Church of God News
Positive News of the Churches of God
L.C.G. Update | U.C.G. Report | A Bit of History | Answered Prayer | Wrong Side of the Tracks | Pentecost in India | Be Careful Not to Ignore God | Hymn Saves Four Lives | Establishing the Children | Children Lost | An Ugly Scarecrow | The Forgotten One | Helping Others Through Charitable Organizations | Helping Others Pays Handsome Dividends | Feast of Tabernacles
Is God Still There?
In the UK Houses of Parliament, prayers are offered at the beginning of each day’s session. Are they of any value? Does God - presumably that’s where the prayers are directed - hear?
To judge by the shambolic (sic) state of the nation, it looks like the prayers don’t even reach the ceiling of the House of Commons. What’s the reason?
We often wonder why our personal prayers are not answered. Usually though,we do not recognize that the word no is a reasonable response! Parliamentary prayers are just nebulous generalizations, such as, “we seek Thy blessing on today’s proceedings.” Often our own prayers are much the same style. So, how do we get to a yes from God?
We might ask, if Government promotes legislation that is clearly contrary to what God has decreed (examples could be multiplied), can we expect His blessing?
On a personal level, the same principle applies. I needn’t pray for material prosperity if God knows that it would, for me, be a bad idea. “Trust Me, says God.” Can I pray for healing if I am seriously abusing my body? Should I be surprised if my promiscuity results in infertility and God doesn’t open my womb, or, if God lets me waste away and die at fifty (the average) because of my homosexual life style? Wrote the Psalmist: “If I regard iniquity in my heart the LORD will not hear.”
The key is that God knows what is best for each individual, and for a yes, our prayers will necessarily have to conform to His plan for us. So, if we continue to trust Him (i.e. have faith), we will ask, and ask persistently, but leave the outcome in His hands while seeking His will. Our Parliamentarians do not do that; unfortunately, nor do most Christians. When we so do, then our desires expressed in prayer are answered positively.
Yes, God is still very much there.
— by James McBride
Reprinted from “The Newsletter of the Churches of God, UK”
State of the Churches
Dr. Henry Blackaby, a special assistant to the presidents of the North American Mission, International Mission, and Sunday school boards of the Southern Baptist Convention and co-author of the best selling book, Experiencing God, was asked this question: “What do you see as the future for the United States?” Here is a portion of Dr. Blackaby’s reply:
“If you put the U.S. up against the Scriptures, we’re in trouble. I think we’re very close to the judgment of God. The problem of America is not that of the unbelieving world. The problem of America is with the people of God.
You see, right now there are just as many divorces in the Churches as outside the Churches. There are just as many abortions inside the Churches as outside the Churches. There’s only a one percent difference in gambling inside the Churches as outside the Churches. George Barna did a survey of 152 separate items comparing the lost world and the Churches, and he said there is virtually no difference between the two. So, we have brokenness in the Churches and no reconciliation.”
— by author unknown
From the Editor…
Confusion abounds. Who can make sense of this crazy world? Maybe you believe that because you believe in God, life should be a bed of roses, but the truth is, we suffer problems and afflictions along with the rest of mankind. Furthermore, even with all our knowledge, we can often offer no better explanations of situations than can others.
Lack of understanding may lead to despair, desperation, or rebellion. Weariness is the forewarning, the “red flag,” and it is, in itself, especially hazardous for a Christian. The danger results from being in a continual state of confusion. You become filled with anxiety, distress, or fear in stage one. Stage two is “weariness in well doing.” And stage three is abandoning the source of your deliverance.
The antidote, of course, is a good dose of hope. This is unfortunately often confused with pie in the sky optimism or putting on rose-colored glasses, which only produces more confusion when a person’s hope has been dashed.
The following quote by Czech president and playwrightVáclav Havel (1936) illustrates the difference: “Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It (hope) is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.”
A great difficulty is that our hope is not in the immediate future.
Proverbs 14:32 says: “The wicked is driven away in his wickedness: but the righteous hath hope in his death.”
Our hope rests in three intertwined concepts:
I can agree with Paul when He said: “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;” II Corinthians 4:8.
No matter what happens, no matter how dense the fog around us, no matter our perplexity, hope is one of the three things that remain.
Don’t weary. Be happy.
— by Steven J. Kieler
A Billion Is
A billion is a difficult number to comprehend, but one advertising agency did a good job of putting that figure into perspective in one of its releases:
A billion seconds ago it was 1959.
A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive.
A billion hours ago some star’s light was just reaching the earth.
A billion dollars ago was only 8 hours and 20 minutes ago, at the rate Washington spends it.
— by J. Gretty
LCG’s Rod Meredith reports that, “Presently, the Tomorrow’s World telecast is being aired on 158 TV stations around the earth...Over the past four years, our statistics indicate that more than four million households have actually viewed the Tomorrow’s World television program. Tomorrow’s World television is aired on 21 TV stations internationally, and the audio portion is aired on 17 radio stations in four languages: English, Spanish, French, and Afrikaans. Additionally, we are now planning to go on three additional television stations here in North America! This will make Tomorrow’s World available to hundreds of thousands of additional viewers.” Those three stations are CJIL, Lethbridge, Alberta; WKRC, Cincinnati, OH, and WZTV, Nashville, TN.
Dr. Meredith told this reporter that the additional stations were made possible because of savings associated with the relocation of LCG’s headquarters to Charlotte, North Carolina. Dr. Meredith also reported that LCG has been averaging 2,000 responses per week from the telecast in the U.S. and Canada.
Motivation is more powerful than ability.
— by author unknown
LCG in Canada Update
LCG’s Gerald Weston reported: “The growth in Barrie is very real. Even on Pentecost, we had 2 brand new people attend in Toronto who would normally attend in Barrie. The others who have come with us came from WCG.
“Alberta is the other really hot area at this time. Here in Ontario we continue to have many of new visit requests, but we see little commitment from these people, even though they talk very enthusiastically when we visit them. My plans call for me to visit Newfoundland this month (June) and I have visits lined up with four new contacts. It would be very encouraging to see some growth in that area. Reports are upbeat across Canada. Most people seem to be happy and there are enough new Church inquiries to give hope for new growth, and indeed we are seeing small growth (one or two new people) in most areas.”
LCG has five preteen camps scheduled for this summer, plus two teen camps. Pre-teen locations in June included: Fort Parker State Park, Texas; Rock Camp, California; and Camp Sherwood Forest, Missouri.
Pre-teen camps in July or later include: Maranatha Springs, North Carolina, held Sunday, July 13–Friday, July 18; and Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, held Sunday, August 10–Friday, August 15.
The two teen camps include: Philippines Living Youth Camp, held April 28-30, at Victorio’s Beach Resort, in Davao City; and Pickford Michigan Living Youth Camp, held Tuesday, July 22–Sunday, August 3.
— by Robert Thiel
You may experience a taste of the ABC program and see why the students are so enthusiastic about the school.
Ambassador Bible Center presents the Fourth ABC Sampler Seminar which will be held at the ABC Lecture Hall in the new Home Office building in Cincinnati, Ohio. The dates will be August 18-22 and will feature portions of some of our actual class material. Gary Antion, Roy Holladay, and Ralph Levy will present material from some of their classes, all for the low cost of $50 per person. Mr. Antion will bring instruction from Joel, the Pentecost Prophet, and from the leading Apostle of Christ’s day, Peter in the book of I Peter. Mr. Holladay will bring material from the Epistles of Paul, the Book of Galatians, which contains many seemingly difficult sections regarding justification and the law. Dr. Levy will present the Book of Job and the lessons that we may glean from it. You are responsible for your housing and meals. There is reasonably-priced lodging in the vicinity.
Please send us a letter of intent to reserve a seat in the class for your ABC Sampler experience. The address is: Ambassador Bible Center, PO Box 54992, Cincinnati, OH 45254-0992. The phone number is: 513-576-9796. E-mail address: email@example.com.
— by Gary Antion and Ralph Levy
UCG Canadian Report
The Canadian National Council met May 28th through June 1st in picturesque Elora, about an hour’s drive from Toronto. Council member Dr. Rick Dubler, and his wife Grace live there and made arrangements for us to meet at the Elora Mill Inn, one of Ontario’s last remaining five-story grist mills. It has been converted to a hotel, located on the edge of the Grand River at the head of the Elora Gorge. It was a very restful setting. Seven of nine Council members were present. George Carter attended some of the meetings in order to pass on the baton to his replacement, David Palmer. The Council acknowledged George’s dedication and service. I referred to some quotes from a book entitled, Governing Boards by Cyril O. Houle, which is a publication of the National Center for Nonprofit Boards. In a section that deals with written records, the author says that board members have only a limited amount of time to give to the board and that the best way to achieve goals is to define functions and relationships clearly in writing. Written records should include the constitution, bylaws, policies, and minutes. Our Council secretary, Linda Wasilkoff, does an excellent job of keeping our records.
Mr. Roy Holladay and his wife Norma were guests during these meetings. It was their first visit to Canada, not counting a brief border crossing a long time ago. The trip coincided with their 40th wedding anniversary. We gave the Holladays a gift for their anniversary.
Mr. Holladay gave an explanation on the history of our governing documents and a sermon in Toronto before 143 attendees on the subject of “God’s weapons that we can utilize to help conquer the progression of sin.”
We heard encouraging statistics from Anthony Wasilkoff and Ed van Pelt showing record attendances for the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread. Then, each of the Church pastors present had a chance to report on their areas. The trend shows growth in the Churches.
Paul Wasilkoff, our Web master, gave us a detailed report of our Home Page citing statistics on monthly visits, geography of visits, referrals from other sites and search engines, literature generated, publications ordered, and an overview of Web site advertising. He concluded with goals of new layouts, utilities, and programming upgrades. David Palmer gave the media update. He talked about the meeting that had taken place in Toronto on February 9-10th (see United News Canada, May-June 2003, Page 10). His report touched on piggy-backing off the radio programs produced in the United States, Internet advertising, using video clips on our Home Page, print advertising, waiting room call and mail programs, brochure and newsstand programs, and gift copy cards.
There were proposals recommending amendments to a few of our Bylaws. We also gave a yearly performance review of our Operations Manager, a requirement of our governing documents. The board recognizes that our Operations Manager wears many different hats. Besides pastoring local congregations, managing the national office, developing an annual operations plan, overseeing media, the ministry, the office staff, planning budgets, corresponding, and dealing with legal issues, he was chosen to be a member of the Council of Elders. The board off-loaded the work of media onto David Palmer, who is in charge of the media advisory. More ministerial services could also be delegated to the Ministerial Services Team formed by Gary Antion.
We were certainly reminded of what precarious times we live in, with constant news reports of SARS (especially in the Toronto area) as well as Mad Cow Disease, the threat of West Nile Virus, and the potential bankruptcy of our national airline during troubled economic times. It makes us pray, “Thy kingdom come!”
— by Rainer Salomaa
National Council Chairman
Happiness is like a cat. If you try to coax it or call it, it will avoid you. It will never come. But if you pay no attention to it and go about your business, you’ll find it rubbing up against your legs and jumping into your lap.
— by William Bennett
Former Secretary of Education
A Bit of History…
Jewish people worldwide mark a day of fasting and mourning known as Tisha B’Av, the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av, to remember the destruction of the First and Second Temples and other national calamities.
Numerous tragedies have befallen the Jewish people down through the ages on this day, of which many trace back to the time when ten of the twelve Israelites sent by Moses to spy out the Promised Land returned with a bad report. You can read the account in Numbers 13.
Since then, the following are among the national tragedies for the Israelites that have occurred on Tisha B’Av:
Other historic events that fell on Tisha B’Av include the outbreak of World War I and the deportation of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto to Nazi concentration camps.
— by author unknown
Eight Gifts That Don’t Cost a Cent
This simple checklist can help measure how you are nurturing and aiding your relationships:
The Gift of Listening. But you must really listen. Don’t interrupt, don’t daydream, and don’t plan your response. Just listen.
The Gift of Affection. Be generous with appropriate hugs, kisses, pats on the back, and handholds. Let these small actions demonstrate the love you have for all your family and friends.
The Gift of Laughter. Clip cartoons. Share articles and funny stories. Your gift will say, “I love to laugh with you.”
The Gift of Solitude. There are times when we want nothing better than to be left alone. Be sensitive to those times and give the gift of solitude to others.
The Gift of a Favor. Every day, go out of your way to do something kind.
The Gift of a Written Note. It can be a simple “Thanks for the help” note or a full sonnet. A brief, handwritten note may be remembered for a lifetime.
The Gift of a Compliment. A simple and sincere, “You look great in red,” “You did a super job,” or “That was a wonderful meal,” can make someone’s day.
The Gift of a Cheerful Disposition. The easiest way to feel good is to extend a kind word to someone. (Author unknown).
Those who take care of their relationships build whole and happy lives.
— submitted by Rosemary Nickels
1. Time will fail me to tell of Yzuchukwu Nwaorah, the first son of Deacon Ikechukwu, who about a year after his birth was struck by a strange sickness that took him to University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital Enugu. After about six months, the doctors gave him up. If you see him on the bed, you will suppose him to be a dirty rag lying on the bed. At this time he became a study toy for the student doctors there. With no further prescription or medicine for about six more months, he suddenly began to improve on his own; and on the day he was leaving the hospital, instead of issuing a hospital bill to the parents to pay, the hospital authority issued a check of big money unto the boy with other clothing and nutritional materials as a gift.
2. What shall I say more, in February 1992, Elder Pastor F. U. Ochiaka, the Father to Pastor Izu Ukoha, was rushed from Isikwuato to Ubabike Hospital, Agbani Road, Enugu. After about two weeks of battle to save his life, the doctor gave him up because his body was not responding to all the treatments. On that fateful morning, Pastor Okolo instructed Izuchukwu, the son of the old man who is now a Pastor, but then an adult teenager, to instruct any brother or sister who came to visit the old man to report immediately at the Church premises. A handful of brethren gathered, and a cry was made unto God to spare his life. God graciously heard us and before six P.M. that day, a report came that he had begun to improve. Today, he is still a living testimony to the goodness of the Lord.
3. A lady one day came into Church at Enugu and complained to Pastor Izu Ukoha that one of her elder brothers who hadbeen over twenty years away to the United Kingdom has not been communicating with them for a very good number of years now; and that the aging parents have been so worried about it. Pastor Izu Ukoha took a handful of his praying partners to the family at Inyi in Oji River LGA and prayed for them. On the Sabbath day of December 14, 2002, the aged parents, with their two daughters and a son-in-law, stormed the Church at Enugu with a great testimony of how their son suddenly sent in a letter with other beautiful presents (gifts), and has continued to regularly phone them. Glory be to God. Amen.
— by Bonny Okolo
The following was written as a letter to the editor of the Fort Dodge, IA Messenger:
It seems that some would like to move the tracks south a bit, so that homosexuals might be on the “right” side. But, it seems to me that there are some houses still left on the “wrong” side of the tracks.
What about the prostitute who is giving “love” in her own bedroom? What about the husband and his mistress who just want to have their privacy? If they just want to express their love, what is that to you or me? It’s not their fault he was married when he found the girl of his dreams.
What about the professor and his or her student? After all, sixty-year-old actors are taking twenty-three-year-old brides. What’s the difference? Or even the high school teacher and his or her student? Who is to say they are not in love? Is it anybody’s business as long as they keep it behind closed doors?
And what about the man who has enough love for two or more wives? How dare society legislate morality for him? Let’s also not forget the father who wants to show his “love” for his daughter in an intimate way, again, behind closed doors; or the brother and sister who have that “special relationship.”
But wait, what about the man who just wants to show his special love for little boys or little girls? As long as there is love, isn’t it OK?
Where shall the line be drawn between right and wrong? To draw it anywhere is to establish a standard, and any line drawn will be viewed by someone, somewhere as intolerant and judgmental. To proclaim that there is no absolute truth is to establish the very thing being denied.
Read the Ten Commandments. God is intolerant. “Thou shalt not.” Doesn’t that exclude someone? Doesn’t that establish a standard, a railroad track with a good and bad side?
The only other option is to stand for nothing. And you know what happens then.
— by Pastor Ray Salemink
Eagle Grove, IA
Greetings: I am here to make a brief report of the Sabbath service held on 5th July 2003. Our guest was Dr. Darlene Reddaway, who is an American national that lives in Russia and Estonia. She was on a brief visit to our hometown ofMadras.
A special highlight of the service was singing hymns we had translated to our language, Tamil (hymns sung in Worldwide, which were composed by Dwight Armstrong). The music was the same tune, only the language was different. Most of the brethren sang in Tamil and a few in English. Ms. Reddaway was sometimes singing in Russian along with us. It was so wonderful, it appeared to be harmonious.
We were getting prepared for the feast where there would not be any differences in hymn singing, where the western brethren could sing along with us. This was the first maiden attempt and it was successful. Some of the hymns we sung were, Praise Ye the Lord Almighty, I Will Praise Thee Eternal, and Blessed is the Nation God is For. Please continue to pray for us. Thanks.
— by M.R.Hubert
Madras 600024 India
What could cause an individual to neglect God and not take time to worship Him? There are many factors, such as entertainment, hobbies, etc. that can cause this to occur, but I wanted to focus on one in particular point: we are in danger by living in the United States. Since we are a wealthy nation compared to the rest of the world, it would be easy for us as a nation, as well as individuals, to get wrapped up in the material world that we live in. The Bible has something to say about being enticed by riches. Let’s see what it says:
In Deuteronomy 31:20, Moses gave the people of Israel a warning and prophecy. He said, “For when I shall have them into the land which I swore unto their fathers, that flow with milk and honey; they shall eat and be filled themselves, and wax fat: then they will turn unto other gods, and serve them, provoking me, and break my covenant.” Here we see that Moses was warning the people that when their nation took over the Promised Land, and became a prosperous nation, the nation would turn to worship other gods and forget the True God who provided their wealth.
In Hosea 13:6 it states, “According to their pasture, so were they filled; and their heart was exalted; therefore have forgotten Me.” This was spoken to Ephraim around 743 B.C. at the height of their prosperity. At this time, Ephraim was the northern part of what was the nation of Israel and, like Judah, it was forgetting the True God.
The Abingdon Bible Commentary, 1929, page 767 comments, “Israel’s pride has gone before a fall and idolatry brings extinction. In prosperity, Israel’s Benefactor is forgotten.”
I encourage you to research the fall of Israel and study the conditions that it was in when they fell as a divided nation. It is an interesting study. Jesus also commented on this concept in many of his teachings.
In Mark 10:24-25, Jesus stated: “Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the Kingdom of God! It is easier for the camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God.” Note that He uses the word “trust” in this comment.
Also, in Luke 12:16-21, Jesus was asked by an individual to mediate between his brother and himself over their inheritance. He warned the person about being greedy. Then He said, “The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully, and he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, this I will do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there I will bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those tings be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
You will note, in the last several verses quoted, that the man never acknowledged God for any of the riches that he had gained, nor offered to share it with any one else. He believed that these riches would take care of him for years and years; but God was not pleased with this attitude.
We do know of many individuals in the Old Testament such as Job, Abraham, Jacob, and King David, that had wealth, but were close to God. They knew where their blessings came from and that, even though wealth is not evil in itself, absolute trust in it is evil. Wealth is one form of blessing from God and, if handled with the proper attitude, can be a very good thing to have. That is how many individuals in the Bible were blessed by God. Research this topic further. You may find it very interesting on how the Word of God views wealth and how to handle it.
— by Doyle J. Carter
True Tales to Live By…
In a reflecting mood the other day, I remembered a conversation with a friend of mine, Earl Marlatt, a hymn writer. I had heard of a student who once asked him if he had honestly ever known a hymn to have any practical value.
“Well,” he said, wanting to be strictly statistical, “I know one that saved four lives.”
“Oh, yeah?” the student said, “How come?”
I shall let him answer for you, as he did for me. “It was in the summer of 1916,” Earl said. “I was in Rushville, IN, where the Royal Welsh Male Chorus was giving a concert for the local Chautauqua Association. They concluded their program with a hymn, Abide With Me, sung by a quartet to a low, intermittently surging accompaniment by the chorus. Such a finale seemed strange at a Wednesday evening musicale, which featured rollicking choruses rather than sacred music. I was puzzled and interested. Looking up the director, I asked him why he had closed the program with a hymn.
“‘We always end it that way,’ he said. ‘It’s almost a rite with us.’
“With a newspaperman’s persistence, I carried on until I got the story.
“‘We were on the Lusitania,’ he said, ‘when it was torpedoed in the Irish Sea. We saw a crosswise ripple on the waves and heard a muffled explosion below. A few minutes later, the boat began to list. We understood and decided to act at once. Having been reared on the Welsh coast, we were excellent swimmers. So we put on our life belts and planned to dive from the deck rail before the liner sank. We mapped out our course in detail. We would swim under water as far as possible and meet out of range of the suction we knew would follow the sinking of the ship.
“‘We were just in time. As we came up with in a few yards of each other and looked back, we saw the Lusitania stand for a second and then dropped terribly, shriekingly into the sea. We swam furiously on and on together. A damaged life raft floated out to us. It was useless except as something to cling to when we were tired of floating or treading water. All the rescue boats missed us. The sun set over the spot where the Lusitania had been. It was suddenly dark and very cold.
“‘Our fingers, and eventually our bodies, grew numb. We clung to the life raft with increasing difficulty. Without a light or a sound on the sea we gave up hope of rescue and grudgingly admitted as much to each other. Being Christians, we wanted a sacrament at a time like that. None of us felt good enough to pray. But we often quietly sang sacred songs. We agreed to sing one stanza of a hymn and then slip quietly, together, into the sea. We chose: “Abide with me; fast falls the eventide; The darkness deepens, Lord with me abide! When other helpers fail and comforts flee, Help of the helpless, O abide with me.”
“‘As we finished the stanza, a claxon sounded. Our voices, carrying out over the sea, had reached a torpedo-boat destroyer cruising over the spot where the, Lusitania had sunk. We took heart and sang the remaining stanzas.
“‘Guided by the music of the hymn, the crew of the destroyer steered directly to us, picked us up, and carried us safely to shore.
“‘After that we feel that the least we can do is use that hymn as a benediction for our concerts.’
“And he had gone, leaving me the memory of a hymn which saved four lives with its deathless benediction.”
— by Skip Westphal
Children, according to the Bible, are a heritage from God. They are a special treasure to us. Yet we as a society do not treasure our children and do not consider them as a gift from God. In too many families, parents think of their children as an afterthought, if they consider them at all. They are seen more as a problem rather than a heritage.
Our children should be a joy to our life. We should delight in them as we nourish them and see them grow. What parent has not looked at their new baby and thought that their baby is the most beautiful and perfect child ever born? We lovingly take care of them and wait for them to walk, talk, and start moving out into the world.
As parents, it’s difficult for us because we can’t always protect them each minute when they’re away from us, at school, play, or as they grow older and move away from the home.
We have to let them learn, and even when they make mistakes, sometimes we have to just stand by and do nothing. But as Christians, we put our children in God’s hands, and ask Him to protect them and give them wisdom and understanding.
Our job is not done though. We have to set good examples for them and let them know we love them and that we’ll always be there for them, no matter what. We also have to properly discipline our children and “Train up a child in the way he should go,” Proverbs 22:6.
There is an excellent booklet titled “University of the Home,” written by James McBride and is available from Churches of God Outreach Ministries at www.cgom.org or CGOM, P.O. Box 54621. Tulsa, OK 74011-0621. The following are some excerpts from this booklet:
“What happens if you simply stand all year and look at your garden? The weeds grow right up to your knees! And what happens if a young sapling is left to grow unattended, without staking, without pruning, without training? It becomes unshapely, unfruitful and wild. So, too, poor habits grow in us and our children unless we are actively cultivating and pruning!
“The foundation of knowledge about children is wrapped in the great mystery of the Bible – that man is destined to become a part of God’s own family. This awesome fact illuminates everything we can say about right training for our children.
“Consider the British Royal Family. The infant Prince Charles was prepared over a long span of years for the highest office in the land. He was carefully schooled in the trappings of the office, even how to smile and wave in public. He was trained for kingship. How closely this parallels the offspring of true Christians.
“Our children are born into a royal dynasty of the spirit; or they are adopted into it at our baptism. And we can have the expectation that they all will be ‘kings and priests unto God.’ This is the goal that we as parents must constantly bear in mind for them. Our children are to be trained for kingship!
“All aspects of child-rearing, not simply discipline, are essential. However, it requires discipline. It requires first that parents discipline themselves. If you want a tranquil home and all the other benefits, plus our heavenly Father’s commendation, then the training of our family must be at the top of our agenda. As Christians, the ‘nurture and admonition’ of our children must be a prime consideration. Our homes must become a ‘university of kingship.’ And we parents must become skilled teachers.”
This subject will be continued in next month’s issue of this newsletter. There are training goals for parents, guidelines for disciplining children, and other aspects of child rearing, which will be included next time. “Our children are a precious gift from God, and heirs to a divine destiny. Let’s not neglect such a treasure!”
— by Shelby Faith
(Sabbath Lesson Activity Sheets are included elsewhere in this newsletter.)
Dear friends, stories like the one below just break my heart. I would like to think such stories are a rare occurrence. I fear they are not. A sixteen year-old boy, Jason, from Philadelphia was robbed, and then brutally bludgeoned to death by some of his so-called “friends.”
The motive was money for drugs. Three of Jason’s friends who he had grown up with, and his new fifteen year-old girlfriend of two weeks, Justina, concocted a plan to rob Jason of five hundred dollars cash he had just earned working a construction job with his father.
Justina lured Jason to a field behind some industrial buildings in a well-kept, blue-collar section of Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love. She had promised him some sex. As she began undressing, his three friends (aged sixteen, sixteen, and seventeen) sneaked up behind Jason and struck him in the head, using a hatchet, hammer, and a brick. He was beaten so severely, he was not recognizable. It was a closed casket funeral service.
According to Jason’s mother, Jason wanted his Mom to meet his new girlfriend, whom he thought was a nice girl. According to Mom, Jason had come home from school in the third grade without his jacket. Jason explained he had given it to another little boy who had no jacket and was cold. Mom said Jason stayed that way as he grew up. He was looking forward to turning seventeen when he could enlist in the Navy to become a SEAL. He was the sweetest person you’d ever want to meet.
Now, I don’t suppose Jason was an angel and Mom’s love probably covered over some flaws. However, the mother of one of the assailants was equally impressed with Jason. He had eaten and slept at her house. She said Jason was the most decent kid that her son knew. She could not believe anyone would harm Jason, much less her own son.
Living in a world which does not know the God of Abraham, or the value of life, can be a tragedy even for the innocent among us. Jesus was our perfect example.
I grieve today for Jason and his family, but I also grieve for Justina and Jason’s friends and families. They will suffer man’s justice, being tried as adults. I can only hope they will receive God’s mercy, for could they possibly really know what they did? Who is going to help these kids, lost in our godless world, find peace and joy through Christ our Lord?
It makes me want to cry in utter frustration. My own student, a fatherless fourteen year-old boy, Michael, is already into drugs and living in a world where Snoop Doggie Dog is King and Jesus is irrelevant and of no importance. I pray I can be a light to Mike. I pray I may help prevent another such headline from the lost side of our society; even just one.
Please look for someone who needs a little love (including the lost sheep and the wolves) where you live and be kind, even in this unkind world.
— by Kenny Kitzke
Ten Commandments of Human Relations
1. Speak to people.
2. Smile at people.
3. Call people by name.
4. Be friendly.
5. Be cordial.
6. Be genuine.
7. Be generous.
8. Be considerate.
9. Be alert.
10. Have a sense of humor.
Years ago, a boy had a crush on a girl named Laura Mae in his high school freshman class. It was a farm community and everybody planted gardens. They also protected them with scarecrows. Each family tried to make its scarecrow the most lifelike and original. Riding home on the school bus one afternoon, they rounded the curve near Laura Mae’s house and her parent’s garden came into view. There, in the middle of the rows, was a figure dressed in an old straw hat, ragged overalls, and a faded checked shirt. A hoe was stuck under his right arm, adding authenticity.
In an effort to gain favor with the girl he loved, this boy said, “Laura Mae, your Daddy never has to worry about crows in his garden; anything that ugly will keep everything away.” And right at that moment, the scarecrow began hoeing. Laura Mae is married now, but not to that boy.
— by author unknown
What’s in a Word…
1. The bandage was wound around the wound.
2. The farm was used to produce produce.
3. The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
4. We must polish the Polish furniture.
5. He could lead if he would get the lead out.
Penned from Prison…
This column will feature guest writers from U.S. prisons and may be edited for length or clarification.
Hello, my name is Michael. I am a twenty-two year-old man with a long story! I am currently doing time in a prison and would like to tell you all I can about my life. I am a fellow Christian and was saved when was in the county jail. See,I am in here for a shooting that has a story in itself. Now I am not proud of my actions and I was facing one hundred twenty-five years, but by God’s grace, I was spared and got only 5 years!
But see, here is where one of my stories begins. It’s about gangbanging (functioning within a gang). I won’t get into names and such, but I shall focus on the problem and the solution. I gangbanged since I was ten years old. I have been in and out of jail since then! I’ve donedope, livedon the streets, etc., but mainly, it was because I chose to or I was running from the law. Back then, I wasn’t saved. I followed Satan. I had a satanic bible, and witchcraft books, and I practiced it all. But all I learned from gangbanging and satanic practices was to hate. I forgot what love really meant. I hated my family. I lost my beloved wife, Tony, who has our loved son Elijah. I almost ruined my life. Yes, when I was between 10 and 15 years old, I thought banging was the stuff, the dope, the money, homeboyz, and girls.
Well, it started in 6th grade. I was into the nerd trip and got tired of being picked on, and the people I loved really weren’t there at the time for me. So I found a dude who we will call Joe and we started a gang and it got big, 200 deep. Well I started getting into fights, getting bad grades, and learning how to hate. When I turned ten, I was locked up for the first time. I spent a year down, then I got out. Well the gang I was in did something and fell apart. By this time, my people were telling me that “you will never be anything, you’re worthless,” and you know what? I believed them, so I ran away. See, I was on probation and I got caught. So I spent another six months down. I turned fifteen and got involved in an organization that took me to new heights. By now, I hated everyone and everything.
I had the street smarts and knew how to survive. I got some more boys and got into the guns. Well, I ran away again and started shooting at dudes that messed with me and the homies (homeboyz). They were my family. I got busted and sent to jail for three years. I got out and stayed clean for two years, and then I got involved in a major crime that almost cost me my life. Now most of my family has disowned me. My homeboyz too. You think “Oh my dogs will stick with me.” No, they will abandon you too. Then you are left alone in prison to do your time. Well I banged in prison too and did some things that got me into trouble. I got involved with a prison gang. I almost lost my life because of something I did for them. I lost all feelings. I didn’t care. I’ve tried suicide but death fled from me.
Finally, when I was in county jail, facing some time, I gave my life to God. I forsook my gang life and my hatred. Now God has freed my heart from Satan’s hold. I feel love again, and kindness. The only one I need to prove myself to is God and His Son, Jesus. I suffered because of my own hand. Now I suffer for Christ. Jesus suffered for us. I owe Him my life for His loving mercy. I am not perfect, but I am still working on that. God is more powerful than any gang and any hate. Love conquers all. God allowed me to go through these things so that I may help others, such as my brother.
See, because of my actions, there was a consequence and that was my brother who was following in my footsteps. I am trying to turn him away from this life because look at mine. Mine is ruined. I lost my wife, my son, most of my family, and I never got to see the world around me, because I never left my homeboyz. Now I am what you would call one of the forgotten ones. As they say, man may know my number, but God knows my name.
— by Michael #K-97054
Connected to the Vine
Are you connected to the vine that brings you life?
Have you seen a limb or vine twisted so much that you would think there was no life left in it? Yet a single green leaf grows from it. It is amazing that life can grow from a twisted mangled form. Is God showing, through trials and hurts, that there is life?
John 15:1-2 says: “I am the true Vine, and my Father is the Husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit He taketh away, and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.”
I wonder why people go through tests and trials. If we are Christians, we will have tests and trials! How will you make it? You, and the rest of the Christians, will make it. You trusted in God, were baptized, and His Spirit dwells in you. He has said He will neither leave you nor forsake you. He promises that. So when trials are here and testing occurs, remember, just like the fruit connected to a mangled branch still develops fruit, you must stay connected to the true Vine, Jesus Christ!
— by Danny Foreman
There are literally thousands of nonprofit charity organizations all over the world, each striving to change the lives of disadvantaged children and adults living in under- or undeveloped parts of the globe. Many good hearted people that believe in helping others are often so overwhelmed by the number of choices, that they instead do nothing, not knowing which organizations they should support. Other people see needs in their own communities that are not being met, and decide to form their own organizations to address the problems they see around them. Christ instructed us to feed, clothe, and visit the poor, widows, orphans, and strangers in this world, and by so doing, we are doing these good deeds unto Christ Himself, Matthew 24:34-46; James 1:27. If you would like to help others, but are unsure how, the following list of suggestions may help you to get started:
1. Ask God for guidance to choose an area in which to help. There are so many ways to help people that it can be difficult to decide where you can help. Pray and seek God’s guidance to decide where He wants you to help. For example, if you feel called to help with children, specifically orphans, you can start looking for organizations that specialize in helping orphans.
2. Consider what resources or special skills you have to offer. This is an important aspect of charity work. If we are not financially well-off, which most of us are not, it does not mean that we cannot help others. Time is an invaluable resource that we all possess. Our donation of time to an organization, event, or project is priceless. Also, we may possess countless other skills that are useful to any organization, such as: do you have computer skills and can you offer your time to type things for organizations or even teach classes on basic computer skills?
Do you have contacts with hospitals, businesses, schools, or other organizations so that you can help to collect valuable donations for numerous types of charity organizations? Do you have clothes in your closet that aren’t being used that could go to a good cause? Even our blood is something that other people may need. The skills and resources each one of us possesses are endless, and all can help someone in this world.
3. Research organizations thoroughly. Unfortunately, not all registered charity organizations are on the up-and-up. Many use their name to collect money and the money never goes anywhere except to the founder’s pockets. All U.S. nonprofit organizations are required to have their corporate financial records open to the public. Many post their financial statements on their Web sites, showing just where they spend their donated dollars. If you’re interested in a particular organization, read all of their printed material carefully, check their goals, and definitely look at their financial records. The majority of their donations should be going to their advertised purposes. Remember though, that all organizationshave expenses, so don’t expect to see 100% of donations going to their intended recipients. It may help to talk to someone in the organization, or someone who volunteers for them, to get more information and to find out how you can help.
4. Get started! After you have decided what kind of charity work you are interested in, what resources you have to offer, what kind of time or monetary commitments you are able to make, and which organization or organizations you want to work with, all that is left is to get started! If you’re working with fundraising and have no idea where to start, there are many resources available in your public library or on the Internet. If you’re volunteering to work with an organization, contact them and sign up to help. If you’ve decided to make regular financial donations to a particular organization, contact them to find out how. Many large organizations even offer automatic electronic withdrawals from your paycheck and many employers offer matching funds for these charities.
5. Consider a leadership position.If you have previous volunteer or fundraising experience, you may decide to get involved in the leadership of an organization. Most charity organizations have a board of directors that supervises activities and makes important decisions. Committees are also a tool that organizations use frequently, and they always need a chairperson or volunteers. You would need to contact the current board of directors or committee heads to find out if positions are open, or to suggest a new committee to the board. Being in a leadership position is not easy, as it often involves making difficult decisions and working with people who have differing ideas from ours, but it can be very rewarding. You can really make a difference as a leader.
6) Start your own organization! Whether you’ve already done charity work or have always wanted to and just haven’t, you may have noticed needs in your community, Church, school, place of employment, age or ethnic group, etc. that just aren’t being met by any organization. If this is the case, you should consider starting your own organization. It’s not as hard as it sounds, and there are hundreds of reliable resources on the Internet that can help you get started. The basic steps in forming a U.S. nonprofit charity organization are as follows:
Www.nolo.com is a great on-line resource for general legal information and information on nonprofit organizations. You will need to contact your state’s Secretary of State office for forms and rules that apply to your state’s nonprofit organizations.
Whatever you decide to do to help others will benefit not only them, but also yourself. Helping others takes our focus off ourselves and opens our eyes to just how blessed we are. The majority of people on this planet do not have access to many of the things that we take for granted such as electricity, books, running water, and education for their children.
God has said that He will reward those that help the needy, although this should not be our motivation for doing so, Psalm 112:9; Proverb 19:17, 28:27. Nor should the fact that God says He will punish those that don’t help the poor be our motivation, Proverb 21:13, 28:27. We should help because we want to help, and because all Christians should put others before themselves. By helping, we are showing the world that it truly is better to give than to receive, and we are making the world a better place, if only for just one other person.
— by Barbara Parada
Close to You, Inc.
His name was Fleming, and he was a poor Scottish farmer. One day, while trying to make a living for his family, he heard a cry for help coming from a nearby bog. He dropped his tools and ran to the bog.
There, mired to his waist in black muck, was a terrified boy, screaming and struggling to free himself. Farmer Fleming saved the lad from what could have been a slow and terrifying death.
The next day, a fancy carriage pulled up to the Scotsman’s sparse surroundings. An elegantly dressed nobleman stepped out and introduced himself as the father of the boy Farmer Fleming had saved. “I want to repay you,” said the nobleman. “You saved my son’s life.
“No, I can’t accept payment for what I did,” the Scottish farmer replied, waving off the offer.
At that moment, the farmer’s own son came to the door of the family hovel. “Is that your son?” the nobleman asked.
“Yes,” the farmer replied proudly.
“I’ll make you a deal. Let me provide him with the level of education my own son will enjoy. If the lad is anything like his father, he’ll no doubt grow to be a man we both will be proud of.” And that he did.
Farmer Fleming’s son attended the very best schools and in time, from St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School in London, and went to become known throughout the world as the noted Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of Penicillin.
Years afterward, the same nobleman’s son who was saved from the bog was stricken with pneumonia. What saved his life this time?
The name of the nobleman? Lord Randolph Churchill.
His son’s name? Sir Winston Churchill.
Someone once said: What goes around comes around. Work like you don’t need the money. Love like you’ve never been hurt. Dance like nobody’s watching. Sing like nobody’s listening. Live like it’s Heaven on Earth. May there always be work for your hands to do; May your purse ! always hold a coin or two; May the sun always shine on your windowpane; May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain; May the hand of a friend always be near you; May God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.
Lake Texoma, OK
Contact: Steve Kieler
San Antonio, TX
Contact: Julian Cruz
Lake of the Ozarks, MO
Contact: Duke Schneider
Mountain View, AR
Contact: Wayne Holmes
866-821-9380 or 870-251-2431
Rancho Santa Barbara, California
In the Santa Ynez Mountains
Contact: David Antion
800-638-8882 or 805-688-1000
* Please submit articles or activities about your local Church group. Pictures welcome.