presenter, Mr. John Ogwyn, adding a new look and presence to the program and complementing the work of Dr. Roderick Meredith and Mr. Richard Ames. In 2002 the telecast was aired on 27 new TV stations, bringing the global count to 147 stations airing Tomorrow’s World program each week. The 147-total includes 127 U.S. stations, one nationwide Canadian station, and nineteen other international TV stations in Australia, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, New Zealand and the Philippines. Our TV stations in North America generated 88,696 responses during 2002. This was a 42 percent increase over the previous year. Since 1999, when the telecast began, a total of 237,667 TV responses came in for the various items offered absolutely free to the public.”
LCG also announced that it has finished making telecast tapes in San Diego, and plans to make future telecast tapes in Charlotte, North Carolina. The bulk of LCG headquarters employees are expected to be relocated to Charlotte by early March 2003.
— Robert J. Thiel
“Where two or more are gathered together…”
COG 7th Day Mexico Mission
During recent winter holidays, the Church of God (Seventh Day) sent three separate teams to serve and learn in the Republic of Mexico.
A medical missions team, consisting of two doctors, six nurses, a physical therapist, a pharmacist, and an EMT, provided medical
assistance at no charge to hundreds among the under-classes in and around Mexico City for one week.
A team of about ten mostly young adults spent ten days in Monterrey, Neuvo Leon to receive Pioneer Missionary Training offered there each year by the Church’s Mexican Conference. They spent mornings in training, then they went to hospitals, rest homes, orphanages, public parks and plazas, and Church neighborhoods all afternoon and evenings to share the gospel through drama, music, and several types of free social services.
A Michigan youth pastor, his family, and few others drove a van and trailer full of relief goods to assist Church members affected by the earthquake in Colima.
Rocks and the Jar
A while back I was reading about an expert on subject of time management. One day this expert was speaking to a group of business students and, to drive home a point, used an illustration those students will never forget.
As this man stood in front of the group of high-powered overachievers he said, “Okay, time for a quiz.”
Then he pulled out a one-gallon, wide-mouthed mason jar and set it on a table in front of him. Then he produced about a dozen fist-sized rocks and carefully placed them, one at a time, into the jar. When the jar was filled to the top and no more rocks would fit inside, he asked, “Is this jar full?”
Everyone in the class said, “Yes.”
Then he said, “Really?” He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. Then he dumped some gravel in and shook the jar causing pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the spaces between the big rocks. Then he asked the group once more, “Is the jar full?” By this time the class was onto him.
“Probably not,” one of them answered. “Good!” he replied.
He reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand. He started dumping the sand in and it went into all the spaces left between the rocks and the gravel. Once more he asked the question, “Is this jar full?” “No!” the class shouted. Once again he said, “Good!” Then he grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it in until the jar was filled to the brim. Then he looked up at the class and asked, “What is the point of this illustration?”
One eager beaver raised his hand and said, “The point is, no matter how full your schedule is, if you try really hard, you can always fit some more things into it!” “No,” the speaker replied, “that’s not the point. The truth this illustration teaches us is: If you don’t put the big rocks in first, you’ll never get them in at all.”
What are the ‘big rocks’ in your life? A project that youwant to accomplish; time with your loved ones; your faith; your education; your finances; a cause; teaching or mentoring others? Remember to put these BIG ROCKS in first or you’ll never get them in at all. So, when you are reflecting on this short story, ask yourself this question: What are the ‘big rocks’ in my life or business? Then, put those in your jar first.
— author unknown
Do our children have “heroes” or “role models” in our world today? Certainly, and we need to be teaching our children about them and take every opportunity to point out “real heroes” and good “role models” to them. Of course we should be the best role model we can be to our children, grandchildren, and other children. We should all strive to set the best example of a Christian in how we handle our lives at home, Church and in our everyday dealing with problems that arise. If we act one way at home, and then another way when we’re at Church or out in the public, this sends a bad signal to our children. We are teaching them that it’s okay to be a hypocrite and to lie and deceive others. Don’t be surprised if they pick up on these things because they surely will, and these ways will be revealed in their thoughts and actions.
Every once in awhile something happens that affects all our lives and just recently that happened. On February 1, 2003, a national tragedy occurred when seven of our astronauts lost their lives, in honor of serving their country. Two women and five men, including an astronaut from Israel, were returning from their space mission. They were happy and looking forward to getting back to earth, and being with their families and friends. Some had sent messages to their families expressing the beauty of what they were experiencing. All of them seemed to enjoy what was going on at the space station, and also seemed to be in awe at the vastness and beauty of space and the earth. But most of all they were looking forward to returning home. Then tragedy struck their lives and ours, and our nation paused for a little while, remembering and mourning for the loss of these seven brilliant, courageous people.
They were called “heroes,” committed to reaching their goals, and in attaining them, knowing that there were great risks to their lives. Their minds were not on the fear of losing their lives, but focused on their goal and the best way to attain it. These men and women believed they were serving their country, and that they were destined to make a difference in the world.
The American College Dictionary defines a “Hero” as follows: “Person of distinguished valor or performance, admired for his noble qualities, special strength, courage and ability.” “Heroic” is defined as: “suitable to the character of a hero, daring, noble; intrepid, determined, having or involving recourse to bold, daring, or extreme measures.”
Certainly all astronauts have to have these characteristics, in order to pursue their goals in space missions successfully. But there are many, many others who also fit the description of a “hero,” men and women (and children), who in their everyday lives, might be called upon to demonstrate courage, determination, and boldness, putting fear aside when the occasion calls for it. Everyone remembers September 11, 2001 when our nation was moved to shock, sadness, anger, and mourning at the death of thousands of people in the Twin Towers of New York, the Pentagon, and on the air planes. Many ordinary people came forward to serve and help in this national tragedy. Firemen, policemen, and many others volunteered to rush in and help out, and some of them lost their lives; but their fear was overcome by their desire to help others.
We also remember those people on United Airline Flight 93 who became “national heroes,” when they overcame the terrorists who possibly were aiming that plane at the White House. Knowing they were probably going to die, they still showed great courage, and using daring, extreme measures, overcame the terrorists and foiled the plot to further damage the United States of America. While these heroes were forming a plan, they were very aware of their situation, and many said their goodbyes to the families. They had to have much courage, determination, boldness, and yes, faith in knowing that they were doing the right thing in spite of the risk to their own lives. One of the passengers was heard to shout, “Let’s roll,” and that has become a motto for the rest of us when we might find ourselves in a situation that calls for courage, boldness, determination, and faith. (To read news accounts of “The Story of Flight 93,” go online to:
There are still “heroes” all around us. Almost everyday we might hear of someone saving another person’s life, pulling someone from a burning car, or a building, using CPR on a person, breathing air into an unconscious stranger at a risk to their own life, a child at school standing up for another, etc. With war on the horizon and our young men and women going into battle, some heroes we will hear about, and others will be “unsung heroes.” Make it a practice to point out the everyday “heroes” to your children, teaching them the characteristics of a “Hero.” And don’t forget to be a “Hero” to your children yourself, and set them the proper example!
— By Shelby Faith
(Next month we’ll take a look at “Heroes of the Bible,” what they accomplished even as children, putting their faith and courage ahead of their own fears, and going forth to serve at risk of losing their lives. We also hope to include activities for children in every issue.)
From the Mouths of Babes:
1. In the first book of the Bible, Guinessis, God got tired of creating the world, so he took the Sabbath off.
2. Adam and Eve were created from an apple tree. Noah’s wife was called Joan of Ark. Noah built an ark, which the animals come on to in pears.
3. Lot’s wife was a pillar of salt by day, but a ball of fire by night.
4. Samson was a strong man who let himself be led astray by a Jezebel like Delilah.
5. Samson slayed the Philistines with the axe of the Apostles.
6. Moses led the Hebrews to the Red Sea, where they made unleavened bread which is bread without any ingredients.
7. The Egyptians were all drowned in the dessert. Afterwards, Moses went up on Mount Cyanide to get the ten ammendments.
8. The first commandment was when Eve told Adam to eat the apple.
9. The seventh commandment is thou shalt not admit adultery.
10. Moses died before he ever reached Canada. Then Joshua led the Hebrews in the battle of Geritol.
11. The greatest miracle in the Bible is when Joshua told his son to stand still and he obeyed him.
12. David was a Hebrew king skilled at playing the liar. He fought with the Finklesteins, race of people who lived in Biblical times.
13. Solomon, one of David’s sons, had 300 wives and 700 porcupines.
14. When Mary heard that she was the mother of Jesus, she sang the Magna Carta.
15. When the three wise guys from the East side arrived, they found Jesus in the manager.
16. Jesus was born because Mary had an immaculate contraption.
17. St. John the blacksmith dumped water on his head.
18. Jesus enunciated the Golden Rule, which says to do one to others before they do one to you. He also explained, “a man doth not live by sweat alone.”
19. It was a miracle when Jesus rose from the dead and managed to get the tombstone off the entrance.
20. The people who followed the Lord were called the 12 decibels.
21. The epistles were the wives of the apostles.
22. One of the oppossums was St. Matthew who was also a taximan.
23. St. Paul cavorted to Christianity. He preached holy acrimony, which is another name for marriage.
24. Christians have only one spouse. This is called monotony.
As Soon As Possible
Ever wonder what ASAP means? Generally, we think of it in terms of even more hurry and stress in our lives. Maybe if we think of this abbreviation in a different manner, we will begin to find a new way to deal with those rough days along the way.
There’s work to do, deadlines to meet,
You’ve got no time to spare.
But as you hurry and scurry,
ASAP - Always say a prayer.
In the midst of family chaos,
“Quality time” is rare.
Do your best; let God do the rest,
ASAP - Always say a prayer.
It may seem like your worries
Are more than you can bear.
Slow down and take a breather,
ASAP - Always say a prayer.
God knows how stressful life is,
He wants to ease our cares.
And He’ll respond to all your needs,
ASAP - Always say a prayer.
— author unknown
Find the words in the grid. Words can go horizontally, vertically and diagonally in all eight directions.
N N O S M A S F H S
J X M D F N J P Q H
B O R Z O R E W M A
M G S A G S Q E N D
R E H H O V S C P R
Y N D J U H D M L A
Z D N C A A I O H C
M E R C J C V S L H
N B H M L H A E C F
S A M U E L D S K J
2003 by Shelby Faith
The Bible Story by Arthur S. Maxwell
Reading to our children is one of the most important things that we parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles can do. I remember vividly my mother reading stories to me when I was child. It was a great pleasure to read stories to our children. Now that they are grown, I look forward to reading to our grandchildren, and other children as well.
Seventh-day Adventist Arthur S. Maxwell is a storyteller par excellence. Maxwell’s ten-volume masterpiece, The Bible Story (1953), is the whole Bible in 409 gripping stories tailor-made to explain God’s Word to children. A variety of artists contributed paintings of Bible scenes and characters. Other than pictures of Christ, which adults can censor, there is very little objectionable material in this series. Adults can discuss the stories with the children, and add explanations.
Maxwell’s The Bible Story is the children’s Bible story series that all others are measured against. You see them in doctor’s offices all the time. Each volume has about 190-200 pages; volumes 1-6 cover the Old Testament, and volumes 7-10 the New Testament. Check the 18-page index at the end of Volume 10, and you will be amazed how thorough and complete this work covers the entire Bible.
Until now, the set has been rather expensive. Sets printed in the USA by Review & Herald or Pacific Press, retail for $399.95. However, a new edition, published in The Philippines (not as high quality paper, but still useful) is now available. Giving & Sharing, PO Box 100, Neck City, MO 64849, offers this less expensive edition of the 10-volume set, for a suggested donation of $79.95 delivered.
Those unable to afford the suggested donation, may receive The Bible Story free on loan, two volumes at a time; write: Sharing Library, John D. Crissinger, PO Box 581, Granville, OH 43023.
— by Richard C. Nickels
Friendly advice has cost many a person his friend.
I was first diagnosed with diabetes at the age of three. I don’t remember much from when I was diagnosed, but my parents have filled many of my memories in for me. All my family members had to adjust their life style to care for me. My mom tells me stories of how she would have to find me when it was time to give my shot because I would run and hide. When she would find me, I would burst into tears and kick and scream. It must have made her feel awful, but I couldn’t help it. I was only three. Measuring my food, testing my blood, and giving shots was the story of my life. Lucky for me, I had a supportive family that took care of me when I was too young to care for myself. I grew older each day and learned more and more about my disease. I learned the right amounts of food to eat, how to test my blood sugar, and eventually I learned how to give my own shots at the age of six. I started attending a diabetic camp during the summer called Camp Hertko Hollow when I was five. I remember being so scared of being away from my parents. I was homesick for the first couple of years that I attended, but I eventually grew to love going to camp because everyone there understands you and knows what it takes to cope with diabetes.
When I was young, I felt different than the other kids at school. I had to take time to test my blood at noon and eat two snacks a day. The other kids would tell me that I was lucky because I got snacks and I got to eat lunch in the office. They’d say, “I wish I was diabetic.” I would simply tell them, “No you don’t. I bet you wouldn’t want to take shots twice a day.” I sometimes thought, “Why me?” but I only knew that I did what I had to do to keep me healthy and alive. It would always make me proud when people would tell me how well I took care of myself. When I turned nine, I began my athletic career. I started to play ASA softball and volleyball and at the same time, I began to be more independent, but I still dealt with my diabetes responsibly. I knew that since I was playing sports, I’d have to watch myself even more carefully. I took a little nose-dive when it came to taking care of myself in eight grade. By this time, I was doing everything myself when it came to my diabetes. Since I had been restricted from sugar my entire life, I seemed to crave it. I would sneak cookies and candy when my parents weren’t watching. The only consequence for me, at the time, was a high blood sugar reading and a lecture from my parents. I felt okay, so I figured it wouldn’t hurt anything, even though I had been told otherwise.
High school began and I became overwhelmed with school and athletics. It is difficult for any teenager to keep a self-image that they are happy with. In my case, my sports became the glue that held me together. I knew that to reach my athletic goals, I had to control my diabetes and have a strong healthy body.
There are many times that it’s simply easier to ignore the fact that I was diagnosed with diabetes. There are those times when I think that the rest of my friends don’t have to deal with the weight of diabetes, but then I remember that everyone has obstacles to overcome. My life-long obstacle is diabetes.
— by Erin Hoover
Fort Dodge, IA
Erin is a senior at Fort Dodge High School. She describes some of the difficulties living with diabetes and developing self-control and has also composed the following poem showing the trials she has faced.
Day and night, through thick and thin,
It’s tough to laugh. It’s tough to grin
When people hold you, people scold you
For the actions they have told you.
No more cookies! No more cake!
They won’t give you a bellyache,
But they will make you cold and shaky,
Make your muscles weak and achy.
Don’t eat this and don’t eat that.
It’s not that it will make you fat.
The snacks you eat, the pop you drink,
You have to stop to think…and think!
Will they harm you now?…tomorrow.
Will they cause you pain and sorrow?
You can’t afford a bad decision.
One might cause a car collision.
Can’t sleep over. Can’t stay out late.
Can’t explain to last night’s date
Why the ice cream Sundaes’ out
What it’s like and all about.
You do the shot. You do the test.
You question if you’ve done your best.
Your parents nag. Your nurse explains
All the health rewards and gains
From “giving up,” not “giving in”
To what’s considered “sugar sin.”
After all the dos and don’ts,
You promise all the wills and wont’s.
You’ll gladly give up all your vices
Just to stop the SACRIFICES!
—by Erin Hoover
God Still Performs Miracles
On December 27, 2002 Hope Lindholm had started bleeding (a month before her due date). The doctors had her come in to check her out. She had experienced what is called “Placenta Previa” (this is where the placenta detaches from the uterus) back in late October and then “Placenta Accerta” (this is where the placenta reattaches itself, often blocking the birth canal making it necessary to deliver the baby by C-Section.) sometime in December. Because of Hope’s condition the doctors had told her they would have to deliver the baby by C-section and that there was a chance she could bleed to death.
Tim, Hope’s husband, was with her during the C-section operation. What happened next was totally unexpected. During the C-section operation, some of the amniotic fluid got into Hope’s bloodstream and caused what’s called an “Amniotic Fluid Embolism”. Hope went into cardiac arrest. One team of doctors immediately delivered the baby, while another team of doctors worked to revive Hope. The head anesthesiologist gave Hope the highest amount of medication that he’s ever given a patient in his 25 years as a doctor, to help revive her. The next 48 hours would be highly critical. They were giving her a 20% chance of making it. Tim called me to ask for immediate prayers on Hope’s behalf. I called several people and then began the process of Emailing as many people as I could think of for prayers. Those prayers and “your prayers” made a huge difference and I am convinced that is why Hope is alive and doing so well today!
Hope, Nadia, and Hanna Lindholm.
“We have finally named our little girl: Nadia (Russian for Hope) Raphaela (God heals or God cures) Eliana (God has answered me) Lindholm. We believe in the power of prayer and the role it has played in my recovery. It has been inspiring to watch God’s love cross all Church boundaries. What an awesome, loving and merciful God we serve!
With great love, warmth and thankfulness, the Lindholm family.
Back: Tim, Hope, Andrew
Front: Chantelle and Hanna
During the first 48 hours Hope almost bled to death several times. (She received over 100 units of blood products over the course of her stay.) At one point the blood was running out of her eyes, ears, nose and any opening it could find. The blood was running out about as fast as they could put it in. The doctors had to open her up twice to try to stop the internal bleeding and pack her abdomen with sponges. Tim continued to call with updates so I could then make phone calls and send out Email updates to everyone for continued prayers. (I personally sent out the updates to more than 200 people. Many of those people had sent them out to 20-50 others. By the response we have been getting, we estimate that 100’s of thousands of people were praying for Hope!)
The doctors had a difficult time trying to regulate Hope’s medication between not too thin (so she wouldn’t bleed to death) and not too thick (trying to prevent any blood clots). Unfortunately she did develop a 6-inch blood clot in the artery next to her heart.
The doctors gave Tim two options: 1. Give her more blood thinners (which could lead to her bleeding uncontrollably again or 2. Heart surgery (which they determined she was too weak for open heart surgery.) The doctors decided to give it more time and do nothing. Meanwhile their newborn baby girl was doing well and was released January third, one week after she was born.
On Saturday, January 4th the blood clot had become “less attached” and the doctors were afraid it would break loose and go to her heart and then either go to the lungs or brain and kill her almost immediately. After consulting with the specialists at the University of Minnesota, the doctors came up with a third option of heavily sedating her and then going in with a laser to try to dissolve the blood clot. Tim asked for prayers in helping them to make the best decision for Hope. Again I believe God directly intervened on Hope’s behalf. It’s like God said, “No we’re not going to let the doctors take these risks, I know what’s best for Hope just watch I’ll take care of her.” And take care of her He did. It was awesome to watch the mighty power of God at work! The blood clot did break loose and the doctors believe that it went through the heart and into her lungs, where it broke up. It was an amazing miracle; even the doctors and nurses were amazed. Many of them said, “It’s a miracle!” When you consider that Hope suffered two embolisms; first the Amniotic Fluid Embolism and the second a pulmonary embolism (when the blood clot passed through the heart) her chances of survival were reduced to about 2%. And then to think she survived all of that without suffering any brain damage. That is a miracle!
Hope’s recovery has been remarkable and she continues to amaze the doctors and nurses. On January 29th, she was able to go home, one month after this whole ordeal began. This is a testimony that “Our Awesome God” still hears and answers our prayers. Thank you all so much for your prayers! Let’s all thank God again for answering those prayers!
— by Dona Fehr
Sex Abuse Cases Reflect Theological Problems
I read with concern and dismay a recent Bulletin article stating that the Archdiocese of Boston asked a judge to dismiss all sexual abuse lawsuits against it, claiming that “the First Amendment … does not permit courts to tell Churches how to conduct their internal affairs.” My first reaction was to ask, what about the First Amendment rights of the victims? Not only is this a weak legal argument, which is unlikely to prevail, but it is downright insulting to common sense and moral decency to suggest that the Bill of Rights offers any organization, let alone a religious organization, the right to harbor criminals. Nor does the Bible offer such protection. Romans 13 teaches that civil authority is ordained by God and is for our good. Only in cases where man’s law conflicts with God’s law, does the Bible tell us “…We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).
Another article on the same page cited a New Hampshire bishop as having “suggested that it is less serious for a priest to have sex with someone from outside the parish than with a parishioner.” Do you suppose the victim or his or her parents would agree with, or take comfort from this assessment? His point seemed to be that the former is a private matter that would not fall within the jurisdiction of the Church. This reasoning also does not hold up in the light of Scripture.
I Timothy 3:2 says a bishop “must be above suspicion, must be a faithful, married man, must be sensible, must have self-control” (Simple English version). This passage does not imply any restriction to conduct within the congregation. In fact verse 7 says, “Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace and the snare of the devil.” The Living Bible vividly paraphrases, “so that Satan can’t trap him with many accusations, and leave him without freedom to lead his flock.” We are seeing this warning coming back to haunt many religious leaders who have violated these principles.
The longstanding theological concept of celibacy should be reconsidered in the aftermath of the sordid sexual deeds that are now being brought to light. I would call attention to the requirement that a bishop “must be a faithful, married man.” Paul emphasizes the importance of a bishop being the head of a happy, successful family. Otherwise, he asks, “How will he take care of the Church of God” (I Timothy 3:5).
Celibacy has a long history rooted in the dualistic concept that the epitome of righteousness is to forego physical pleasure in order to attend wholeheartedly to “spiritual” matters. Celibacy was advocated by some early “Church fathers” who held distorted views of sex and marriage. Augustine considered marriage as “a covenant with death.” (Confessions, book 6). He regarded celibacy as a more holy state than marriage. Thomas Aquinas considered that woman “is defective and misbegotten” (Aquinas, Summa, Q.92, art. 1). Clement of Alexandria emphasized Jesus’ example of celibacy and regarded marriage as a form of prostitution and a practice introduced by the devil.
Many misinterpret I Corinthians 7 to claim that Paul advocated celibacy. However, Paul’s advice to remain single should be understood as a temporary measure — not to make major life changes because of a time of “present distress” (verses 25-31). A recently married person devoting the time and attention to building his marriage could interfere with a maximum effort to endure this temporary time of “distress.”
When Paul wrote, “I wish all men were even as I myself” (verse 7), he was referring to the gift of self-control (verse 9), not being unmarried. Paul did not advocate celibacy. On the contrary it was Corinthian members (in a letter to him) who suggested this as a solution to the immorality of the world around them (verse 1). Paul countered that a healthy sexual relationship within marriage was the best antidote to immorality (verse 2-5).
Paul boldly proclaimed that forbidding marriage is “a doctrine of demons” (I Timothy 4:1-3).
God created mankind male and female because He said, “It is not good for a man to be alone” (Genesis 1:18). The bitter fruits of clergy sexual abuse document this vital truth.
— by Larry J. Walker
United Church of God, Bend, OR
(Joseph Walker has just about had it with the programs on television these days. He is quite outspoken in this thought-provoking column and compares television fare with the Ten Commandments.)
Several thousand years ago a man named Moses came down from a mountain with some guidelines for living he called The Ten Commandments. Through the years those ten simple rules have proven to be timeless, and men and women the world over have viewed them as a pattern by which to govern them-selves.
Now American television knows better. It isn’t just that television chooses not to advocate strict adherence to the Ten Commandments — in many cases it is offering to the public entertainment options that actively work against Ten Commandment principles.
1. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Is there any more sacred rite in all of contemporary society than the Super Bowl? Not only does television genuflect before god-like athletes and coaches for an entire week of Super Bowl build-up and hyperbole, but it also uses this spectacle more than any other to worship at the feet of the Almighty Advertiser.
2. “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.” Television is big on idol worship. From His Airness Michael Jordan to Pop Diva Britney Spears, TV fawns on its idols with sacramental devotion. And when it runs out of real idols to adore it creates more of its own through programs like the appropriately named “American Idol.”
3. “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” While you could substitute the title for almost any sitcom here, the “Friends” friends deserve special mention for using the phrase “oh my [deity]” so often you’d think each episode was part prayer meeting.
4. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” If there’s one thing television doesn’t understand, it’s the concept of “holy.” While there are exceptions to the rule like “Touched By An Angel” and “Seventh Heaven,” for the most part television is suspicious of Church-goers and casts a skeptical, suspicious eye at anyone who holds anything sacred.
5. “Honor thy father and thy mother.” Years ago it was “Father Knows Best.” Now it’s “Meet the Osborns.” What’s to honor?
6. “Thou shalt not kill” — unless you can attract big ratings and critical acclaim for doing it, like “The Sopranos.” Then by all means, whack away.
7. “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Where would “Jerry Springer” be without infidelity, or, for that matter, incest? Or transvestitism? Or sado-masochism? Or.… well, just about any gruesome possibility the most warped mind could possibly concoct?
8. “Thou shalt not steal.” Steal. Cheat. Fabricate. Do whatever it takes to win. No, we’re not talking about the NFL again. We’re talking about “Survivor” and other “reality”-based shows that actually have about as much to do with reality as a Road Runner cartoon.
9. “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” So what can you say about a television program in which the entire premise is built upon a lie? That maybe the gold-digging women who are sucked into “Joe Millionaire’s” televised deceit deserve what they get?
10. “Thou shalt not covet.” This commandment had to be the first to go. I mean, you can’t do a decent beer commercial without a little coveting, can you?
Which makes you wonder: What would Moses have thought about beer commercials? Something tells me he would have taken one look and headed back up the mountain.
And taken the Ten Commandments with him.
— by Joseph Walker
© Copyright Creators Syndicate
Conscientious Objection And Military Service
The United States Military Selective Service Act provides that no person shall be subject to combatant training and service in the armed forces who “by reason of religious training and belief is conscientiously opposed to participation in war in any form” (50 U.S.C. App. § 456(j)). There is no draft at present. However, if a war were declared today, the draft could begin immediately. By law, all males must register with Selective Service within thirty days of their eighteenth birthday. Pursuant to the Biblical instruction given in Romans 13:1-2, if you have failed to register within the required thirty days, we recommend that you now register as soon as possible if you are between the age of eighteen and twenty six. The longer you delay, the greater the potential penalty if the draft were re-instituted. Male “adherents” (members, prospective members) of Living Church of God in the United States, who are eighteen to twenty six years old, should request, read, and consider the instructions contained in the Church’s information packet about Conscientious Objection to Military Service. The packet includes an exemption request form, instructions for completing that form, recommendations for additional actions to take, and how to be recorded in the Church’s official Register of Conscientious Objectors maintained at headquarters.
— Frank Olive
Church of God Home School Association
No one really listens to anyone else. Try it for a while, and you will see why.
— by Mignon McLaughlin
Church of God and Political Correctness
Although the term, “politically correct,” became popular around the 1980s or 90s, the concept has been around a long time.
In the first century, it became politically incorrect to be identified with the Jews, circumcision, the Sabbath, Biblical Festivals, and many other Bible Truths. The majority of professing Christians took the easy route: they watered down and changed from unpopular Truth to acceptable compromises, in order to save their own skins. And the rest is history. Some Jews even had a reverse circumcision operation, so they could participate in Grecian athletic games.
During World War II, Herbert W. Armstrong’s radio program, as all other media, was subject to censorship by the War Department. He would freely tell others that he had to watch what he preached on the radio. During the War, there was talk in the “Good News Bulletin” of an ultimately unsuccessful move for the Church to purchase a radio station tower to blanket North America with uncut Bible Truth.
The Worldwide Church of God “killed” various booklets in the early 1970s.
“Who Is the Beast?” “The Mark of the Beast,” and “The New Morality,” were killed because they were too strong on the Roman Catholic Church. Based on the 2002 revelations of gross sexual depravity in the Roman Catholic priesthood (and hundred of years of previous, even more evil, abominations), the 1973 decision appears to be rather short sighted. These killed booklets appear now to be too weak on the Roman Catholic Church.
“Does God Heal Today?” was removed because of fear of offending medical authorities. Now that would be a problem. We wouldn’t want to offend the world’s largest business enterprise, the medical industry, that say they always have our best interests in mind. Church members at the time were ordered to burn or turn in their copies of the healing booklet. I am glad some disobeyed. Giving & Sharing republished the public domain version of “Does God Heal Today?” as part of our book, The Early Writings of Herbert W. Armstrong. Trusting God to heal you through faith in the broken body of Jesus Christ our Savior may be politically incorrect, but I could care less. The healing booklet actually encourages us to trust in Christ for healing, as well as seek competent medical assistance.
“Truth About Masonry,” was tanked because of sensitivity of the subject in high circles. The booklet, “Divorce & Remarriage” got the axe because of “legal” problems. Yes, because the teaching of the booklet was perverted to create a ministerial court system to interfere with people’s lives. The original booklet (public domain, published in Early Writings) is a beautiful explanation of the Bible’s teaching that marriage is for life.
Articles “Here’s Why Jews Reject Jesus,” and “Twelve Reasons Why Jesus’ Trial Was Illegal,” were canned because they might be construed as anti-Semitic.
Finally, “The Race Question,” and “The Origin of the Nations” were removed because of “racial sensitivity.” Respecting racial differences, and wanting to preserve the different races, rather than amalgamate them into a universal brown man: that is a politically incorrect no-no.
However, later, booklets similar to the “Does God Heal Today?” “Who is the Beast?” and “The Mark of the Beast” were printed or reprinted 1978-80. God Speaks Out on the New Morality was republished as The Missing Dimension in Sex.
Almost any aspect of God’s Truth offends somebody. I used to offend just about everybody when I expressed my religious views. Now, I hope with God’s grace, I have begun to learn how to be as wise as a serpent, and as harmless as a dove, without compromising the Truth.
The good news about this bit of history, is that the Internet has leveled the playing field, holding politically correct views up to the light of truth and common sense, and exposing them for their sheer nonsense. The United Church of God began largely because of the Internet. There are enough dedicated believers who will not bow the knee to political correctness. Praise God for that!
— by Richard C. Nickels
The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard.
— by Steven Wright
It seems natural that when differences arise within a Church the ‘obvious’ course is to ‘start a new Church’. Hence we have a religious supermarket of competing and conflicting Churches. The true Church of God is made up of all, wherever they are, in whom dwells the Spirit of God. The visible Church, i.e. those who bodily associate together, also embraces unbelievers (learners) and its complement of heretics!
Early Church Blueprint
Each gathering of brethren of whatever size (and indeed each individual Christian) is answerable directly to the Head, Jesus Christ; answerable to him for our ethical behavior, what we believe, and how we deal with ‘the great commission.’ On these we are daily ‘weighed in the balance,’ an awesome responsibility. The pattern adopted by CGOM is for individual fellowships to voluntarily work together through a non-coercive but supportive association.
Because each fellowship associated with CGOM is independent in its organization, there is no need for an expensive bureaucratic ‘overlord’ imposing a host of regulations, salary scales, directives, etc. Extensive funding for ‘headquarters’ buildings and staff are unnecessary. Matters of Church discipline or doctrinal dispute are a local concern, though the availability of wise counsel from mature leadership elsewhere is always on tap through the association. The Outreach Ministries does not intervene in the internal affairs of individuals or local fellowships. It is solely a service organization the purpose of which is to be supportive of all the brethren.
As with any joint effort, a measure of oversight is essential. In CGOM this is achieved through several volunteer Committees (all members have secular jobs or are retired) appointed through our annual Conference. They are responsible for Financial oversight, Outreach, Member Services, Marketing and Research. Appointments are unpaid, with remuneration for part-time accounting and for Conference-approved expenses. Accounts are published annually in our Newsletter. Delegates to Conference are representatives appointed by each local fellowship (usually elders or stewards). The Conference is open to any brethren who wish to attend and contribute ideas.
The basic criteria for association with CGOM are simple. So we can pull together, it’s important that we all ‘sing from the same hymn-sheet,’ and we thus have a Statement of Beliefs, which we believe reflects foundational Bible teachings. Few brethren or Churches of God will find objections to it! It is a body of beliefs that have been hammered out over many decades. All brethren (individuals or fellowships) who can live with this Statement are warmly welcomed within CGOM.
You Are Invited!
As more brethren work together, without bureaucratic entanglements, much more can be accomplished in the Savior’s service. If you are on your own (scattered), or if you are a small fellowship we can together, accomplish much.
For conference information (Mar 28-30), full text of this feature, or questions, contact: CGOM, PO Box 54621, Tulsa, OK 74155-0621, 1-800-611-8080, or E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
— by Rick Gawith
Promotion awaits the employee who radiates cheerfulness, not the employee who spreads gloom and dissatisfaction. Doctors tell us that cheerfulness is an invaluable aid to health. Cheerfulness is an invaluable aid to promotion.
— by B. C. Forbes