Letter to the Brethren: February 8, 2018

Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:

Greetings again from the Five Cities region of California.

In California, we have been working on matters related to proclamation (Matthew 24:14, 28:19-20; Romans 11), Passover, booklets, and the Feast of Tabernacles.

Related to Passover, we made a new Passover service. It is similar to past ones, but in reading passages related to the Holy Spirit, I choose to use the AFV (A Faithful Version) of the Bible as it properly translates pronouns related to the Holy Spirit accurately from the Greek, whereas the NKJV and many other translations do not.

Malawi and Zambia

Radson Mulozowa sent me the following email:

Dear Pastor Bob. thanks for the laptop,  Zambia  registration funds, and food assistance to give the most needy. Concerning the translation am still translating and once finished i will send to you. Thanks

Here also sent some photographs of food being given to some of the brethren in Migowi, Malawi:

  

The Apostle Paul wrote:

10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. (Romans 12:10-12)

We continue to strive to distribute for the needs of the saints. In Malawi and elsewhere, this sometimes involves food. We also need to register the CCOG in places like Zambia so we can officially have congregations and not face major issues with government.

FacebookRandy Freeze sent me the following report from Canada:

Good morning Dr. Thiel,

Just wanted to send you the stats that I have on Facebook please see attached for a complete breakdown.

CCOG Canada Likes 67265

CCOG Europe Likes 65327

CCOG Africa Likes  12507

Total combined Likes 145099

CCOG Canada Jan 6-Feb 4 Reach 82798

CCOG Europe Jan 6-Feb 4 Reach 66823

CCOG Africa Jan 6-Feb 4 Reach 10439

Total Combined Reach 160060

CCOG has the largest following on Facebook now the only page that I can see that has more likes is Tomorrows World.

LCG 9489 likes

UCG 13218 Likes

COGWA 4959 likes

RCG 48633

CGI 39760

Tomorrows World 296108

So as you can see CCOG is making an impact on Facebook hopefully the momentum will continue.

Randy

Now, I debated whether or not to include the information he provided on the other groups.

Part of the reason that I did was not to compare ourselves to them, but because of the following from the Bible:

6 So he answered and said to me: “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the Lord of hosts.
7 ‘Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain! And he shall bring forth the capstone With shouts of “Grace, grace to it!” ‘ ”
8 Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying:
9 “The hands of Zerubbabel Have laid the foundation of this temple; His hands shall also finish it. Then you will know That the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you. 10 For who has despised the day of small things? For these seven rejoice to see The plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. They are the eyes of the Lord, Which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth.” (Zechariah 4:6-10)

About six months after CCOG officially formed, I debated whether to spend a large amount of our income on video promotion on the internet.

Now, I knew full well that the groups listed above spent a lot on video promotion and on what is called social media.

At least two (if not four) of those groups listed in Randy Freeze’s email spend many times the total income of CCOG on such things.

Even though it would have increased our ‘popularity’ by CCOG spending a lot on such matters, I resisted doing that as it did not seem to be the direction I felt God wanted us to go then.

Instead, the decision was to use a lessor amount on Google campaigns, but to use most of the CCOG funds to go through open doors in places around the world, including places like Africa, to fulfill Matthew 24:14 and 28:19-20, as well as Romans 11:25 and 12:13.

Consider also the following:

12 Then He also said to him who invited Him,
“When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid. 13But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. 14 And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” (Luke 14:12-14)

Planting the gospel seeds in Africa led to our growing to one of the largest COGs (we are in the top ten in terms of congregants, though not in terms of income). Unlike all the other US-headquartered COG groups in the top ten in terms of congregants, we did NOT focus on reaching those in rich nations that could support us with income, but we went through the doors that were opened. Thus far, those in poor lands have tended to have been more receptive.

The Kingdom of God will not come “until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in” (Roman 11:25)–we are planting seeds for that now, and getting a partial harvest for that now, as Romans 11:25 must be fulfilled.

Thus far, without spending CCOG funds to promote our videos or social media, God has blessed us to have (by at least one measure) one of the largest COG presences that way. It was accomplished in ways others did not expect.

Many despised the small start of CCOG.

But we are reaching more and more throughout the whole earth. Facebook is currently a small door that is open for us to reach more people.

We need to reach those we can (Revelation 3:7-8) with the good news of the Kingdom of God(Matthew 24:14) to lay part of the foundation for the “fullness of the Gentiles” to come in (Roman 11:25)

Canadian Tax Receipts

Herb Haddon told me yesterday that he mailed donation receipts to Canadian donors last week. If you were a donor in Canada and did not  receive your receipt, please email him: hwhaddon@gmail.com

World News Items

Pope Francis continues to push his ‘Marian’ and ecumenical agendas.  As part of the latter, he basically betrayed Roman Catholics in China who tried to be more loyal to the Vatican than the Chinese government. Pope Francis decided to placate the Chinese government and allow it select/approve bishops (see Pope is Defiant in His Coronation of Mary and Plans to Betray Chinese Bishops; Cardinal wants to bless homosexual unions).

While many Roman Catholics outside of China care little about that compromise, they may also want to consider that Catholic Cardinal Reinhard Marx wants the Church of Rome to bless homosexual unions (see Pope is Defiant in His Coronation of Mary and Plans to Betray Chinese Bishops; Cardinal wants to bless homosexual unions). The ties between the Church of Seven Hills, governments, and uncleanness brings to mind Revelation 17.

The financial markets were shaken by what was called a “flash crash” this week (see Massive drop in Dow and worldwide stock markets and Janet Yellen out, Dow drops, interest rates to rise, and new Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell). US political leaders tentatively agreed to a debt increasing budget yesterday (see US Senate’s bipartisan spending-hike budget is ‘monstrosity’)–yet increasing debt will not end well for the USA (cf. Habakkuk 2:6-8).

Christians need to realize:

4 Do not overwork to be rich;
Because of your own understanding, cease!
5 Will you set your eyes on that which is not?
For riches certainly make themselves wings;
They fly away like an eagle toward heaven. (Proverbs 23:4-5)

While working is necessary (2 Thessalonians 3:10) and proper wealth accumulation is fine (Proverbs 13:22, the  Kingdom of God is to be our focus (Matthew 6:33). Those in the USA also need to realize that one day, the US dollar will be worth no more than the scrap value of the cotton-paper it is printed on.

Furthermore notice something that the Bible warns about the last days:

1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. (2 Timothy 3:1-7)

13 … evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. (2 Timothy 3:13)

In the USA, in addition to a president who has trouble with the truth, more and more is coming out about scandals associated with the FBI and other governmental agencies (see Did the FBI fear that they were involved in their own ‘Watergate’ with the FISA request related to Donald Trump’s campaign? and House FISA investigation memo suggests there are alligators in the ‘deep state’ swamp). The USA, as well as other nations of the world, needs national repentance. But that is not expected. We will continue to call for it, however, while we proclaim and look forward to the coming Kingdom of God.

Suggested Sabbath Service

Here is a suggested Sabbath service for this week:

  • 2-3 hymns (our songbook, The Bible Hymnal, contains the materials from the 1974 Bible Hymnal from the old WCG with new covers, plus ten additional hymns; there is also some Choral Accompaniment online).
  • Opening prayer.
  • Sermonette, which for most who receive this letter via email will be a recorded one from John Hickey: Pride. Other sermonettes are available at the Bible News Prophecy channel.
  • Announcements (if any; though for many it will be this letter) and one hymn.
  • Sermon, which for most who receive this letter via email will be a recorded one. The one suggested for this week is: Proverbs 24-25: What to do and what not to do. Other sermons are also available at the ContinuingCOG channel.
  • Final hymn.
  • Closing prayer.

Note: If you have a slow internet connection, you can watch these by starting the video, then below it (and towards the right) look for an outline of a gear–if you click on that, it will allow the YouTube video to be played with lower video quality, but at least it will not stop often–you can select a quality as low as 144p. If your internet connection is still too slow (as my home one is) and/or you prefer audio messages to audio-visuals ones, go to the YouTube link for the message, click on SHOW MORE related to the description. You will then see something that says, “Download MP3.” Below that is a link to an MP3 file. Most computers (and even some cellular telephones) will allow MP3 files to be downloaded and played. This is an option we have made available (but we are also looking into ways to improve that as well)–and, of course, we have written article options. Some people have found that if their internet connections are not fast enough, that they can simply listen to the messages that are found at the new Bible News Prophecy online radio channel. IN CASE YOU DO NOT RECEIVE A ‘LETTER TO THE BRETHREN’ FOR ANY WEEK, REMEMBER THAT THERE ARE MANY SERMON MESSAGES ON THE ContinuingCOG channel AND MANY SERMONETTE MESSAGES ON THE BibleNewsProphecy channel. There are also some messages at the CCOGAfrica channel.

Concluding Comments

Notice the following encounter with Jesus:

25 And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?”

27 So he answered and said, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’”

28 And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”

29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.  31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.  32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side.  33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion.  34 So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.  35 On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’  36 So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”

37 And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:25-37)

Brethren, while we obviously not support all who need financial assistance, we all can show mercy.

That is one way we all can show love to God and neighbor.

Sincerely,

Bob Thiel
Pastor and Overseer