Letter to the Brethren: May 24, 2018

Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:

Post-Pentecost greetings from Grover Beach, California.

We had a fine Pentecost here. We hope and pray you did as well.

A fine Pentecost was also reported in Serbia.

We also received reports from Kenya.

Here is a report from Bomet, Kenya:

Dear Bob,

Pentecost went well here at Bomet Kenya. Over 60 people attendant the congregation and they were happy for the sermon.

Thank you.

Pastor Tomas Koskey

Evangelist Evans Ochieng sent in the following report yesterday:

Pastor Dr Bob,

Greetings from Kenya.
I kept Pentecost in Oyugis with Deacon Kennedy Odhiambo from Oyugis. We had a wonderful meeting and a nice one. I appreciated the way how Deacon Kennedy Odhiambo organised Pentecost. I called our members from Nyakach both upper and lower to meet together in Oyugis. The day was very excellent. I received messages from all corners of Kenya and it was fine.
The problem is that, after the services in Oyugis, I had a very strong malaria till today. I am still feeling bad but I hope it will be ok.
Rose is now improving well.  She went back to the hospital for medical check up. And I hope she will be back home tomorrow.
Evans.

I did not learn until yesterday that Evangelist Ochieng had malaria. He has had it several times before. As far as his wife Rose goes, I knew about her and had been praying for her recovery.

There are many difficulties our brethren face in Africa, and malaria is just one of them.

Radio

Ended up with a last minute radio interview with Dr. Bill Deagle on Thursday May 17th starting at 2:00 pm PDT on the Republic Broadcasting Network. We discussed science, our latest animation (Big Bang: Nothing or Creator?), prophetic matters related to Europe and the USA, and concluded by stating that the world needs the Kingdom of God, not the Beast power that is forming in Europe.

Dr. Deagle said he would put up a link to our latest animation at one of his websites–so, we should reach others that we otherwise may not have reached.

The Internet and the Google Campaign

We have had to spend some time on something called General Data Protection Regulation(GDPR) this week. GDPR is a European directive that looks like it affects most everyone on the internet. Essentially it has rules severely limiting data collection and ‘cookies.’ As far as cookies go, according to Wikipedia:

An HTTP cookie (also called web cookie, Internet cookie, browser cookie, or simply cookie) is a small piece of data sent from a website and stored on the user’s computer by the user’s web browser while the user is browsing.

So, minor data collection looks to be an issue under GDPR.

As it turns out, companies have until tomorrow to be in compliance or potentially face massive fines. The CCOG does not knowingly collect such data, but we have had to review our websites to try to assure compliance. We also are adding a privacy policy to the sites and expect to have that done later today.

We do have some concerns about our YouTube videos (as YouTube uses cookies as soon as someone hits play). But as we do not collect personal data nor do we have any third party collect such data, we currently hope that YouTube will be in compliance to the point that we will not have to reload, etc. all of our videos–but are seeing if there is something else we can do (this is in process today).

Anyway, GDPR shows that Europe is influencing world standards and hence is controlling part of the internet in ways no other entity has tried to do. Expect more European controls in the future (cf. Revelation 13:16-18; Amos 8:11-12). Some of you may have received various notices on the internet from companies about their data collection/privacy policies (I received several in the past few days), and most likely it is because of GDPR.

On other internet matters, Google reported that our campaign with them reached 1,265,759 computers last month. That is down from the previous month, mainly because of changes in Google algorithms. If our income rises and/or we have less crises and needs in Africa to deal with, we would like to increase our budget for our Google campaign.

However, even at the level we are doing this, a witness to the good news of the gospel of the kingdom of God is going forth as we are working to fulfill Matthew 24:14 and Matthew 28:19-20.

Overall, it does not seem like before in the history of the Church of God after the first century have so few been able to reach so many at as small a cost as we in CCOG have been able to do.

37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” (Matthew 9:37-38)

Please pray for more laborers for the harvest.

World News Items

There were a couple more school-related shootings in the USA (see Texas school shooting followed by Georgia school shooting: The way of peace they do not know). While politicians, the media, and others have their opinions on how to deal with this, the reality is that the USA needs national repentance. My prayers go out to the families of those affected by this type of violence.

Massive repentance would also solve the gender confusion that the USA and other lands seem to be promoting. In the USA and Australia, restrictions on using gender-related terms keeps getting promoted by various government officials (see Local Australian and USA authorities want to ‘minimize’ gender truth). They basically want limits on the truth.

Consider also, over in Africa, some governments are looking at monitoring communications (see Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania potential censorship laws). And while various ones have concerns about this as censorship, they do not seem to realize that Western nations are on a path to censorship at least as insidious as we may see in Africa.

Over in the Western Hemisphere, there was a questioned election in Venezuela that saw the re-election of its President Maduro. Both his supporters as well as major candidates for the presidency of Mexico have been raising complaints about the policies and statements of US President Donald Trump (see Venezuela’s Maduro claims re-election; Mexican presidential candidates not thrilled with Donald Trump). As I have written for years, I expect that Latin America will align with Europe and against the USA in the future.

In addition to what is covered in this week’s recommended sermonette (see Will Europe’s Revolt Against Donald Trump Lead to WWIII?), a supporter in Canada sent me a link to another article where the Europeans basically state that they need to go their own way without the USA and towards unity, at least partially because of Donald Trump (see ‘Trump’s Quiet Victory over Europe’ or ‘The U.S. President Is Destroying the American World Order’). Many in Europe trust Russia’s Vladimir Putin more than Donald Trump. One day, I believe that the Europeans will make a deal with Russia against the USA–and that is beyond the current sanctions discussions those sides have been having. The Europeans are also in talks with China (e.g., see China increases presence in South China Sea, plus working with Angela Merkel and calling Australia ‘arrogant’).

The Anglo-American world order is in the process of being replaced. Though it still has more time (cf. Daniel 9:27; Matthew 24:4-14).

Suggested Sabbath Service

Here is a suggested Sabbath service for this week:

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 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. There are also some messages at the CCOGAfrica channel.

Concluding Comments

Notice the following account from the Apostle John:

11 These things He said, and after that He said to them, “Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.”
12 Then His disciples said, “Lord, if he sleeps he will get well.”
13 However, Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought that He was speaking about taking rest in sleep.
14 Then Jesus said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead.
15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe. Nevertheless let us go to him.”
16 Then Thomas, who is called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with Him.”
17 So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days.
18 Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles away.
19 And many of the Jews had joined the women around Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.
20 Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met Him, but Mary was sitting in the house.
21 Then Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.
22 But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.”
23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
24 Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.
26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
27 She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
28 And when she had said these things, she went her way and secretly called Mary her sister, saying, “The Teacher has come and is calling for you.”
29 As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly and came to Him.
30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the town, but was in the place where Martha met Him.
31 Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and comforting her, when they saw that Mary rose up quickly and went out, followed her, saying, “She is going to the tomb to weep there.”
32 Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”
33 Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled.
34 And He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.”
35 Jesus wept.
36 Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him!”
37 And some of them said, “Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?”
38 Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it.
39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.”
40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?”
41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.
42 And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.”
43 Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!”
44 And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.” (John 11:11-44)

Yes, brethren that which seems impossible can happen.

But the other point I want to make is Jesus’ confidence that the Father always hears Him.

We need to have the faith to realize that the Father always hears us as we go through our daily lives, tests, and trials.

Sincerely,

Bob Thiel
Pastor and Overseer