Contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered for the saints ... Let brotherly love continue (Jude 3; Hebrews 13:1)
Letter to the Brethren: December 29, 2016

Letter to the Brethren: December 29, 2016

Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:

Greetings again from the West coast of the USA.

We have been working on literature, the Feast of Tabernacles, the African conference, and magazines.

As far as the Feast of Tabernacles goes, my wife Joyce and I visited some facilities that might host the Feast of Tabernacles in San Diego for 2017. We are also considering having another site, with limited live speakers, probably in the Midwest of the USA. When we asked people who attended the site in Aurora, Illinois in October 2016, a number of them expressed interest in a possible San Diego, California site for 2017. We are considering a West coast site  this year because Joyce and I will likely attend the first half of the Feast of Tabernacles in New Zealand (probably in Rotorua), and with the second half in the USA, a West coast site is feasible from a travel perspective. But San Diego is not yet finalized.

On other matters, we just passed the fourth anniversary of the official declaration of the formation of the Continuing Church of God on December 28, 2012. The recommended sermon for this week covers some aspects of what has happened and is happening.

Bible News Prophecy Magazine

The January-March 2017 edition of our Bible News Prophecy magazine has been mailed from the USA to subscribers around the world (though those in Kenya and Tanzania will get theirs from Kenya).

As most of you know, we are producing the magazine in many languages. Here are four (English, Spanish, German, and French):

englishcover17bmp spanishFcoverjm17 germFCoverweb17bmp frenchfrountweb

The Bible shows that faithful people will be called and converted from “all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues” (Revelation 7:9). Having materials in multiple languages helps us reach people in more nations, tribes, and tongues.

African Conference

We have been working on getting set up for the African Conference which is scheduled to take place in Nairobi, Kenya in February 2017. Pastor Evans Ochieng informed me that there is the possibility of political issues in Nairobia, so we need to pray for the success of the conference planned for there.

Anyway, we sent funds to Africa to pay for the transportation of some leaders there to attend the conference.

Two from outside of Africa, myself and our Serbian host Alexsandar Veljic, have been working on our airline reservations for the conference.

‘Last Days’ Calendar Year-End Income Tax Matters

As a reminder, the last days for those who live in the United States to have their contributions eligible for tax deduction for calendar year 2016 are here. All donations mailed must be postmarked no later than December 31, 2016 to be eligible.

All contributions received via US mail for residents of the United States are to be processed for the tax year based upon the postmarked date on the envelopes.

For contributions received via PayPal, we use the date that PayPal gives us.

In New Zealand and Canada the rules may be slightly different for mailed and other contributions, so if you want the tax deduction for calendar year 2016, they likely also need to be made in the next few days.

John Hickey

I would like to request prayers for John Hickey, our host in New Zealand. He is not doing well.

World News Items

Over in Europe, the EU Observer noted that the election of Donald Trump was of even more significance than the vote by the UK to leave the European Union (see EU says US’ vote for Trump more significant than UK’s Brexit vote). Donald Trump’s positions on NATO, trade, the United Nations, and the climate change agenda are contributing to a departure away from the USA by Europe. Once Europe determines that it no longer needs the USA, and when it senses a certain opportunity, the USA will be attacked and will be no more (cf. Daniel 11:39). While the time for that has NOT yet come, the election of Donald Trump is of major significance as the Europeans are more willing to take actions that their politicians were hesitating about.

Also in Europe, more German gold has been repatriated (see Germany’s Bundesbank Repatriates Gold From New York, Paris “Faster Than Planned”). As part of the plan to replace the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency, it is likely that the Europeans will decide that having gold reserves is essential. The Europeans will end up with other gold as well (cf. Daniel 11:40-43).

Over in the USA, some are voicing concerns about the proposal to possibly extend the term of US debt to as much as one-hundred years (see 100 year bonds?). The hope is that if interest rates go up, the USA will not be as affected as it otherwise would. The accumulation of debt by the USA will not end well (Habakkuk 2:6-8; Daniel 11:39).

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 by Michael Radtke: Will you be sifted? 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: CCOG: Four Years Revealing Philadelphia? 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.


Concluding Comments

The Apostle John was inspired to write:

12 Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. (Revelation 14:12)

Brethren, be patient, keep the commandments of God, and have the faith of Jesus.


Bob Thiel
Pastor and Overseer