Church of God News
Positive News of the Churches of God
In This Issue…
Needs from India | Outreach Europe | Mid-Missouri COG | True Tales to Live By | Go It Alone | Youth | LCG News | Together with Father | COG Author’s List | Taking It for Granted | Lessons from Nightmares
The Heavens Declare
From the tiniest hummingbird to the massive condor, our skies are alive with the sound of God’s music.
“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth His handiwork,” Psalm 19:1.
David may have thought twice about writing that statement if a red-breasted alarm clock went off outside his bedroom window at four every morning.
If I can catch the robin that wakes me up, I’ll rewire his brain so he stays in the nest until at least 7:30. Eight o’clock would be better.
Then there’s that noisy crow. I’m convinced the robin wakes him up to take over when redbreast’s vocal chords give out.
It’s like the Second World War song: Oh How I Hate to Get up in the Morning. Older Life Lines readers will remember the lyrics: “One day I’m going to murder the bugler. One day they’re going to find him dead. And then I’ll get the other pup, the guy who wakes the bugler up, and spend the rest of my life in bed.”
Seriously now, David likely had a chorus of birds to wake him up in the morning, and delighted in every chirp and cheep. A missionary in Central America told me she woke up each day to a morning medley of birds running around on the tin roof of their cottage.
Imagine, for a moment, what it would be like if no birds sang. Why, we’d be able to hear the roar of traffic going by, and of aircraft flying over. We’d even be able to hear the television without cranking it up to ear-splitting volumes. But wait! We can do that now. The difference is it would be nothing but dead sound without the music of our feathered friends.
Herring gulls squawk as they soar over our home. Cardinals and saucy blue jays flash their brilliant colors as they fly by, and often land for our enjoyment in a nearby tree. Sparrows cheep, and crimson finches sing a song no man could hope to imitate.
High in the sky the skree, skree, skree, of eagles directs our eyes heavenward, to watch them soar effortlessly on a thermal, as the song from the musical Oklahoma says: “Making lazy circles in the sky.” The honking of Canada geese sends us to the nearest window to watch as a graceful V forms, then fades into the distance.
Then there are the redwings, the killdeer, the grackles, and starlings, all vying for attention in their own marvelous ways. The shining flash of a goldfinch, the intense orange of a Baltimore oriole, and the black and red of the scarlet tanager all remind us of David’s beautiful psalm: “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth His handiwork,” Psalm 19:1.
Imagine again, this time considering what the future holds. The apostle Paul wrote, “No one has seen, nor heard, nor even imagined what God has prepared for those who love him,” I Corinthians 2:9. But the prophet Isaiah gives us a glimpse of it. He wrote: “The wolf will live with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the baby goat, and a little child shall lead the calf, and the young lion, and the fatling together. The cow and the bear shall feed, their young ones will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox,” Isaiah 11:6-7, Author’s Translation. And we might add the most ravenous hawk will be gentle as a tiny junco.
That’s all ahead of us in the world tomorrow, yet even today we can sing with David: “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth His handiwork,” Psalm 19:1.
— by Leslie A. Turvey
Truth, they say, is the first casualty of war. We are engaged in a great spiritual warfare. All too often, we forget that Truth is not an accessory to what we strive for: Truth is all there is; God is Truth. When we minimize the Truth, we lose the battle.
In spite of our best efforts to speak the Truth, write the Truth, and live the Truth, we fall short. All the proofreading in the world will not prevent an occasional embarrassing error in our publications. Yet, we must not give up our unending quest for Truth. God will not tolerate liars in His Kingdom, Revelation 22:15. The road to becoming a liar, who loves to make a lie, starts with a casual disregard for the Truth. This leads one down the slippery slope of lies.
It is easy to recognize a weak commitment to the Truth in the Church of God today, even in little things. But remember, it is the little things that add up to big things. Many times, we say or repeat “facts” that are erroneous, and become party to spreading mis-information (a politically-correct term for “lies”). Here a few examples I have recently noticed:
A respected elder and researcher whom I know, wrote a paper, and published it on a leading COG Web site. I agree with his conclusions and appreciate his insights. However, I noticed at least three or four historical errors in his otherwise fine article. These errors were not deliberate. I E-mailed him mentioning these historical errors, encouraged him to correct them, and asked permission to reprint his adjusted article on our Web site. His reaction was shocking. He refused to correct the errors, and accused me of libeling him. I changed my mind about reprinting his article.
Is it ok for us in writing and defending the Truth of God, to accompany the Truth we teach with outright errors in fact? No, it is not ok. Oh, but you may say, I am being picky. If you think this way, then you have a problem with Truth. I should be appreciative when someone points out an error in any of our articles, and I should be more than willing to correct factual errors.
Recently, someone wrote me wondering why I at times attack common Protestant doctrines (Trinity, ever-burning hell, going to Heaven, etc.), yet at other times freely cite Protestant theologians. The answer is that I want Truth, and I do not care where Truth comes from. Protestants and Catholics, even Muslims, teach some Truth. I want Truth.
An old friend sent me an E-mail, asking my opinion about his prophetic speculations that the SDA Church is the Thyatira Era, and that Ellen G. White was “clearly” (as he said) Jezebel.
Speculation about who fits the so-called Church Eras produces no good results. It tarnishes the other Bible Truths that one may speak about and God does not want us to do such things. “No prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation,” II Peter 1:20, means that we dare not make improvable speculations about prophecies. I’m just amazed how some COG people dare to make prophetic speculations. A Jezebel is by definition a sexually immoral woman, a painted prostitute. SDA founder, Mrs. White, was the OPPOSITE of a Jezebel, a prude who pushed the Reform Dress, apparently never wore make-up in her life, and was a straight-laced proper woman of the Victorian Era. The Seven Churches of Revelation are prophetic of the entire history of the Church, and successive “eras” (a non-Biblical word) may exist side by side, but during each time period, one Church “attitude” (that is a better word to use) dominates. The Laodicean condition dominates our time, and that is the main message for us today.
After I pointed out these things to my friend, he said I appeared to be bitter or jealous. However, I only want to teach, dwell on, and practice, things that I can prove from the Bible. How happy Satan must be when God’s people dwell on prophetic speculations!
Then there was the time when Herbert W. Armstrong labeled himself a false prophet. It was during the late 1950s or early 1960s. He preached on the radio this message:
“A terrible famine is coming on the United States that is going to ruin us as a nation inside of less than twenty more years. Alright, I stuck my neck out right there. You just wait twenty years and see whether I told you the truth. God says, if a man tells you what’s going to happen, wait and see. If it doesn’t happen, he was not speaking the word of God, he’s speaking out of his own mind. If it happens, you’ll know God sent him.”
The twenty years is long past! Herbert Armstrong labeled himself a false prophet. This is one of his many documented false prophecies. Only the Almighty knows how much more effective Armstrong’s ministry would have been, had he avoided making false prophetic speculations out of his own mind.
When even small factual errors are not corrected, the state of Truth in the Church of God is in sad shape. A large organization’s official doctrinal paper on which day is Pentecost, stated in error that Sivan 6 can fall on virtually any day of the week. Anyone familiar with the Hebrew Calendar, which the group in question follows, knows that this is not true. Sivan 6 can fall on only four days of the week. When I wrote headquarters, respectfully pointing out this error (which was inconsequential to their overall conclusion), the reply back was that their (inaccurate) statement was only a “matter of semantics” (word game). They refused to correct even this inconsequential error.
Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi, in his Endtime Issues No. 101, says: “Does God Teach Truth by Means of Falsehood? The quality of the books of the Bible does not lend support to the charge of falsification of their content. Such a notion is abhorrent to the Christian conscience that has not been dulled by the presuppositions of liberal critics. Even critics recognize that the moral and religious teachings of the Bible are the best this world has known. It is inconceivable that God, who is altogether just and holy, would teach truths about Himself by means of myths, sagas, falsified history, which are not true to life or history.
“If the critics are right, then much of the Pentateuch was written by several deceptive writers and redactors, who lived at different times and places, but who schemed together to attribute the finished product to Moses. Can God sanction such dishonest means and pious fraud to communicate His truths? Could He allow His people to be fed falsehood for centuries? If the critics were right that there is no truth in the story of creation, of the Fall, the Flood, the call of Abraham, or the work of Moses, then God has been an arch-deceiver, conniving with evil to accomplish His purpose. Such a concept is abhorrent and repulsive to any one who believes in the righteous God of the Bible.”
Remember that Truth is not the result of a bad attitude. Truth does not have an emotional quality. It is the Truth! Let us all speak the Truth in Love, Ephesians 4:15.
— by Richard C. Nickels
Greetings. How are you? We will be observing the Feast here, and in the planning and preparation, I thought it would make our Feast a bit more interesting and wonderful if we found these things (that) are needed for us. If you could send these things, or some of them, it would be fine. The reason we ask you to do it now (is) because it takes a long time for the things you send to travel to this part of the world. Most of the brethren are (in areas of) poor and drought hit conditions.
We need colognes, soaps, stain remover, first aid materials, children’s play things, balloons, party games, colored pencils, toys, biscuits in tins, chocolates in tins, cheese in tins, dry fruits, etc., anything which would make the Feast happy. Please do not send any liquor, which may be stolen in transit. Please pray for us.
These photos were taken during the baptisms done in an AIDS village. The brethren who were baptized were HIV infected, and some are care-givers to their spouses. The baptism was done by Mr. Wade Fransson who is an ex-WCG minister. We baptized around thirteen people in that town and two other brethren in a different town. This is the brief message. Thanks. Keep in touch.
— by M. R. Hubert.
5 Buddha Street
Madras 600024 India
The Churches of God, UK (COGUK) have, at present, a relatively minor role in the work of the Churches of God here in Europe. However, we are unusual among the Churches here in that we are not a “denomination.” COGUK is a coordinating body for any like-minded Sabbatarian independent assemblies who wish to expand their outreach and to work together in outreach to our people.
Some brethren, of course, feel more comfortable in a denominational Church, and are no less Christian for that. We are all one Body in Christ. Each, in our own way, seeks to live out the Bible teaching as we perceive it.
Through our association with the Outreach Ministries (CGOM) we have a wider impact worldwide:
Our outreach is restrained within a very limited budget. However, our plan is to expand the circulation over the next few years. Clearly, this means higher costs, postage, stationery, time, extra literature for those who respond, etc. It also means we are dependent on our readers for support!
If you profit from our work and wish to see it expand we ask you to partner us by helping to provide the needed resources. We especially welcome the support of any small groups “out there.” “A three-fold cord is not quickly broken,” Ecclesiastes 4:12!
— by James McBride, England
All or most of the members of the congregation were formerly associated with the old WCG, CGI, or GCG until 1997. MMCG was formed over a period of months, between November 1997 and February 1998. Some of us, who had known each other in a former organization, started meeting on the Sabbath, and made the decision to establish a new Church. This new Church would be for brethren who shared the same doctrinal beliefs, and were in agreement on how services would be conducted. We have incorporated, and rely heavily on direction from our Board of Trustees. Board meetings are completely open to all members of the congregation.
Our mission, initially, was to provide a set time and location for Sabbath Services in our local area, and also to establish a means of communicating with the scattered brethren. Our immediate goals were to send out a monthly publication, The Ozark Letter, provide a local outreach radio program, and have our own Web site as soon as possible.
We try to provide a comfortable meeting facility for our congregation, and for visitors, but great emphasis is also placed on our weekly radio broadcast, our main evangelistic effort, long-distance communication via our newsletter, and our Web site: www.mmcg.org. We feel that our Web site is very effective. We stay involved in local communities by being actively involved in such things as a Pregnancy Help Center.
At first there were only four of us meeting in homes, then quickly two more. But eventually we had a core group of 12 people each Sabbath. We are a small group, but feel very blessed.
We sometimes gather with other Churches for special occasions, usually at a selected point that is not more than a two or three hour drive. We have observed the Holy Days with other Missouri Sabbatarian congregations, and more often than not, our congregation has been the host since we are in a central location.
The Ozark Letter started out with the April 1998 issue. It is our means of communication with brethren that we have known in the past, those we learn about that reside in remote areas, or for various reasons are unable to leave their homes. We try to keep it simple; something of a friendly nature, and a means of sending out various announcements and articles. Our circulation at this time is 200 with 20 or more going to foreign countries.
MMCG is shown in the Church directories of some of the local newspapers, and when we advertise any special event, it is always open to the public. In addition to the Prison Ministry correspondence, The Ozark Letter is also mailed to four public libraries, three county jails, and five care centers.
We host a Feast site at the new Baymont Inn at Lake Ozark (see list on last page or check our Web site for more information). We are a small group, but God blesses us with help and talent during the Feast. It is a blessing for us to be able to sponsor such an event.
— by Duke (W.L.) Schneider
Mid-Missouri Church of God
Ambrose and Diane Whaley, left
Charleen and Clancy Gitthens, right
To the Editor…
Just wanted to write to say how much I appreciate the Church of God Newsletter. It is so good to read POSITIVE things. There are so many negative articles and comments in some publications that it is a refreshing change to see a newsletter that encourages and helps. Keep up the good work!
— by Sarah McBride, England
The relationship between the median composite scaled scores for home school students, Catholic/Private school students, and the nation, is shown in the Figure 1. At each grade level, the test performance of Catholic/Private school students is above the national performance levels, especially in the higher grade levels. Also, at each grade level, the performance of home school students is above the performance levels of students enrolled in Catholic/Private schools. The differences between these groups are considerable. For example, the median score for 7th graders nationwide is 239; for Catholic/Private school students the median is 257; for home school students the median is 276. Another way to look at this chart is to examine the grades corresponding to a given composite score. A composite scale score of 250, for example, is typical of a home school student in Grade 6, a Catholic/Private school student in Grade 7 and students nationwide in the later stages of grade 8.
The grade equivalent score comparisons for home school students and the nation are shown in Figure 2. In grades one through four, the median ITBS/TAP composite scaled scores for home school students are a full grade above that of their public/private school peers. The gap starts to widen in grade five. By the timehome school studentsreach grade 8, their median scores arealmost 4 grade equivalents abovetheir public/private school peers.
— provided by COG Home School
Another good article on home schooling can be found on the Internet by searching “Quickverse 4.0.” Scroll down to and click on “The Hard Questions,” then “Home Education.” It is written by Craig Rairden, creator of Quickverse 4.0.
True Tales to Live By…
The founder of the chain of JCPenney stores had to make a critical decision when, as a young man of 21, his doctor told him that he had a serious lung condition and that he would have to leave for Colorado where the climate would be better for his health. He finally secured a position in a dry goods store for a salary of $6 a week. Imagine a position that paid him only a dollar a day. Even in those days a dollar a day was scarcely enough to live on.
Several months later, he learned of a butcher shop for sale in Longmont, Colorado. His savings amounted to $300, just enough to purchase the shop.
One day, one of his best customers came to see him. “Young man,” he said with a cold stare, “you are not, perhaps, aware of the fact that in return for my patronage, at my hotel, your predecessor gave me each week a bottle of whisky.”
“I’m sorry,” Penney replied, “but my conscience will not permit me to indulge in that kind of a questionable practice.”
“Well, that’s your decision,” he replied coldly. With that he turned and walked toward the door. As he put his hand on the doorknob, he turned and left Mr. Penney with this parting shot, “You must realize that I am your best customer. Without my business you will go broke.”
The chef was right. Within a short time, Penney had to close shop and look elsewhere for work. His $300 savings was gone, and Mr. Penney was penniless.
At this stage in his career, fortune smiled upon him. He heard of an opening in a Denver dry goods store. The proprietor, T.M. Callahan, not only gave him a job, but he took an interest in him and gave him some sound advice. It was Mr. Callahan who was responsible for starting Mr. Penney on a career that eventually led to the establishment of the nationwide chain of JCPenney Stores.
An incident such as this suggests the question, “What if James C. Penney had not listened to the voice of his conscience and had decided to bribe the chef with his weekly bottle of whiskey? Would his meat business have prospered sufficiently so that he would have been satisfied to spend his life as a small town butcher?”
There is little doubt but that his decision not to bribe the chef with a bottle of whiskey was the turning point in his career. Of this we can be sure, it was his principles of honesty and fair dealing that made J. C. Penney one of the most successful businessmen of the century.
Years ago I published a book entitled, “Crystal Rain from Black Clouds.” It contains thirty-two stories as illustrations of the truth of that saying by the poet Nizami.
It is a comfort to realize that in the life of J. C. Penney, that great good has often resulted from unhappy experiences. It’s good now and then for us to repeat the words of the poet Nizami, “In the hour of adversity, be not without hope for crystal rain falls from black clouds.”
— by Skip Westphal
Businesses usually begin small. The renowned Marks and Spencer, for example, began as a street market stall. But it didn’t stay that way, and is now famous in many nations.
An achievement like that needs a large dose of the “entrepreneurial spirit.” It needs true grit, commitment, vision, and determination. It can withstand ups and downs, success and reversal. A further ingredient is to grasp an unoccupied “market niche.”
There’s a lesson here for those Christians who are “scattered,” and who lack opportunity for regular fellowship with other like-minded Christians. And that opens up a “market niche!”
Some of the first Christians faced the same challenge. Take, for example, the encounter Jesus had with a woman at Sychar in Samaria, John 4. She believed and was an instrument in bringing many of her neighbors to faith. Also, consider the Ethiopian eunuch, Acts 8. He encountered Philip (one of the brethren scattered from Jerusalem because of persecution) who instructed him in the faith, baptized him, and sent him on his way far south. Likely, from this lone Christian, the Ethiopian church blossomed.
Then there are the other brethren scattered nationwide by the persecution Paul initiated. We are told they “went everywhere preaching the Word,” Acts 8:4. No wonder the Gospel spread like wildfire!
It’s a bit scary to express your faith to friends and neighbors, much as you would like to do so. And especially so if you have been schooled to believe that this is “a job for the minister.” In fact, personally passing on the message of Jesus to others is a significant way for every Christian to spread the Good News. In other words, to evangelize. You don’t need permission!
The people of God are scattered nationwide, even worldwide. Too many of us, however, are mute. Let’s be like Paul who was bold to say “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.” Spirit Power by definition is that God’s Spirit works in every Christian. And it’s by means of the Spirit that God does His work. Records the prophet Zechariah: “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit says the LORD of Hosts,” Zechariah 4:6. God, if we allow, can work through each of us. Money isn’t an object. Neither a powerful organization nor a plush headquarters is necessary. The apostle Peter urges us to: “. . . be ready always to givean answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear,” I Peter 3:15. So, when conversing with others, make it plain that you are a follower of Jesus, and be well armed with an understanding of God’s Word. Study it. Get sound explanatory literature. Who knows whether, or when, the seed will germinate. But keep on sowing!
Your “reward” may be a new fellowship of God’s people where you are. Recapture the entrepreneurial spirit of the early church!
— by James McBride, England
In order to raise our children properly, we must first learn to discipline ourselves and set the right example for our children. If you just stand and look at your garden all year long, it will grow weeds up to your knees.
If a young sapling is not staked, pruned, and is left unattended, it will grow unshapely, unfruitful, and wild. Without training, nurturing, and disciplining, poor habits grow in us and our children. “There has to be active cultivation.” Following is Part 2, a continuation of excerpts from a booklet entitled University of the Home, written by James McBride, and is available in its entire form at www.cgom.org.
“Besides discipline, there are other vital aspects of child rearing. For example:
“We parents are largely responsible for what our young children do and say, and the habits they develop! Our children’s destiny is, to a large extent, in our hands! Again all aspects of child rearing are essential. It’s our responsibility as parents to move steadily toward these goals. However, it does require discipline. It requires first that parents discipline themselves. If we want a tranquil home and all the other benefits, 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. Here are some suggested training goals for parents:
“This ‘Foundation Course’ of our University of the Home can be quite demanding and time consuming. Success in child rearing is greatly enhanced if we parents will first look in the mirror and take the necessary basic steps for success.”
— by Shelby Faith, firstname.lastname@example.org
(Part 3 of this will be continued next time with guidelines for disciplining our children and other aspects of child rearing. Fall Holy Days’ Activity Sheets are included elsewhere in this newsletter.)
Q. What excuse did Adam give his children as to why he no longer lived in Eden?
A. Your mother ate us out of house and home.
Q. What kind of man was Boaz before he was married?
Q. What do they call pastors in Germany?
A. German Shepherds.
Q. Who was the greatest comedian in the Bible?
A. Samson. He brought the house down.
Q. Which Bible character had no parents?
A. Joshua, son of Nun.
LCG minister Kinnear Penman sends this report on the Work in New Zealand and Vanuatu: “Responses to the Tomorrow’s World telecast have continued to average just about 100 each week during August. We are now broadcasting repeat programs. This will continue until we receive the first batch of programs recorded in the new studio being completed in the Charlotte building. We have now received responses from a total of over 10,200 individuals who have received a total of almost 50,000 items (magazines, booklets, tapes, lessons, letters, etc.) from us. Last Wednesday, I returned from a very successful trip to Vanuatu. On the Sabbath, we had 49 people in attendance at Orap village where we have a growing group of members. The Sunday following we had even more in attendance at a marriage I performed for Noel and Suzana Meten who have recently started attending with us. Their attendance entails a two hour, twelve kilometer trek through the jungle. Their village has no road access. Four people in Vanuatu are being counseled for baptism. I look forward to continuing this at the Feast of Tabernacles.
“While in Vila, I also located a room in which to hold services during the Feast. This is a fine facility and in future years we may make the Vanuatu site open to overseas visitors.”
LCG minister Jonathan McNair sent this in regarding Trinidad: “The total responses for the August 9th telecast was 148. Last week’s telecast was entitled Who Will Invade the Middle East? by Mr. Richard Ames. The booklet being offered is The Beast of Revelation. So far, we have received 61 responses. Last Sabbath we had an attendance of 54. The sermon was entitled Hold Fast to the Truth. Eight people are counseling for baptism.”
Evangelist Dibar Apartian reported, “Wilner Pierre, who has moved to the Charlotte area, volunteered to visit his former homeland, Haiti, to contact the few members we still have in Haiti. Here is, in essence, what he wrote upon his return: ‘On August 14, 2003, I arrived in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where I met with Mr. Roger Courtois and his son, both members of the Living Church of God. I also contacted, by phone, a subscriber to the Tomorrow’s World magazine. Later, I spoke to a former member of the Worldwide Church of God, who, like all the others, wants to attend services as soon as we can find a suitable place to meet. Mr. Courtois’ son stated that at least ten former members of the Worldwide Church of God have also expressed their desire to attend the Living Church of God services. Another one of our members will contact a friend of his who is a director of Radio Caraïbes, to make arrangements for the French broadcast, Le Monde de Demain. We are also planning to open a PO Box. As of now, sixteen people are interested in attending Church services. Most of our people are employed and are willing to make whatever sacrifices to find a hall and pay their tithes. It was very inspiring to see the willingness and enthusiasm of the people to attend services’.”
Tomorrow’s World Telecast Receives “Telly Award”
Evangelist Richard Ames reports, “The 24th annual Telly Awards competition, held earlier this year, reviewed 13,000 television programs in categories including video production and non-network television programming. Instead of competing against each other, Telly Award entries ‘compete against a high standard of excellence.’ Mr. Roderick C. Meredith, Mr. Richard Ames (Tomorrow’s World producers/presenters), and Mr. Dick Quincer (Tomorrow’s World director), received Telly Awards this year, for the Tomorrow’s World program, Seven Proofs God Exists. Mr. Quincer wrote, ‘I chose this particular program [for the Telly competition] as I felt it presented a very balanced approach to scripture and secular points with reasonable graphic coverage. The presentation of the subject matter resulted in a program that offered a good opportunity to receive a fair and objective judging by the panel while overcoming the strong biases that all judges carry into a competition.’ We appreciate Mr. Meredith’s leadership in setting a high standard for Tomorrow’s World. And we appreciate the extensive team that produces and distributes the telecast, and the brethren who support the preaching of the gospel.”
Speaking of television, evangelist Charles Bryce reported: “August 27 was the first day of videotaping the Tomorrow’s World telecast in our brand new television studio on the second floor of the Headquarters office in Charlotte. The taping went marvelously well. Our staff had worked feverishly for weeks, designing and building the new studio. Our director, Dick Quincer, flew in from California with his two-man crew, and with our staff, put the finishing touches on the studio before taping. Evangelist Richard Ames kicked off the first taping session with his program: Where Are We Now in Prophecy?, which is scheduled to air on WGN on November 30th. Then our Presiding Evangelist, Mr. Roderick C. Meredith, taped two programs back-to-back: The Beast is Rising Up (scheduled to air on November 9), and The Harlot of Revelation (scheduled to air on November 16). Mr. Ames finished the taping session with his second program of the day: Prophetic Signs in the Middle East (scheduled to air on December 7). Evangelist John Ogwyn has also begun to tape programs as well.”
— submitted by Robert Thiel
If you are planning for a year, sow rice.
If you are planning for a decade, plant trees.
If you are planning for a lifetime, educate a person.
— submitted by Shelby Faith
He was clearly on the way up, a rising star. Everything he touched turned to gold, sometimes platinum. Professionally, he was praised and admired. His supervisors had confidence in his abilities and significant plans for his future. His colleagues enjoyed his kind manner and fun sense of humor. Those who worked with him were impressed with his pleasant professionalism. Most everyone who knew him predicted extraordinary things for his career.
He was also active in volunteer service in his Church and community. He accepted time-consuming responsibilities, and always performed with his whole heart and soul. People raved about how good he was with young people, and how he had made a difference in so many lives.
Talented, creative, personable, and popular, he seemed to have the world by the tail.
Except for one thing: he was losing his son.
Don’t get me wrong. He wasn’t a bad father. He loved his children, and they loved him. They just didn’t spend much time together.
There was always some project at work that required his attention, or a Church meeting, or a civic responsibility. He spent more time working with some ofthe underprivileged kids in his community than he spent with his own children.
And that was okay, he thought. It was important to set an example ofindustry and service for his children. Besides, he told his wife, “We don’t do quantity time. We do quality time.”
Only it got to the point that “quality” time consisted mostly ofyelling at his son. The pattern was usually the same: he’d get home late from work, his wife would be fuming at some stunt their son had pulled during the day, he would call the boy in and lecture for 20 minutes, and then he’d take off to spend one-on-one time with young people at his Church.
Often he’d come home late and crawl into bed, worrying about the distance that seemed to be separating him from his son. He would lay there remembering when the boy was little, how they’d romp and play together. How they’d wrestle and have tickle fights together. How they’d talk, and live, and sing together.
The man was pretty bright, but it took an awfully long time for him to realize that the key to mending his relationship with his son was in that one word, together. They’d have to work on it together. And the best way to do that was to actually BE together.
He made some adjustments professionally so he could spend more time at home. He shifted the focus of his Church and community service so he could be involved with his son.
As they began spending more time together, their relationship healed. His son’s grades improved. They stopped getting telephone calls from concerned teachers and administrators at school. Peace returned to their home. And even though his employment was suddenly unstable and he was less prominent in his community and his Church, the man was happier than he could ever remember being. He had his son back. His family was “together.” That’s all that mattered.
Now, I’m not going to tell you that every case of teenage rebellion can be eliminated by caring fathers who will focus more of their time and energy at home. But I’m haunted by a remark made recently by the sister of a slain teenage gangster: “Mom loved him. I loved him. We did all we could. But, without a father in his life, he turned to the gang. And now he’s dead.”
Fathers, we’re needed, and not just for a few “quality” minutes here and there. While most of us pay lip service to how important our families are to us, when it comes right down to it the people who matter most to us often receive the least from us. Our children need our time, talent, energy, and experience. But mostly, they just need us to be there.
— by Joseph Walker
syndicated columnist, by permission
Penned from Prison…
The “Come and See” Challenge
John 1:45-46: “Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.”
Jesus gives us a commandment, even today, to spread the gospel. He told His disciples, “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth laborers into His harvest,” Matthew 9:38; “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature,” Mark 16:15.
Philip, out of his true emotions of heart, belief, faith, and hope, began his confession in the Lord God, Jesus Christ. And through his confession he went out to draw another to Christ.
Christ said that He would make us “fishers of men,” Matthew 4:19. He would cause them to go out and catch men as they had once caught fish as fishermen. Now, instead of netting, they would bait their hook [their gospel] with the promises of love, grace, and mercy by our Lord, Savior and God.
Yet, Philip took it a step farther. He not only went out confessing Christ, he also gave them a challenge. He challenged unbelief. Instead of trying to find ways to convince Nathanael by conversation and mere words, full of frailty, able to fall apart at any time, Philip gave the only thing that had the power to move him, even in unbelief: a no-nonsense challenge. He said, “Come and see.” He said to Nathanael, “Come and see with your own eyes the truth of my words. And should you look, you will see, beyond argument that I speak the truth” (author’s paraphrase, John 1:46). Philip knew already that once Nathanael saw the Christ, Jesus of Nazareth, there would be no more room for debate nor any unbelief. He challenged him!
We, even today, are called to be fishers of men. We are called to, not only tell others about our Lord, Savior and God, but to challenge them to see for themselves the truth that Christ holds in His word.
We are to challenge others to square off and face God’s grace, mercy, love, and salvation, knowing that once they do, God will manifest Himself into the hearts, souls, and minds of all before Him. A true challenge will cause unbelievers to believe, doubters to have faith, the hopeless to hope, the uncaring to care, and the ones full of hate to be full of love.
God knows that all the unbelievers will not challenge themselves. They will not want to see the truth. They will not look for truth on their own. That is why He made His disciples to become “fishers of men.”
As fishermen search for fish with nets, so it is that we, as Christians, will search out the unsaved. As fish are caught inside the nets, they will try to avoid it and escape. The unsaved, once in God’s net, will seek an escape and fight. From there on, it is in God’s hands. We challenge the unsaved that lead to them walking into God’s net. Let God pull them in to Him.
Satan will try to stop those who are challenging the lost sheep to find their way to God. And some Christians fear the ridicule and the ill treatment from others. But fear not, for you are a child of God, and He will not allow anything outside of His will to happen to us. Death? Death is not to be feared by the true Christian: “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain,” Philippians 1:21. “Be not afraid, only believe,” Mark 5:36.
— by James Agan, prisoner
3401 Faraon Street
St. Joseph, MO 64506
Do we, as Americans and individuals, take what we have for granted? I am mindful that many individuals in this country are unaware of what the rest of the world is like. We live in a fairly comfortable environment compared to many in this world, for we have food to eat every day, clothes to wear, air- conditioned homes, and other comforts. I just want to share with you a few ways that we, as a people, are blessed compared to the rest of the world since we at the Biblical Fellowship Group have contacts with many individuals overseas through friends and working with Churches overseas.
Did you know that in India, Christian Churches are required to file with the state before they can baptize a person? And, if the state refuses to allow the Church to baptize, the Church would be violating the law if they performed the baptism? I was informed of this by a pastor of a Church of God in India. Did you also know that in parts of Africa to download or print any thing from the computer, such as articles or pictures or any other materials, costs them money? It is not free in certain parts of that continent to copy materials from the Internet. Here in the US and other English speaking nations, if you have a computer and a printer, you can copy from the Internet easily. Again, one of our contacts in Africa informed me of this when I sent an article via E-mail and the individual E-mailed back to tell me that they could not copy it due to the cost of copying.
Did you know that we are blessed to have books and clothes in such quantity? We at the Biblical Fellowship Group had a request for books and toys from a friend in India who operates a ministry. He informed me that books and toys are very expensive and some items can be very hard to find. As you know, here we can just go to the store and get whatever we are in need of, assuming that we have the money at the time.
We are also blessed in the fact that when we change presidents and other officials, it is a peaceful change whereas in many countries they are under dictators or have bloody elections where the followers of the losing party start a rebellion.
In II Thessalonians. 5:18, Paul states: “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” Also, in Ephesians. 5:20, Paul again states: “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
So next time you think that things are so bad at work or where ever, just think about how blessed you are. Even with the problems that you do have on a day-to-day basis, always thank God for the blessings that you do have. It could be worse!
— by Doyle J. Carter
Terrified, I sat up in bed and pushed away the covers. My feet were seemingly beyond my reach. I felt like I was ten-foot tall as my mind was caught between nightmare and waking. I was too afraid to get up and too fascinated to lie back down and go to sleep. Fear was taking control of this unexplainable phenomenon. Suddenly I came up with the only plan that seemed worthwhile. I hollered at the top of my lungs, “MOM!” Faster than the speed of my next breath, she was through the door and next to me at the side of my bed. I was saying, “Come here.” She was saying, “I’m right here.” I would reply, “You’ve got to get closer.” She probably wanted to holler, “If I get any closer, I’ll be behind you!”
After a brief check to make sure everything was okay, she did something very unexpected. She smiled a smile that carried all that was sacred and needed in this world and the world beyond to a small child. I knew what she was going to say before she said it, but I needed to hear it right then. With the smile still hovering somewhere beside me, she softly and emphatically said, “Phil, you’re going to be all right.” She didn’t try to explain what was happening to me. What she provided instead was a blanket of safety and security.
There were many further episodes of this strange, visual phenomenon. They came as before without any warning. For the first few times, mom was there upon call, just like before. But then it seemed ridiculous to call. I had what I needed to work with. I even got to the place where I would get up, walk downstairs to the bathroom (maybe the fridge), and then go back to bed.
Finally, the adventures disappeared as unexplainable as they had arrived. Sometimes, it’s not what you see that is important, it’s what you know. I am amazed at how often I have lost sight of my perspective. In these times of confusion, what I know is crucial; and what I know makes it workable.
There have been many times that I have still “made-the-call” a principle and pattern taught me by my mom years ago. “GOD!” He is there at my side faster than the speed of thought. He smiles. He states the obvious; “Phil, you’re going to be all right.” I still need to hear that, still want to hear it. What is different is that He never leaves; He is never beyond reach; I am never out of His immediate and perfect care. Like mom in my early childhood adventures, He is working with me to make difficult things workable, and then He releases me gradually to complete all the necessary steps that I have before me in order to reach each goal. God has made a name for Himself in my life. His reputation is intact. I have learned that I can’t always trust what I see, but it is Who I know that makes all the difference!
— by Phil Hedgspeth
Last month we ran a feature about a chari-table organization in El Salvador called Close to You, Inc. Roberto and Barbara Parada are in the process of starting a school operated by Sabbath-keepers.
Their picture arrived too late for last month’s issue.
Donations may be sent to 3316 Alberta Drive, Gillette, WY 82718.
You may contact them at:
We printed a story in the September issue His Name Was Fleming. While the story had a nice sentiment, an alert reader advised us that it was just folklore and was historically inaccurate. Sorry for the oversight.
Feast of Tabernacles, Oct 11-18, 2003
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
In the Santa Ynez Mountains
Contact: David Antion
800-638-8882 or 805-688-1000
The Web site for Craig White’s new book Origin of Nations is: www.originofnations.org/insearchof_originofnations/index.html
The next issue will be December 2003.