Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:
Greetings from Grover Beach, California.
There have been a couple of wildfires in our vicinity. We smelled smoke a few days ago from a fire to our south.
Today, the sky is full of smoke here, apparently from one or more fires in the north.
Otherwise, we have not been directly affected.
Sabbath Service in Texas
There is a small gathering planned for church services this Sabbath, August 22, 2020, near Dallas, Texas:
We will be gathering together from 12:00-4:00 at Quality Suites in Addison, Texas. I’m sorry to give you such short notice. We finally found a meeting place today.
Chad Branton is the contact person for those who would like to be there. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
This is the first time the CCOG has anything like that in the Dallas area, so if you have interest and are close enough to attend, this would be a good time to send Chad Branton an email.
COVID Travel Restrictions Lifted
Koang Deng Gatluak
Received the following email from Ethiopian deacon Koang Deng:
Dear Elders:I have got communicate with our members both Ethiopians and South Sudaneses who live as refugees in this region and to come and doing feasts celebration together in Gambella.I told to them to get ready for the coming Feast of Tabernacles which will be celebrate coming Month.And also the government of Gambella freed some times all religious holy days celebration, that means we have no more restriction about that pandemic disease (covid_19).Thanks,Koang deng.
This is great news!
Evangelist Evans Ochieng Kisiengo
Evangelist Evans Ochieng sent the following report after visiting the Gribe and Muhuru Kenya congregation last Sabbath:
Pastor Dr Bob
Greetings from Kenya.
I’m back from Gribe and Muhuru Congregations.
I met the two congregations above. The service was very good. My MAIN massage today was about the RENEWAL OF THE MIND AND CLEAN SACRIFICE. Since we are approaching THE ORDAINED FEASTS OF GOD. I was preparing people to be ready for the feasts ahead. Starting with the Feast of Trumpets, then Atonement, the Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day. I met with Gribe first in the morning and Muhuru in the afternoon. The meetings were very good. The attendance was also good. i really appreciated the growth in Gribe. Last year the growth was low but today I found a big different. I thank God for that.
I discussed more with the whole congregation and host Jacob. We came to conclusion that Gribe and Muhuru will go to Ndhiwa for the Feast of Tabernacles. More people from Gribe will attend the feast of tabernacles than in 2019.
Since Gribe is a like a new congregation, and because most of members came from COGWA AND UCG, very few learn from our website. They will come to Ndhiwa for the feast of Tabernacles.
After that we discussed about chicken project. They are interested to start chicken project which they were promised by Terry Nelson. I hope it is good to start for them a project at least. This will help them a lot.
We also talked about their meeting hall. Since the number has increased in Gribe, their meeting hall is small and it needs to be expanded. I hope that will help them so much.
On Tuesday I will travel to North Rift Valley.
It is great to hear that we are having growth in Gribe.
Because of the proximity of the Feast of Tabernacles, Evangelist Ochieng said to wait until after the Feast to help them start the chicken project. The chicken project is basically intended to help them produce and sell eggs and thus have more food and a way to earn money for food.
As reported earlier, we recently purchased a new website URL, cg7.org and announced it this Summer (see Letter to the Brethren: July 23, 2020).
It’s purpose is to promote biblical and historical truth about the seventh-day Sabbath and the Church of God.
To promote the site a little bit, we set up a promotional campaign with Microsoft Bing, which will cost us very little. But there were problems with Microsoft Bing. Those were resolved this week.
So the promotion is functioning and it has spurred some interest in this new website.
World News Items
What is now claimed to be the highest validated temperature recorded on planet Earth occurred in California this week (see Wildfires and ‘highest temperature ever’ in California?). But, according to the Bible, great heat will one day scorch the people on the planet, and instead of repenting, most will blaspheme God (Revelation 16:8-9)–we are seeing the same end result these days as many people complain, but generally do not repent.
The ‘virtual’ Democratic National Convention has been going on this week (see At Democratic Convention, Michelle Obama states, ‘We have got to vote for Joe Biden like our lives depend on it’). Unsurprisingly, former US vice-president Joe Biden was selected as the presidential candidate (see Joe Biden secures Democratic presidential nomination: What are his priorities?) and his vice-presidential selection of Kamala Harris was also approved (see Kamala Harris selected for VP by DNC: Here is more from and about her). The ‘virtual’ Republican National Convention is planned for next week. While we should have knowledge of some of the politics of the lands we live in, we need to be careful that we do not get caught up in the politics of the world, as the Kingdom of God is the Solution, not the results of a carnal election.
In Belarus, people have protested the results of an election there (see Protests in Belarus and parts of Chicago on lockdown). Depending upon the results, we are likely to see protests in the USA after this November’s election.
Elsewhere in the world, there are concerns that more may experience hunger because of governmental and other disruptions of the food supply chain (see Global COVID hunger concerns and North Korea wants pet dogs for food). Famines are prophesied (Matthew 24:7-8) and not just for the parts of the world that are currently the poorest.
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. The one suggested for this week is: UAE Deal: Peace in the Middle East? 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: Christian Faith. 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 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 Bible News Prophecy channel. There are also some messages at the CCOGAfrica channel.
The Apostle Paul wrote:
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:4-10)
Brethren, I have found that Protestants often like to quote verses 8 and 9, but not verse 10. Do not be like them that way.
Pastor and Overseer