Newsletter 44, December, 1997
Bread Making Tools
Serious joggers obtain the best running shoes money can buy. Master carpenters obtain the most professional tools to help them do a quality job. Likewise, serious Bible students spend the money to obtain essential Bible Study tools, such as the six we distribute through Giving & Sharing: Wide Margin KJV Bible, Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, Englishman’s Hebrew & Chaldee Concordance, Englishman’s Greek Concordance, Franklin Bookman Electronic Bible, and The Interlinear Bible. You need quality tools to do anything right. If you are not interested in obtaining the best tools, chances are you are not really concerned about the details, and are satisfied with something less than "whole-wheat."
Bread and water are the very basics of a healthy diet. You need to do what it takes to get the best bread, the best water, for your good health. Here in Wyoming, we use a reverse osmosis and carbon filter system for pure drinking water.
After Shirley and I were married in 1972, we obtained a hand-operated stone grinder, and Shirley laboriously kneaded bread dough made from stone-ground flour I made with the grinder. I had to run the grain through coarse the first time, and then tighten the stones for a second pass, to obtain flour fine enough for Shirley to bake bread. This was good exercise for both of us. In spite of great effort, Shirley was often unable to make whole-wheat bread that did not crumble. I remember consoling her more than once. Dough must be thoroughly mixed, or kneaded, for some time, in order for the wheat gluten (a pasty substance like glue) to bond the flour particles together, so the bread will not crumble when it is baked. As the gluten comes out, the dough gets harder to knead. It is much easier to bring out the gluten in white flour, but it lacks many essential nutrients. White bread is inferior to whole-wheat bread.
We upgraded to an electric stone grinder, and purchased a Bosch Universal Kitchen Machine, which kneads 12 pounds of bread dough. On a single afternoon, Shirley can bake enough bread for a month or two, plus make pizza dough, cinnamon rolls, etc., all out of whole grains, freezing loaves for future use. The electric stone grinder had problems. The stones would lock up if the grain was too moist, and the stones would not handle soybeans. We finally purchased an electric Magic Mill, with stainless steel blades revving at thousands of revolutions per minute, which literally explode the grains, even soybeans, generating much less vitamin-destroying heat than a stone grinder. You can make pastry flour on one pass. When grain is ground into flour, you should immediately make it into bread, as vital nutrients are lost in a matter of hours.
We have used our Bosch Universal Kitchen Machine for over 23 years, and the Magic Mill grinder for over 15 years. The Bosch is a marvel of German engineering; it has gears which automatically change into a lower ratio, when the gluten is worked up and the kneading hooks are harder to turn. These are quality products, and now Bosch has a Whisper Mill, similar to the Magic Mill.
Sometimes I tell my children, "Eat mother’s good bread, it puts hair on your chest!" However, we have three girls. One of them will say, "But daddy, I don’t want hair on my chest!" But, you get the point: whole-wheat bread sticks to your ribs; it satisfies and gives you strength, Psalm 104:15.
If you buy an expensive car, television set, or other costly goods, yet neglect the basics, what have you accomplished? Perhaps you can purchase quality bread made from whole grains. But, why not bake your own at less expense, and be sure it is the best quality?
Here are some sources for kitchen equipment we have obtained from the Internet: If you want to do it the hard way, obtain a hand-operated stone grinder for $63.95 ($8.50 shipping to USA customers) with a 2-year warranty, from: Total Juice Plus, 1125 East Glendale Avenue, Phoenix, AR 85020, telephone (602) 488-7808. This source also sells the electric Magic Mill III for $236.95, plus $13.00 USA shipping, with five-year warranty, six-cup grain hopper, 1.75 horsepower motor, which can output 75 pounds of flour per hour. Another unit that looks like a Magic Mill, with the same specifications, can be had for $179.00 from The Preparedness Mart, (800) 773-0437 or Internet http://www. preparednessmart.com/kitchen.html.
We strongly recommend Bosch kitchen products. We can personally vouch for their quality and durability. You may view Bosch equipment online at http://www.adg-bosch.com. You may purchase the Bosch Universal Kitchen Machine, at discount via mail from a friend of ours (her margin is 20% or less). Just write us at 3316 Alberta Drive, Gillette, Wyoming 82718 for more information.
Standard equipment for the Bosch Universal Kitchen Machine includes the heavy duty mixing bowl, stainless steel dough hook, bowl cover, french whisks, and heavy duty blender, 3-year motor warranty. You can do much more with this machine than just knead bread! Optional attachments include a noodle maker, meat grinder, berry press for making fruit leathers, etc. Other fine Bosch products include: the Grainmaster Whisper Mill, with a self-cleaning, surgical quality, stainless steel milling chamber. It is quieter than the Magic Mill. Bosch also makes the Air Preserve II Food Dehydrator with 8 trays, fruit leather sheets, and How to Dry Foods book. If you have never eaten whole-grain noodles or fruit leather, you are in for a tasty, nutritious treat!
Finally, we have received good testimonials for the West Bend Breadmaker, available at many retail stores in the USA, such as Wal-mart, for around $100-$120. It kneads and bakes 1-2 pounds of bread all in the same unit. This equipment appears to be designed for low volume usage, and is not heavy-duty like Bosch equipment.
If bake your own bread, you should definitely use whole-grain flour, and it is best to grind it yourself to ensure retention of nutrients. Obtain quality bread-making tools. Eat the bread of life. Here’s to your health!
How to Live to be 100
What are the chances you’ll live to be 100? Better than you think! Life span was 47 years in 1900 — today it’s 76. Those 85 and over are the fastest-growing segment of our population. Researchers find that getting to your mid-eighties is the hard part — after that those lucky "masters" are often more robust and healthier than people years younger. These people often took good care of themselves. Some 70% of aging’s effects may be due to factors that we can control. Only about 30% are genetically based. Avoiding cigarettes, eating a variety of nutritious foods, and exercising regularly, are ways to increase life span. Here are some more:
(1) Train Your Brain. Stay mentally active. To keep your brain alert, treat yourself to new experiences. Take up a foreign language, visit a new place, learn to play an instrument. Vigorous exercise will also keep your brain sharp. Stay optimistic, "Since the brain literally changes its structure in response to the signals you send it, it makes sense to train your brain to be positive," (Walter Bortz, MD, author of Dare to Be 100). By being positive, you may actually create circuitry in your brain that helps you see the challenge instead of threat in difficult situations.
(2) Thrive on Hard Work. Successful people are busy. They have worked hard all their lives and love it, unlike workaholics who work nonstop without pleasure.
(3) Be Self-Disciplined. About 90% of 1,200 centenarians in a survey had their days organized and well-structured. They got up and went to bed about the same time each day, ate three square meals and enjoyed work they had done for years. Why does a routine help us live longer? Perhaps it makes it easier to avoid bad habits like smoking and stick with good ones like exercising to avoid self-destructive behavior like bingeing on alcohol or driving too fast. It also allows us to sidestep worry and redirect our minds to more positive thoughts when flooded with stress.
(4) Enjoy Helping Others. Those with strong social ties get sick less often, recover faster, and live longer. Why? Scientists now believe social connections may rev up the immune system. From a purely practical standpoint, older people who have strong social connections get more support when they need it.
(5) Have a Passion. People who live longest have strong interests and goals. Robert Butler, MD, states, "It doesn’t matter what the interest — it can be flower gardening or a beloved grandchild — as long as there is some passion."
(6) Learn to Deal with Loss. Interviewing seniors reveals that most have had quite difficult lives but have resilience. It gives them the creative ability to put their lives back in order after being hit with so much stress that they’ve fallen apart. Getting older means having a lot of losses. It’s important to be able to incorporate losses in a positive way so you can go on. People have disappointed me many times; the Savior is my comfort in time of loss.
(7) Give Your Soul a Workout. Centenarian’s serenity in the face of multiple losses may also be explained by their spirituality. A strong faith can help reduce stress. Growing scientific evidence suggests that a belief in God might be linked to less illness. Those who have experienced divine healing are witnesses to this fact.
Finally, people who age well often display a trait called "self-efficacy," a hearty self-confidence. With this type of can-do attitude, anything is possible, even reaching 100 . . . or beyond! All true believers have one or more spiritual gifts, and confidently use these gifts in the Almighty’s service.
— adapted from "How to Live to Be 100," by Sue Browder, August 8, 1996, Women’s Day magazine.
Close Encounters of the Personal Kind
Evangelism began with personal contact. John the Baptist pointed to Jesus walking nearby and told his two disciples, "Behold, the Lamb of God." John’s disciples followed Jesus. Jesus turned and asked them what they were seeking. They asked him where He was dwelling. Jesus said, "Come and see." They went and spent the day with Jesus. One that followed Him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. John 1:41 states, "He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messiah which is being interpreted, the Christ." Verse 42 shows the response, "and he brought him to Jesus . . . ." Jesus emphasized seeking the lost (see Luke 19:10). Andrew personally introduced his brother Simon to Christ.
Anyone who really knows the Messiah will want to share Him with others, so that others will know Him also. Tell your brothers and sisters, your neighbors, even your enemies, about Christ. The search for satisfaction of a man’s soul is only fulfilled by a personal relationship with the Messiah. He alone fills the void. He is the real close encounter. Personal evangelism is sharing the discovery of what we have found. A testimony is sharing what we know to be true. We testify to the saving power of Christ. Personal evangelism is sharing that discovery with whomever we come into contact.
Jesus said in Matthew 4:19, "follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." If we follow Christ, we will have a love for mankind, and share the good news of salvation through Christ with others. Someone who is sharing the Gospel with others must treat each contact differently, because we are all unique individuals. Even younger people can disciple older people.
Bringing them to Jesus. This is what Christ’s disciples have been doing since that day. The movement of Christianity in this world is scripturally based on personal contact. II Timothy 2:15 tells us how to prepare ourselves for this lifelong ministry.
In Matthew 9:36-38, Jesus was moved with compassion on the multitudes, because they were scattered abroad as sheep having no shepherd. The harvest is plenteous, but the laborers are few. Pray that the Lord of the harvest will send forth laborers to His harvest. They will have close personal encounters with those they harvest. This is not just preachers, but all the brethren. Ministers are to charge up the members so they can do the Work of God.
Please study for yourself the following guidelines, the "Ten Commandments of Personal Evangelism," which should be kept diligently, in order for your ministry to succeed. We must have these qualities to be successful witnesses in testifying for the Almighty: (1) I must live it, James 1:22. Our strongest testimony is our daily life. (2) I must love people, Romans 12:9. If you love God, you will truly love His creation. (3) I must meet people as unique individuals, I Corinthians 9:22, Ephesians 4:32. Kindness opens doors with other people. (4) I must find a need, Mark 2:17. If you are a good listener, people will talk. (5) I must communicate, John 4:25-26. Don’t get involved in technicalities, and refuse to debate. (6) I must concentrate on Christ, John 3:30. (7) I must use tact, be sensitive to other people’s feelings, James 1:5. (8) I must lead a person to a decision to follow God, Revelation 3:20. (9) I must teach them to listen to God’s voice, not our own, John 5:24. (10) I must make it clear that there is a difference between knowing about God, and knowing God, John 10:4-5.
Knowing someone doesn’t happen overnight, but develops and grows as you spend time together and learn about the other person. It’s the same way in a marriage. Although you already know much about your mate before marriage, really getting to know everything about your mate is a growing process. It involves commitment and trust. Knowing your mate brings closeness, which in turn brings intimacy. We get to know God when we get serious with Him and about Him. We must get down to business and build a strong relationship. Being committed to God will bring a closeness and intimacy.
God has expressed His willingness to this type of relationship through His covenant (contract or testament). It bears His signature through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The moment a person exercises faith in this written Word, and gets personally involved in the agreement, the covenant is in force and effect for him. A oneness develops. I must then see myself as a channel of God’s love and a guide and help others to personally know God. If I do not personally introduce the seeker to God and His Word, that person will very soon go astray.
Let’s get excited about the work God has called us to do. Let’s pray to God for a "Close Personal Encounter." They are the best kind!
(The preceding is a summary of a sermon by Earl Lewis. Earl is pastor of the Joplin, Missouri, Church of God, Seventh Day, and also the Office Manager for Giving & Sharing.)
Health Education, Abundant Living (HEAL)
Via the Internet, I receive prayer requests, from around the world. If you wish others to pray for you, I recommend you contact Rosy Halley at email@example.com, or write her at 4502 Skyline Drive, Chandler, TX 75758, phone 903-849-2271. She will forward the prayer request to others on the Internet. The effectual, fervent, faithful, prayer of the righteous avails much, James 5:16. When you are facing a serious illness, it is a great comfort to know that other brethren care for you, and are praying for you.
You should also note what the Apostle James wrote: "What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? . . . faith without works is dead," James 2:14-20.
Let us apply this principle to health and healing. If someone asks you to pray for their sickness, and you send them away, when you are also able to help them physically, in addition to praying for them, you have demonstrated a dead faith. Health knowledge should be a mark of God’s people, especially the ministry. It is not necessarily a sign of spiritual weakness for someone to contract a life-threatening disease such as cancer, heart trouble, diabetes, etc. We are all going to die sometime, and none of us knows the duration of our life. But, I am sick and tired of hearing about so many cases of cancer and other horrid diseases among God’s people, even the young. I believe in divine healing; only God can truly heal. However, I am appalled at the lack of knowledge of good health practices in the Church of God. It is shocking how so many Sabbath-keepers are not interested in obtaining whole grain bread, pure water, healthful herbs, and natural medicines. Faith (trusting God for healing) without works (healthful living) is dead!
Imagine that you are diagnosed with cancer. What would you do? Of course, you would ask for the elders of the church to anoint and pray for your healing. You should also ask other brethren to pray for you as well. Is that ALL you would do? Would you immediately go the full route of harsh chemotherapy and surgery, or would your first choice instead be natural cures? Are there reliable sources of information, verified by Sabbath-keeping health professionals, and testimony of Sabbath-keeping brethren, that would be your first source of natural health information, for cases of health crises, as well as prevention and healthy living?
Like the world of religion, the world of health is loaded with misinformation, extremism, and unreliable data. All too often, those who advertise a "miracle" herb or natural remedy, sell it at an exorbitant cost. You wonder if they are really sincerely trying to help others get well, or merely to make themselves rich. If you have determined that natural product X does indeed have great value, how can you be sure that your source of it actually has the potency and quality to do the job? How do you know you are not paying way too much for an inferior product?
Wouldn’t it be useful if a committee of Sabbath-keeping health authorities screened health books, found economical, quality, sources of proven products, and could answer brief questions about where to go and research difficult problems yourself? Wouldn’t it be great if you could borrow excellent books containing generally reliable natural health information, FREE, so you would not have to pay the high costs often charged by natural health books?
The other day, on my way to Colorado, I listened to a radio talk show on natural health. A book, "The Complete Guide to Alternative Medicine," was advertised, at a cost of about $75. It sounded good, but the price is prohibitive for the average person. Was this book really useful? I wasn’t willing to invest $75 to find out. Another program described an herbal concoction, said to help a number of maladies. Was it advertising hype, or a cure from nature’s God? I need a reliable source for sensible, practical information. I cannot afford a $78/year Health Newsletter.
There ought to be a vast difference in health knowledge, and health practice, between God’s people, and "the world." If we really care about serving God in good health, for ourselves and for our brethren, we will not ONLY pray for the sick; we will say to the sick, "this is the way, walk ye in it." There is no profession more noble among the people of God than the natural health profession. If I was just starting my career, I would seriously consider the field of natural health. Luke was a "beloved physician," Colossians 4:14, who helped others. He did not reap huge profits through multi-level marketing of miracle herb X, or mineral supplement Y.
Let us do more than ONLY pray for the sick. Let us learn, and apply, God’s laws of health and healing, and properly use the herbs which He has made for man’s service, Psalm 104:14. Beloved, I wish that you may prosper and be in good health, even as your soul prospers, III John 2.
My Favorite Health Tips
Previous issues of our Newsletters have given some health information. Here are a few. Deodorant Many deodorants and anti-perspirants have aluminum, which has been linked to Alzheimer’s Disease. Unless I forget, each Monday morning, I apply a tiny dab of Lavilin natural deodorant under each arm. It’s made from the calendula plant from Israel. Body odor is caused by bacteria growing in perspiration. With Lavilin, I perspire normally, but odor-causing bacteria hate calendula, and stay away from me for a week or two, no matter how many times I shower or swim. To order Lavilin, write Micro Balanced Products, 25 Aladdin Avenue, Dumont, New Jersey 07628 for a current Lavilin catalog.
Garlic Whew! The health benefits of this backyard herb are numerous. It is said to lower cholesterol, protect against cancer, and many other things. My mother, a nurse for over 30 years, has measured her blood pressure before and after taking garlic, proving it helps lower her high blood pressure. Sick with a cold and fever? I pull out the stops with raw garlic nested in bread and butter. Raw garlic seems to be more potent than the capsule variety. As they say, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but garlic keeps everybody away!"
Rice Rice is nice. Some folks are allergic to wheat. I am not, but love whole grain rice, organically grown, delivered to our doorstep right from the farm, and lots cheaper than from the health food store. Write Lundberg Family Farms, 5370 Church Street, PO Box 369, Richvale, CA 95974-0369 or call 916-882-4551.
Rosemary Rats fed rosemary are twice as resistant to cancer-causing chemicals. Since I am a rat, I eat rosemary. It’s a tasty spice on potatoes and vegetables, available from any grocery store.
Rub-a-Dub All of us are "flakes," because our skin dies, and new cells are continually growing. Good blood circulation is necessary for overall health. After my morning shower, I dry off with a wash cloth, then take a dry Turkish towel, and briskly rub all my skin, which gets rid of dead skin cells and increases circulation to my extremities. I feel invigorated to tackle the day!
Can you provide us with more verified health tips?
The Rejoicing Tithe
If you have done a serious study of Biblical tithing laws, you may have noticed that the second, or festival, tithe, is always associated with rejoicing. See Deuteronomy 12:5-7, 11-12, 18, 14:22-27. The second tithe could well be termed "the rejoicing tithe." I encourage you to read our article, "God’s Second Tithe," contained in our book, Biblical Holy Days, available on the Internet at www.biblestudy.org/gands. Also, the book, The Tithe in Scripture by Henry Lansdell, a reprint of the classic 1908 publication, is also available on our Internet site at www.biblestudy.org/gands.
A Church of God minister from England, however, disagrees with our understanding of tithing. He says, "part of the penalty that Israel had to pay for their sins and rebellion against God was to set aside a second and perhaps a third tithe . . . ." And, he says, Christ paid the penalty for Israel’s sins, therefore, in his view, second and third tithes are no longer required. Since his letter on the topic does not provide scriptural proof for his position, let’s assume, for the moment, that he is correct. If second tithe was a penalty from God for Israel’s sins, why is the use of second tithe at the festivals always referred to as a time of family rejoicing? Could I convince my children that the wonderful family time we have at the Feast of Tabernacles is a burden, the result of a penalty from God? It would be easier to "sell" the Brooklyn Bridge, than to convince my children that second tithe, which makes this rejoicing possible, is a penalty imposed by God. If the second tithe, the rejoicing tithe, is a penalty for my sins, then, please, God, give me more such penalties!
This man from England goes farther. He says that today, we worship the Lord at home, not in a place. He gives Matthew 6:5-15 as "proof." Private prayer and worship have always been a vital part of the religion of God’s people. But public, corporate, worship, is likewise a scriptural requirement, Hebrews 10:24-25. The essence of going to the place where God chooses to place His name, is going to a place where you can see God, and be with His people. Far from being an archaic, temporary, penalty from God, the second and third tithes are timeless truths that result in our continual rejoicing before the Eternal, "that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest," Deuteronomy 14:29, last part. If the second and third tithe statutes have been abrogated, there must be clear, positive, scriptural, evidence. I challenge anyone to produce such evidence!
Nichols an Early Holy Day Keeper
Joseph H. Nichols (?-1916), a pioneer Church of God, Seventh Day, minister and evangelist, believed in keeping all of the Holy Days. Unfortunately, he also insisted on a 15th Passover. It is said that Nichols preached the first Sabbath sermon west of the Rocky Mountains, in 1862, at Santa Rosa, California.
Nichols taught his grandson, Lionel Irl Rodgers (1895-1994) to keep the Holy Days. A fourth generation Sabbath-keeper, L.I. Rodgers was licensed to preach in 1918, and continued his ministry for more than seventy years. His specialty was the tent meeting or public hall meetings. For more than forty years, Rodgers held such meetings, from coast to coast, helping to raise up or strengthen churches. He was a conference leader in the Church of God, Seventh Day. Even after he "retired" in 1961, Rodgers continued to serve churches in Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. After his death, a note was found among his papers that read, "I promised the Lord several years ago that I would keep preaching as long as He gave me the strength and a place to preach." His wife of sixty-five years, Mable Lippincott Rodgers, preceded him in death.
From the examples of Nichols and his grandson Rodgers, we can see that Holy Day keeping is probably more prevalent among Sabbath-keepers than many realize. Also, we are given a sterling example of continued long-time service to the Almighty and His people. You may be retired from full time gainful employment, but you should never retire from serving the Eternal’s people!
The Money Test
A good way to test the authenticity and integrity of the many Sabbath-keeping organizations is to check out how they spend donated funds. Proper scriptural tithing demands that we make sure our tithes are used properly. I believe that in today’s society, as it was in the time of the Apostle Paul, that it is generally improper for a minister or church worker to be a full-time paid religious employee.
This is especially true with smaller ministries. A well-known publisher of a Sabbatarian newsletter has repeatedly urged me to quit my job and live off donations. I believe that it would be wrong for me to do this. On the contrary, he should get a part-time job and live in the real world. For almost twenty years now, with Giving & Sharing, I have refused to receive any compensation whatsoever for the work I do in writing, and distributing literature. My full-time work in accounting and computers takes the bulk of my daily strength. What remains, for my family, Giving & Sharing, and The Bible Sabbath Association, is truly a labor of love. I do it because I want to share the Almighty’s Truth with others, not because I am getting paid to do it.
If I began "living off the tithes" of others, it would probably change my attitude from one of service to one of a business. Religion should be a voluntary service, not a business. If my food and lodging depended upon donations, I would not be free to speak the truth in love, especially to large donors. Now I suppose that many who are full-time in the ministry or religious service, are better people than I. Money does not influence them. They would never waffle on issues so as to "turn off" donors from contributing to their livelihood. Or, if they are part of a large organization, they would never worry about losing their job for teaching contrary to official doctrine. Being in the ministry full time would not cause them to lose touch with how difficult it is to make an honest living in this sin-sick world.
However, I believe that the personal example of the Apostle Paul was not an exception. Today, the ministry should largely be self-supporting. See Acts 18:1-4; I Corinthians 4:11-12; II Corinthians 11:9; I Thessalonians 2:9-10, 4:11-12. One of the qualifications for a Church elder is that he must have a good report from those outside the Church, lest he fall into the Devil’s snare, I Timothy 3:7, which is the love of money, 6:9-10. Unless an elder is gainfully employed and has recurring, close business dealings with others, it is difficult to meet this qualification.
Those in smaller organizations usually hire family and relatives. Their religion becomes a family business. The Savior instructed His disciples, "freely ye have received, freely give," Matthew 10:8. He was not referring specifically to whether or not literature is given away freely. He was speaking primarily of the wages of His workmen, verse 10. The Master’s servants should not serve Him only for pay. By being at least partly self-supporting, a minister can erase any doubt as to his motivation, that he is not guilty of filthy lucre, I Timothy 3:3, 8; I Peter 5:2.
The excesses of the Worldwide Church of God ministry in the recent past makes it even more imperative for religious workers today to avoid all appearance of being guilty of filthy lucre. A personal example will suffice. In the early 1970s, my wife Shirley needed some personal counseling with the minister. He had a full-time younger ministerial assistant, several unpaid local elders, plus numerous deacons to assist him in the Portland, Oregon, Church of about 600 members. When he pulled out his address book to record a time when Shirley could counsel with him, his book was virtually empty. And yet, when the time came for the critical appointment, he forgot to show up! There was plenty of time for racquetball, golf, and other activities, but not for serving the people. I prepared district budgets for ministerial salaries and expenses for the Worldwide Church of God. I know how well-paid these men were, yet they often did not serve the people. There were exceptions, but the lesson for us is clear: the servants of the Almighty should be largely self-supporting, as Paul was. Especially in smaller churches, there should generally be no full-time staff whatsoever. Any other practice is contrary to Biblical principles. How an organization uses donated funds is one of the most important tests of its true spirituality. Check it out!
A Lesson From The Mormons
Sabbath-keepers should learn from Mormons. They are growing by leaps and bounds, and we are not. One of the distinguishing tenets of Mormons is their adept usage of volunteer labor. Mormon youths, of both sexes, often spend two years on a "mission" at home, or anywhere in the world, serving their church’s work. Their pay is basically food and lodging, and some do it for no pay at all.
Today, male youth in the United States do not have as much incentive for volunteer labor as I did, when I graduated from college. Back in 1969, America was at war in Vietnam. As a believer, I was required by my understanding of Biblical teaching to be a conscientious objector to carnal warfare. I had to stand up for my faith personally in front of a hostile draft board, to convince them that I truly practiced what I believed. At one point, they jeered at me openly. Finally, they agreed that I would serve two years manual labor at minimum wage, working for Goodwill Industries (a sheltered handicap workshop), in lieu of military service. The valedictorian of both his high school and college graduating classes was reduced to cleaning toilets, and sweeping floors! But, it was good for me. It molded me into a servant of others. After two years of service, I was refreshed!
Today, there is no draft, and our youth can have the luxury to be self-indulgent. However, for those, young and old, who wish to voluntarily serve, there are places in Sabbatarian groups and organizations, such as Giving & Sharing, and The Bible Sabbath Association, for voluntary work. If a retired couple or youth lived in my area in wild, wonderful, Wyoming, I could give them as much work as they wanted, as well as train them in computer skills. The buffalo and antelope roam the prairie near our home. We are an hour to an hour and half drive to either the wilderness of the Big Horn Mountains, where moose and elk are abundant, or the Black Hills with Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse monuments. If you cannot find the Creator in this area of raw, pristine natural beauty, you would be blind!
What the Mormons have, in a wonderful program of volunteer service to the work of the Church, we Sabbath-keepers can have as well. In fact, if you really believe the Bible, and are being led by the Holy Spirit, you will be compelled to serve others. As Paul said, "for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel," I Corinthians 9:16. Let’s quit being shamed by the Mormons and get with the program. There are many areas of service in the Church. May we help you help others?
Renewed Interest in Doctrine of Marriage and Divorce
Many current and former members of the Worldwide Church of God have never read some of the major literature of the Church. For many years prior to his death, Herbert Armstrong’s premier articles were shelved and repressed. As a result of our book, Early Writings of Herbert W. Armstrong, many are reading this material for the first time. And, some are become quite surprised that the Truth has been squelched. One lady in Europe was amazed when she read for herself Armstrong’s most important article, Divorce and Remarriage, contained in our book. She made copies to pass around at the Feast of Tabernacles. This created quite a stir. The response from the headquarters of her Church, was, "this is outdated literature, you should not circulate this material." A sermon designed to "correct" Armstrong’s "error" failed to deal with the scriptural evidence in favor of the permanence of the marriage relationship. Questions were to be directed to a Church leader noted for his being divorced and remarried. This ill-advised action had a negative impact, resulting in more copies being made. As a result, several were either put out of their church, or left. The copy machines are still very busy in Europe.
For those who have the courage to face the Bible facts about marriage, we have, in booklet form, the original 1953 edition of Divorce and Remarriage. You may order multiple copies for distribution. The attack against the permanence of marriage comes from some of the most popular Sabbath-keeping service groups. One man was chagrined to read an anti-marriage newsletter, after he had contributed towards the independent ministry which publishes it. To my knowledge, there are a few who adhere to and teach, the Bible standards for marriage, and are against the wide-open divorce for any, all, or no reason, which is taught by the vast majority of Sabbath-keeping groups. The Divorce and Remarriage booklet holds high the noble Biblical standard, in favor of lifetime marriages. We encourage the few who have not bowed the knee to Baal to seize this opportunity to spread this life-saving Truth to others. For a copy, see www.vcn.com/~giveshare/family.
Assisting The Journal Newspaper
After twenty-five years, I finally returned for a weekend visit to Big Sandy, Texas. I saw the tiny honeymoon house where Shirley and I first set up housekeeping in 1972, along with red ants, roaches, and water bugs. I had worked in the busines office of Ambassador College, and now viewed, in sadness, the deserted grounds of that campus. The property is up for sale, the sad result of departure from God’s laws, including the Sabbath. I visited, with delight, services of the United Church of God, an active congregation, separately incorporated, with an active board, and an independent, forward thinking, leadership. When other churches have internal problems, the Big Sandy congregation will send a minister to help. These people certainly have the right attitude of serving and helping others.
One of the Big Sandy Church members is Dixon Cartwright, publisher of The Journal, News of the Churches of God, a monthly, independent newspaper, which is not affiliated with any church organization. He attempts to bring the cold light of truth on events happening in the various Churches of God and other Sabbath-keeping groups. Although I did not appreciate the polemical style of the first issue on the Sacred Calendar, issues since then have gotten much better. Without such a source of basically objective news, one cannot really know what is happening. The essays on various religious subjects sometimes provoke me, but always stimulate me to think. To make The Journal a going concern, its circulation must increase. (The subscription price is $18 per year, write: The Journal, PO Box 1020, Big Sandy, TX 75757.)
Sabbath History, Origins of Nations
My Australian friends are doing a very fine job of historical research.
Leon J. Lyell, PO Box 206, Bundoora, Victoria 3083 AUSTRALIA, publishes the Sabbath History newsletter. His March, 1997, issue reviewed Bryan Ball’s excellent book, The Seventh Day Men: Sabbatarians and Sabbatarianism in England and Wales, 1600-1800. This issue also covered Sabbatarians in history, the Waldensians, Transylvanians, and the modern True Jesus Church in China. Four issues per year ($18/year, $3 for back issues). Lyell’s E-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Craig White, PO Box 864, Sydney, NSW 2001 AUSTRALIA, an historian, edits Origins of Nations newsletter. A recent issue covered Japan in History and Prophecy, The Lost Civilization of Australia, Gomer and Israel, and The Leopard of Daniel 7. Published every 3 or 4 months, the Newsletter ($19.50/year, $4 Australian or $5.50 US for back issues) is an activity of Mr. White’s History Research Projects, which publishes numerous books on the historical origins of nations and peoples. Craig’s E-mail is email@example.com. In North America, write: Richard Griffiths, 825 Pierre Street, Manhattan, KS 66502, phone (913) 539-8908.
Sabbath Schools Are Great!
It is difficult to convince members of the Global Church of God, or the United Church of God, and some other groups descended from the Worldwide Church of God, to have Sabbath Schools as part of regular Sabbath worship services. After all, they may reason, Herbert W. Armstrong never had Sabbath Schools, and Sabbath Schools are "Protestant."
Both these objections to Sabbath Schools are FALSE! Until the late 1940s, Herbert Armstrong was considered just another Church of God (Seventh Day) independent minister. Our book, Early Writings of Herbert W. Armstrong (available for $9 donation to Giving & Sharing), shows that he not only had Sabbath Schools, but wrote Sabbath School material. Two "Bible Study Quarterlies" have been preserved, "The Kingdom," and "The Truth About Israel," (pages 115-139).
What about the charge that Sabbath Schools are "Protestant"? If they are "Protestant," and it is a good idea, what is the problem? Certainly, Sabbath Schools are not "pagan." But, the fact is, Sabbath Schools preceded Sunday Schools. As noted in our book, Six Papers on the History of the Church of God ($14 suggested donation to Giving & Sharing), the modern Sunday School movement stems from Robert Raikes of Gloucester, England, in 1780. A German Seventh Day Baptist Sabbath School was organized in 1740, forty years earlier, at Ephrata, Pennsylvania, among German Sabbatarians (page 97). In the 1800s, Sabbath-keepers who were more zealous than others (and more doctrinally accurate), had Sabbath Schools, organized in 1842 (page 67). Sabbath Schools are NOT "Protestant." They preceded Sunday Schools!
The Church of God (Seventh Day) sets a good standard for interesting Sabbath School material, and lively discussion among Sabbath School classes I have attended. The Denver Group has quarterlies for Adults, Senior Youth, and Junior High Youth, costing $6 for a year’s worth of four quarterlies of 13 lessons each. Write: Bible Advocate Press, PO Box 33677, Denver, CO 80233. For those ex-Worldwide groups who have never conducted a Sabbath School, we recommend you contact the Denver Group, and they would be happy to personally show you how to do it. The Meridian Group of the COG7 likewise puts out some very interesting Sabbath School material. Adult, teen, and intermediate quarterlies, are available for $1.75 individually, or $1.25 in quantity. For children six through eight, the Children’s Corner quarterly lessons are available for $4.00 per year for four issues, $3.00 per year in quantity. Write: ACTS Magazine, 1827 West Third Street, Meridian, ID 83642.
Ronald Dart’s Christian Educational Ministries, PO Box 560, Whitehouse, TX 75791, recently began publishing a number of Sabbath School quarterlies for Senior Teens, Juniors, Primaries, and Beginners. CEM quarterlies are $3.95 each, and $1.95 for the teacher’s guide. Unfortunately, Mr. Dart’s Sabbath School material is copyrighted, while the Church of God (Seventh Day) material is not.
The Sabbath School teacher, as much as the printed material, is the key to a successfully run Sabbath School. Prayerful preparation is essential. Each student should have his or her own lesson. Sabbath Schools generally last about 30-45 minutes, followed by the general worship service. Sabbath Schools are NOT substitutes for parental instruction. Conducted well, they stimulate all ages in active, participatory, group Bible Study. In my opinion, they are the best part of Sabbath services. Groups who do not utilize Sabbath Schools are missing a wonderful educational tool.
A Feast to Remember
About 400 brethren attended the United Church of God Feast of Tabernacles in Acapulco, including about 100 North Americans, and 300 Mexicans and Guatemalans. Hurricane Pauline had struck the city during the week prior to the Feast. A wall of mud from torrential rains gutted the city, destroying life and property. Our hotel was damaged by the hurricane, but we received the same rate at a nearby resort on the beach that was even nicer. Sermons alternated between Spanish and English, and the translation equipment and translators did an excellent job in bridging the language gap. Bilingual translators helped the Hispanic and Anglo brethren fellowship and get to know each other better.
Larry Roybal, Festival Director, and head of the Mexican work, was joined by a number of Spanish and English speakers. David Hulme joined us for the second half of the Feast, which included an overnight stay in Taxco, the silver city of Mexico. Weather was generally excellent, in the 90s.
During the Feast, Acapulco was a city striving to return to normal in the hurricane’s aftermath. Special signs announced, "Acapulco Esta De Pie, Estamos Trabajando," which means, "Acapulco is on its feet, we are working." This attitude was catching.
The street between our hotel and the meeting room was muddy with hurricane debris. A 16-year-old girl from Seattle, Ms. Burrell, got the idea to get a crew of Church members to clean the street. We borrowed brooms, shovels, and a wheel barrow from the hotel, and proceeded to move the mud and sand away from the walking area. It was the least we could do to help. As we worked, a photographer from the Associated Press started taking pictures, and asking us questions. Where were we from? Why were we cleaning the streets? We told him, "We’re from the United Church of God. We are here from all over the U.S.A. and Mexico to observe a religious convention, the Feast of Tabernacles." Tourists cleaning the streets? This was news in Acapulco. We were later told that this story, and photos, went all over Mexico, and perhaps to the U.S.A. I am sure that Mexico has seen many "ugly Americans." This time, they saw something different.
As a result of the couple of hours of work, the manager of our five star hotel graciously gave each of us volunteer street workers a certificate for a complimentary seven-day stay for two at the hotel, all meals, drinks, and recreation included, good for the next Feast of Tabernacles. What an incredible blessing! We were thrilled when Mr. Roybal announced the 1998 Feast will again be held in Acapulco! The 1997 Feast was my twenty-ninth Festival. Although we went in trepidation because of the recent hurricane, it turned out to be the "best ever" for us, largely due to the pioneering spirit and the warm Spanish-speaking brethren. If you want a Feast to remember in 1998, E-mail Larry Roybal at firstname.lastname@example.org for details, or write Iglesia De Dios Unida, Apartado Postal 92-125, CP 08501, Mexico, D.F.
Facing a Blizzard
Although friends and relatives were concerned for our safety in the hurricane’s aftermath in Acapulco, our return car trip to Wyoming, after three airplanes from Mexico to Denver, proved to be a life-threatening experience. It was snowing lightly when we landed in Denver, which is not an uncommon experience in the fall. The radio stations did not indicate severe weather conditions were underway in Wyoming. As we approached the Colorado-Wyoming border, we entered a "white out," a howling blizzard. Blowing snow made visibility near zero, and we quickly changed our plans on driving all the way home, and instead hoped to make it to Cheyenne to spend the night. However, our carburetor began to freeze up. Facing the bitterly cold winds, at times the car only crawled. At last, the car refused to move at all. The minus 15-degrees Fahrenheit actual temperature felt like minus 39 degrees with the wind chill. After plus 90-degree weather in Mexico, this was quite a shock to our systems. We had plenty of blankets, but with no heat, would we survive until the morning, or until someone rescued us? Passing trucks picked us up, and we had to spend two nights in Cheyenne, as all roads out of the city were closed. When our car was towed, and we opened the hood on Sunday morning, the engine was encased in snow and ice. It took an hour to get the motor running again!
We are thankful for the Almighty’s protection. We realized once again that our lives are in His hands. Hurricanes, blizzards, earthquakes, droughts, or whatever we face, cannot separate us from His love and mercy, Romans 8:35-39. No matter what obstacle you face or what difficulty you endure, keep the Kingdom of God in mind, and know that He will see you through it all! Like the Acapulco motto, I hope we can say, "The Church of God is on its feet. We are working."
Disco En Español
Whether we (north) Americans would like to admit it or not, the growth of the Church is not occurring in the United States of America. The Hispanic world, Africa, and Australasia are where the action is taking place. In light of this, we have requested assistance in translating our literature into Spanish, and have been looking for good Sabbath-related Spanish material. I have a big place in my heart toward the Spanish-speaking brethren. As a result of the outstanding Spanish teachers I had in college, I consider myself half-Cuban (in heart). The great Latin American heroes, José de San Martín, Simón Bolívar, Bernardo O’Higgins, etc., are part of my historical heritage as much as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. The Latin people are an exciting, hard-working, people.
We are very pleased to offer the first edition of a computer disk of Spanish literature, from several Sabbath-keeping organizations, plus original translations of some of our material, including these exciting titles: ¿Cuál es el día de reposo del Nuevo Testamento? La llave al libro de apocalipsis, El Bautismo Cristiano, Los Diez Mandamientos, ¿Porqué Observar el Séptimo Día Sábado? and lots more.
You may order our "Disco en Español," disk number D009, from Giving & Sharing. A donation of $2.50 is appreciated. Please also ask for our Spanish Order Blank. We are looking for more Spanish, and other language, translators and distributors. If you have talents in language translation, please contact us immediately, and we will put you to work. You may also wish to donate funds directed specifically for Spanish or other language literature. The Mexican brethren we met at the Feast seemed to have an insatiable desire for more reading material. Larry Roybal, director of the United Church of God in Mexico, has promised me to have much of the book, Early Writings of Herbert W. Armstrong, translated into Spanish soon. Several articles are available now, on our Disco en Español, with more to come, the Almighty willing.
To me, literature in Spanish seems more exciting than in English. The Spanish language has more heart-felt emotion than dry English. God told King David that he was a man after his own heart. David, like many Hispanics, had a soft heart, and not a "stiff upper lip." Can we learn from other cultures, and appreciate their positive aspects? The Creator of different peoples, wants us to have an international perspective, and not be narrow-minded. The Mexican brethren are very zealous. We should all follow the Mexican example.
The Biblical Model
At a planetarium in Chicago is a model of the universe. All known galaxies are shown in their relative scale model position, including our own galaxy, the Milky Way. In the Milky Way, you can see our star, which we call the sun. Around the sun are the planets, including our own good earth. With the advent of the Hubble Space Telescope, new galaxies will undoubtedly be discovered, expanding this model. It helps to gain a visual image of where we are in the universe, which is shown not to be a random, unrelated bunch of cosmic junk, but an interrelated grand design.
Likewise, the Bible has a model, which helps us to understand God and His Word. Understand this conceptual model, and you will never be fooled by those who want to do away with the Law of God. You will gain a mental picture of what God is all about, and how to live the perfect law of love. The whole Bible will fit together.
The Savior gave the outline of this model, but many people don’t get the picture. A lawyer came to Jesus, asking, "Master, which is the great commandment in the law?" Lawyers often get mired in picky details. They can tear apart every word, yet miss entirely the meaning of a contract. Jesus went right to the core, the framework, of the Biblical Model: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets," Matthew 22:36-40.
And so we have a Biblical Model, which is like a tree, or a pyramid. At the very top is God, and God is love, I John 4:8. Keeping the commandments is loving God, I John 5:3. The commandments are summarized by the two great laws: love toward God (the first four or five commandments) and love toward one’s neighbor (the last five or six commandments). Some folks put the fifth commandment, honoring your parents, with the first four, and others put it with the last five. The fifth commandment bridges the gap between loving God, and loving one’s fellow man. It could be placed under either the first and great commandment, or the second great commandment. Also, we know that the tenth commandment, forbidding covetousness, is likened to idolatry, the first commandment, Colossians 3:5. The Biblical Model, like the model of the universe, is interrelated, tied together into a master design.
But, this is not the end of the Biblical Model! The Master said that ALL the law (first five books of the Bible, the Torah) and the prophets hang on the two great commandments. In other words, they amplify, expand upon, elaborate, magnify, the nature of God, which is Love, which is defined as love toward God and love toward others, which is the Ten Commandments.
Our book, Biblical Law, explores the first five books of the Bible, showing how the statutes and judgments relate to one or more of the Ten Commandments. For example, the Land Sabbath Rest, and Jubilee of Leviticus 25, are details, amplifications, of the Fourth Commandment, the Sabbath. They "hang" on the Fourth Commandment.
One can expand this model to include the entire Bible. Many of the Proverbs relate to childrearing and honoring one’s parents, the Fifth Commandment (Proverbs 22:6, 15, 23:22, 24, etc.); and admonish us to avoid adultery, the Seventh Commandment (Proverbs 5:3-20, 6:24-32, etc.). Prophets such as Isaiah condemned idolatry (Isaiah 2:7-9); opposed Sabbath-breaking (1:13-14), and promoted positive Sabbath-keeping (58:13-14, 66:23). In the Sermon on the Mount, the Messiah magnified the Law by showing that hate leads to murder, that adultery begins with lust, that honoring one’s parents should not be perverted, (Matthew 5:21-22, 27-28, 31-32; Mark 7:10-13). Paul continually amplified the Law by showing that marriages are bound for life (Romans 7:2-3; I Corinthians 7); that we ought to do nothing to offend a brother, I Corinthians 8; that sexual sins such as fornication and homosexuality are to be fled, since if continued, they will keep us out of the Kingdom of God, I Corinthians 6:9-10, 18. Peter emphasized submission to constituted governmental authority, which is the keeping of the commandments, I Peter 2:11-17. The details of the Biblical Model are as vast as the universe. The whole Bible hangs on the two great commandments. It is an intricate web of inter-related principles, moving up through the pyramid or tree to the very top, where God is shown to be Love.
However, some today want to rip portions of the Bible out, because they do not like some of the Biblical requirements. Not understanding the Biblical Model, they do not realize the impossibility of their attempt. The Bible hangs together. Each item is intricately tied to other portions. The Bible is not a bunch of words thrown together, but part of a master design. The Savior gave us the model, the outline or blueprint, of His Way. It is up to us to research the details, and live up to what we know to be true, with His help, building upon the foundation of the Biblical Model.
Sabbath-Keepers Events Calendar
The Bible Sabbath Association, 3316 Alberta Drive, Gillette, WY 82718, is initiating a Sabbath-keepers Events Calendar. It will list the date, place, and contact person for special events of any Sabbath-keeping group who wishes to list them. This service will fulfil one of the major functions of the Bible Sabbath Association, that of promoting co-operation between Sabbath-keeping groups. This Events Calendar will be published in each issue of the bi-monthly Sabbath Sentinel (six issues per year), beginning in 1998. To place your group’s notice of special activities of general interest to Sabbath-keepers, write the Bible Sabbath Association, call (307) 686-5191, or E-mail us at email@example.com.
"How To" — Sabbath-Keeping Users Group Meeting
One of the dumbest things we Sabbath-keepers can do is to "re-create the wheel." For example, suppose your church wants to start a cassette tape ministry. What is the best and most cost-effective duplicating equipment? Where is the best place to obtain cassette tapes and mailers? What is the best way to maintain addresses, print mailing labels, etc.? Can someone help you sort out the confusing postage rate regulations, so you can obtain the cheapest mailing rates? Consider other areas, such as printing articles and books, language translation, Internet web pages, toll-free phones, E-mail, FAX machines, copiers, and other tools, to preach and publish the gospel. Can certain services be shared with others, so as to mutually reduce operating costs?
"Sabbath-Keeping Users Group: How to Use Resources to Preach the Gospel," a seminar sponsored by The Bible Sabbath Association and Friends of the Sabbath, is planned for Denver, Colorado, in early 1998. Experts in various fields will be invited to attend and speak, or give a message via cassette tape or live telephone hook-up. This is a "nuts and bolts," session. Presentations will be followed by questions and answers from the audience. You may either attend personally, possibly telephone in to ask questions, or obtain cassettes after the seminar is over. The experts will be available afterwards to help you with problems and concerns, via mail or E-mail. Summary results have been published at www.vcn.com/~giveshare/skug.html.
Are you wasting precious money and resources by "re-creating the wheel?" We all use various resources for preaching the gospel. Let us share our knowledge of these resources with other Sabbath-keepers. In so doing, we may break down many barriers which divide us. At the very least, we will become more efficient, thrifty, users of our God-given resources, and do His work a better way.