Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:
Greetings now from the west coast of California.
We flew out of Florida last Sunday morning and are back in California.
I learned on Monday that the CCOG church telephone line (1-805-574-1818) was not working. Something apparently bumped the answering machine and it did not take calls or messages. If you tried to telephone me and thought you left me a message, I did not get it. Sorry about this.
Differences with Protestantism
In Florida, we had Sabbath services in Jensen Beach.
Related to that, there was something I did not cover enough in my sermon (How Does the Church of God Differ from Protestantism?) there, that I want to point out here.
A major difference between the Continuing Church of God and the Protestant faiths is that the Protestants tend to place their hope and confidence in human governments and militaries, while we look past those to focus on the return of Jesus Christ and the establishment of the Kingdom of God.
During the time of the Protestant Reformation, notice what the followers of Martin Luther declared in 1530:
Article XVI: Of Civil Affairs. Of Civil Affairs they teach that lawful civil ordinances are good works of God, and that it is right for Christians to bear civil office, to sit as judges, to judge matters by the Imperial and other existing laws, to award just punishments, to engage in just wars, to serve as soldiers...They condemn the Anabaptists who forbid these civil offices to Christians.
It should be noted that some of those called Anabaptists were in the Church of God (please see the article The Sardis Church Era).
Protestants generally do not act like Satan is the “god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4, KJV).
They generally want to have real friendship with this world (cf. James 4:4). Protestantism was not just a religious movement, but a political one.
Protestantism DOES NOT have a truly biblical foundation.
In the 21st century, the Continuing Church of God has taken the following position in its Statement of Beliefs:
NOT OF THIS WORLD
Jesus taught, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). John the Baptist taught, “Do violence to no man” (Luke 3:14, KJV). Historically, those of the Church of God have considered military service as wrong for its members. From Revolutionary War times to the Civil War and to present, countries like the United States have tended to have had provisions to exempt Church of God members and congregants from military participation because of conscientious objections. Early Christians did not participate in military warfare nor watch violent sports.
The Apostle Paul taught “we are ambassadors for Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:20; Ephesians 6:20). The Apostle Peter taught that God’s people were “a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out” (1 Peter 2:9). The Bible also teaches that this world has been deceived by Satan the devil (Revelation 12:9) and that God’s people need to be separate from the world (John 15:19; 2 Corinthians 6:14-17; Revelation 18:4). Thus, historically, the Church of God has taught that its members not participate in secular juries and secular politics. However, Christians are expected to listen to (and pray for, 1 Timothy 2:1-3) governmental authorities (1 Peter 2:13-17) and pay their taxes (Matthew 22:17-21), yet if there is a conflict between the laws of men and the laws of God, “We must obey God rather than any human authority” (Acts 5:29, NLT). (Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God)
This is historically consistent with the Church of God throughout history as well as the New Testament–but it is one that the Lutherans condemned.
The focus on the world, instead of the Kingdom of God, still pervades most of Protestantism. This carries forward into their focus to try to convert people now, while they dismiss the idea that there will be an opportunity for salvation for those who have not truly had one in the age to come after the second resurrection.
North America Feast of Tabernacles Sites
We plan to have three Feast of Tabernacles’ sites in North America for 2017.
The first confirmed site is San Diego, California.
A few moments ago, I received the following from Herb Haddon:
Plans have been finalized for this year’s Feast of Tabernacles in Canada.Our host city is Kingston, Ontario. A short distance from New York Interstate 81.Details on the venue are as follows:address: Thriftlodge1187 Princess StreetKingston, Ontario, CanadaK7M 3E1telephone: 1 800 706-0698 (local) 613 546-4411room rates: $85.00/nite plus applicable taxes– includes Wi-Fi , parking and continental breakfastIn order to access the special rates, when making reservations, mention you are with The Continuing Church of God or use reference # 326-675560.We have been given special rates for our meeting room with a request that, if possible, we use their guest rooms. I feel the special room rates are very good. The rooms are large with 2 queen size beds in each and room for 1 – 2 cots (additional cost), if there are singles who would like to share costs.
We also expect to have a limited site in Wichita, Kansas. We hope to provide more information on all the North American sites next week if certain details are confirmed.
Our most current information is in the link: Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2017, which is updated as we get more information.
Deacon Ondigo Nimrod Ochieng sent in the following report to Pastor Evans Ochieng:
Dear Pastor Evans,
Glad to inform you that I met some of the brethren of the Church of God Seventh Day who had expressed a great concern in knowing much about CCOG.
They had received some Kiswahili magazines along some teachings when they were directed to me through one … from Sagegi near Maasai land.They have so far benefited from the BNP Kiswahili magazine and at least an article that I have sent to them.But they wanted me in person to go and give some lectures.
I did exactly that yesterday.Even though I came from the Hospital tied,the Lord gave me strength to accomplish this commission.I found a small group of about 10 adults and their children.
I gave a sermon of about one hour summarizing the fundamental beliefs of CCOG.In the afternoon,they again insisted that I give them more lectures.I touched about prophecy,The Philadelphia era and the great commission.
They have no hall of meeting and therefore we were about to be rained on.They have a temporary structure I mean some poles covered with banana leaves.They are very loving and caring though most of them understand Kiswahili and Kuria language.One person understand some English.They asked several questions like Church Governance,about Feast of Unleavened Bread.As you know,they celebrate Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days,I clarified that point biblically.They also believe that the Word of God comes from Jerusalem through the Lesson that they normally use for sermon and sermonette.I also clarified that.They were very happy and have invited me more to visit them and or come to Kehancha for more teachings.Unfortunately,my digital camera had no power,so I did not take any photo with them.I will do so if I have to travel soon and this means when funds allow.This time round I used the FUB offerings to reach there.
That is briefly all I encountered yesterday. Perhaps this might be another open door.Lets pray about it!
Note: I edited out the CG7 leader’s name as the move to CCOG is not finalized.
Evangelist Evans Ochieng sent in the following report with the above one:
Pastor Dr Bob,
Greetings from Kenya.
I received this message from Nimrod Ondigo Ochieng who visit the seventh day church of God between Migori and Kihancha. Most of seventh day Church of God are seeing light and do contact us often.
I am receiving requests from seventh day Church of God and most of them are are serous to follow the truth. I will visit them together with Nimrod.
I am planning to go to Malawi by may. I communicated with Molozowa that I meet the people from Zambia who were formerly Worldwide Church of God members. We want to open and have members in Zambia. I will travel to Malawi early May.
I am also waiting to hear from Wafula from Uganda if I can visit them.
I had received an inquiry from Kennedy Wafula of Uganda and passed that on to Evangelist Evans Ochieng and he is hoping to also visit Uganda. I also mailed Kennedy Wafula some literature. He stated that about 13 people are in his group. We also are cautiously optimistic about Zambia as well.
Much is going on in Africa.
World News Items
The USA and North Korea keep talking tough (see Tension level rising between USA and North Korea and US missile launch, Senate meeting, and North Korea). If this ‘spins out of control,’ the USA and North Korea could both experience sorrows and troubles (cf. Mark 13:8).
Over in Europe, many are ‘relieved’ that Marine Le Pen came in second in the first round of the French presidential election (see Some French election ‘relief,’ but parts of Europe are arming).
Monday marked the anniversary of Armenian genocide as well as Holocaust Remembrance Day. Pope Francis offended many Jews by indicating that refugee camps were the same as the concentration camps (see 102nd anniversary of Armenian genocide; Holocaust remembrance day). Expect to Vatican to support persecution in the future to those who hold to “Judeo-Christian’ beliefs and practices (cf. Revelation 12:17; 17:1-6).
Over in Germany, a man whose father was a holocaust promoter warned that Germany could be heading towards the acceptance of authoritarianism again (see German warns against German authoritarianism; Ivanka Trump jeered in Berlin.). An authoritarian Germany is consistent with various biblical prophecies (cf. Isaiah 10:5-12; Revelation 13; 17:12-13).
It is believed that Israel launched a strike against Hezbollah in Syria today (see ‘Syrian state media says Israel carried out strike on Damascus airport’). Syria and Hezbollah are allied with Iran, and the Bible indicates that Iran and Syria may be involved in a future attack on Judah, which is the tiny nation of Israel (Isaiah 22:5-11).
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 many who receive this letter via email will be a recorded one. The one suggested for this week is: What were early Christian church services like? 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: How Does the Church of God Differ from Protestantism? 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.
The Book of Proverbs teaches:
5 A faithful witness does not lie,
But a false witness will utter lies.
6 A scoffer seeks wisdom and does not find it,
But knowledge is easy to him who understands.
7 Go from the presence of a foolish man,
When you do not perceive in him the lips of knowledge.
8 The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way,
But the folly of fools is deceit.
9 Fools mock at sin,
But among the upright there is favor.
10 The heart knows its own bitterness,
And a stranger does not share its joy.
11 The house of the wicked will be overthrown,
But the tent of the upright will flourish. (Proverbs 14:5-11)
Brethren, despite the fact that many in the world hate, mock, and despise us, the wicked will be overthrown. Look past the wicked and truly be part of the upright who will flourish.
Pastor and Overseer