Letter to the Brethren: March 10, 2016

Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:

We hope and pray that you are doing well. Another full, but productive week here in Grover Beach.

We have been working on many matters, including some new booklets. Plus we have been making preparations related to the Feast of Tabernacles.

Feast of Tabernacles 2016

We now have made arrangement to meet for the Feast of Tabernacles at the Hampton Inn in the Aurora region of Illinois. This region is south-west of the Chicago airport and more like a half-hour west-south-west of Chicago.

Here is its address:

Hampton Inn & Suites

2423 Bushwood Dr

Aurora IL 60506

If you want to stay there, please telephone the Hampton Inn directly.  The telephone number is(630) 907-2600.

To get the discounted rate, tell them you are with the Continuing Church of God. While this may be the nicest hotel in Aurora, we picked it because it was nicer than another hotel and the cost for the conference room was the same. Not all hotels have meeting/conference rooms that will meet our needs.

Normally, we pick the hotels for the Feast of Tabernacles based on the price of the conference room, as long as it also has free parking for visitors.

Information on this hotel is included in the link: http://www.hamptoninnandsuitesaurora.com/.

If you plan to come to Aurora, Illinois for the Feast of Tabernacles, whether or not you plan to stay at the Hampton Inn & Suites, please email me: cogwriter@aol.com to let me know.

On other matters, we have two men who are relatively new to the Continuing Church of God (one from Texas and one from Minnesota, both of whom have a Church of God background) who are planning on coming to Aurora for the Feast of Tabernacles who have agreed to give sermonettes.  So, we expect to have two sermon speakers, plus four others to give sermonettes.  This is a far cry from our first CCOG USA Feast of Tabernacles in 2013.

From New Zealand, John Hickey emailed me and said that the site there will be in Taupo, New Zealand.  Taupo is basically in the middle of the North Island of New Zealand.

More on the expected Feast sites for 2016 can be found at the following: Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2016.

April 2, 2016 in Florida

As announced last month, I plan to be in Florida the Sabbath of April 2, 2016.  We thought we had a space for free, but it required that someone live in certain parts of West Palm Beach County. If you live in Florida, and/or may wish to visit and would like to come for services, please email me. My email address is cogwriter@aol.com. And if you live in West Palm Beach County, please let me know where as if we have someone in the right location coming, they will hold that location for us until Monday, otherwise we will have to find another location.

New Booklet

We have just put together a new booklet, Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays?, and have not yet received actual copies of it yet (I showed the cover in the recommended messages for today).

CHOG Book Cover 2015 BOTH

We plan to mail this booklet to all of our English language subscribers later this month, along with the next edition of our Bible News Prophecy magazine (neither of which we have printed copies of yet).

This is a booklet I meant to have done last year, but editing, etc. took longer than expected. But we are glad that it is now about to be available. I plan to send a file to Africa today, so hopefully it can also be printed in Kenya.

Mystery of Lawlessness Sermon

While I would like to think that all the sermons we put out are of important spiritual value, I would like to encourage all to watch the one recommended for this week.

Why?

Well, hopefully it will help better show you brethren one aspect of the end time work that many of you will be involved in as well as give you some information to fulfill end time prophecy (Daniel 11:33). Because the ‘man of sin’ will arise (2 Thessalonians 2), end time Philadelphian Christians need to better know how to explain the mystery of iniquity/lawlessness.

Between this week’s recommended sermon, last week’s recommended sermon, and a related article, we have put out more information explaining why iniquity/lawlessness is a mystery to most.

Those who cannot watch those sermons can get some of that information from the written article Mystery of Iniquity.

Note: One of the booklets shown in the recommended sermon (related to the Gospel of the Kingdom of God) was a draft that we eventually plan to mail to our subscribers later this year.

Africa Matters

Pastor Evans Ochieng emailed the following:

Pastor Dr Bob

Again I met a new group next to Migori. They are good people. One of them was in United but he left United and his family. Also I talked with Kerato through phone and we agree to go and meet in  Kuria this week. I received funds Herb sent from Canada.  This coming Sabbath I will be in Kisii to meet three groups. I am happy God is calling people in the church.

Evans

In Malawi, the money we tried to send for food got delayed by Western Union, and finally arrived to relieve the hunger for many of our brethren in Malawi and neighboring Mozambique.

Funds sent from Canada to Kenya also arrived as Pastor Ochieng’s email indicated.

World News Items

The European Union made a tentative deal with Turkey to deal with migrants from the Middle East and Africa (see EU makes deal with Turkey to send back migrants; UN objecting). The Europeans are realizing that the migrant situation is not good for Europe and the leadership is trying to minimize the problems.  However, although the Bible indicates that the Turks will make future deals with the Europeans (e.g. Psalm 83:3-8), major conflict will occur between the Europeans and a power that will united in the Middle East and Northern Africa (Daniel 11:40-43).

US Vice President Joseph Biden said that the US would “squeeze the heart” out of the Islamic State terrorist group (see Joe Biden: US Will ‘Squeeze the Heart’ Out of IS). This may well happen as I remain of the view that the current ‘caliph’ of the Islamic State (Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi), will NOT be the final King of the South that the Bible tells of (Daniel 11:40).

Germany’s Vice Chancellor warned that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump threatens peace and prosperity (see Germany’s Vice Chancellor warns that Donald Trump threatens peace and prosperity). Earlier, former German Defense Minister, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg referred to Donald Trump as “that blonde lunatic named Donald.” Americans do not realize how offended the Europeans are getting with the US presidential primaries.  Even if Donald Trump does not win, the fact that he has had a lot of popular support has already offended the Europeans.  They likely will cite the popularity of Donald Trump as a reason to build their military and become less dependent of the USA. They also are concerned about Donald Trump’s trade policies.  The Europeans want to dominate world trade, and the Bible shows they will for a time (cf. Revelation 18), and they do not want the USA in their way.

Over in Rome, Zenit.org, a pro-Vatican news agency ran an article titled “A Cyclone Called Francis” (see Zenit: ‘A Cyclone Called Francis’). The article basically said how the author believed that Pope Francis’ policies were bringing ‘pacification’ to the world.  The article cited his accomplishments related to political dealing, ecumenical efforts, the interfaith agenda, and the production of his Laudato Si encyclical to support its claims.  Of course, those of us who understand what the Bible says of those ‘accomplishments’ see that they will lead to a time of false peace and destruction.

 Suggested Sabbath Service

Here is our suggested format for Sabbath services this week:

  • 2-3 hymns (our songbook, The Bible Hymnal, contains the materials from the 1974Bible Hymnal from the old WCG with new covers, plus ten additional hymns; there is also some Choral Accompaniment online).
  • Opening prayer.
  • Sermonette, which for many who receive this letter via email will be a recorded one titled: Should Christians Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? 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 many who receive this letter via email will be a recorded one. The one suggested for this week is: The Mystery of Lawlessness. 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 ContinuingCOGchannel AND MANY SERMONETTE MESSAGES ON THE Bible News Prophecy channel.

Concluding Comments

Notice something that Jesus taught:

20 Then He lifted up His eyes toward His disciples, and said:

“Blessed are you poor,
For yours is the kingdom of God.
21 Blessed are you who hunger now,
For you shall be filled.
Blessed are you who weep now,
For you shall laugh.
22 Blessed are you when men hate you,
And when they exclude you,
And revile you, and cast out your name as evil,
For the Son of Man’s sake.
23 Rejoice in that day and leap for joy!
For indeed your reward is great in heaven,
For in like manner their fathers did to the prophets. (Luke 6:20-23)

Brethren, yes, it is often difficult to be a Christian in this age. We have both physical and spiritual trials. Yet, we are to rejoice indeed as God’s kingdom will come down from heaven (Revelation 21:2)!

Sincerely,

Bob Thiel
Pastor and Overseer

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