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Letter to the Brethren: January 21, 2021

Letter to the Brethren: January 21, 2021

Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:

Greetings from Grover Beach, California.

Last Sunday, I made available my latest book, Biden-Harris: Prophecies and Destruction, for free on Amazon Kindle to all of you in a special email.

The Kindle version of Biden-Harris: Prophecies and Destruction hit number 1 in two small categories according to Amazon reports on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday:

So, we seem to have reached some already with this release of the book.

Anyway, the release had a few typos (like I transposed 2031 as 2013 in one place)–but once we realized that, it was too late to stop the promotion. I apologize for making the typos (which I fixed yesterday, plus added a few more scriptures)–they are expected to be corrected at Amazon next week as it was not practical to do it this week because of the free Kindle book announcement (which expires today: Biden-Harris: Prophecies and Destruction: Kindle edition).

That being said, the reason that the book was released before a second edit was basically for timing. Two former WCG ministers, who run their own churches, declared that Donald Trump would remain in office and not be replaced by Joe Biden. Yesterday again proved they were false prophets (see Biden-Harris Inaugurated: Gerald Flurry and Don Billingsley again proven wrong).

Furthermore, since various ones affiliated with the Church of God have been overly focused on various scenarios that would keep Donald Trump in office, it seemed that releasing the Biden-Harris book would hopefully help change the focus of some of them. While it is not that it is impossible for Donald Trump to again by the President of the United States, that is not something we as Christians need to focus on.  Neither Joe Biden nor Donald Trump are what America needs. The USA needs national repentance. One of the scriptures that I added to the book yesterday (that I thought I had in it earlier) was:

5 … But the Assyrian shall be his king, Because they refused to repent. (Hosea 11:5)

Yes, a modern day descendant of Assyria (central European/German) will lead the forces that will take over the USA in the future (Isaiah 10:5-12; Daniel 11:39). Because the USA is not going to repent as a nation, that will happen no matter who occupies the White House.

Now as Christians, our focus is generally on the fact that the Kingdom of God is coming soon as Jesus said to seek that Kingdom first (Matthew 6:33).

The recommended sermonette for this Sabbath goes into some speculative details, consistent with historical Church of God beliefs, as to when the end will come (watch Is the USA prophesied to be destroyed by 2028?). The end of the USA is coming fairly soon.

The sermonette for this week is a bit longer than usual, while the recommended sermon for the week is a bit shorter than usual.

Travel to Australia? Feast of Tabernacles 2021?

Late last week Serbian elder ‘Sasha’ Veljic and I discussed, via Skype, possible trips to Australia.

It was our intent that either:

  1. My wife Joyce and I would go to Australia for the Feast of Tabernacles in the Fall,
  2. Elder Veljic would go there around Pentecost, or
  3. Elder Veljic would go there for the Feast of Tabernacles in 2021.

However, shortly after our discussion, an announcement by a health leader in Australia suggests that this is basically impossible (see Germany looking at lockdown extensions, Australia may remain closed until 2022, and Biden-Administration pledging to not allow European travel).

Furthermore, the restrictions that are in place do not look like there are any current exemptions to make it possible to go to Australia for religious purposes.

Unless it soon changes, it looks like Joyce and I or Sasha will not be able to go to Australia in 2021.

Therefore, for the Feast of Tabernacles, we suspect that, at most, we may be able have some type of video site in Australia in 2021.

Additionally, we plan to start to take steps to look for a Feast of Tabernacles’ site in the USA. We expect this will be somewhere between New Mexico and Tennessee.

While we do expect to have a USA site in 2021, it may be that the announcement of such a site may be delayed for some time as COVID-19 blamed restrictions change frequently.

However, have no doubt, we intend to have Feast of Tabernacles’ sites around the world in 2021 (see Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2021)– as we did in 2020.

But we may have to delay knowing some locations, and may (like we did last year) have a backup location plan in the USA in case of last minute government restrictions (there also ended up being a last day change in the Philippines last year).

CCOG Spending

We closed the financial books on 2021 and the donations received by our USA office was up by 31.7% over 2019.

We also have mailed annual contribution receipts to those in the USA who donated and provided a mailing address in 2020.

That being said, some have wondered how the US office of the Continuing Church of God spends the funds it received.

So, this seemed to be a good time to explain.

Overall, if you sent the CCOG a check for US$100.00 in 2020 here is how it was spent:

  1. Internet proclamation 6.21
  2. Printed publications 27.00
  3. Video and animation production 2.75
  4. Foreign final phase of the work 7.92
  5. Future projects 3.80
  6. US Feast of Tabernacles’ costs and US travel 1.90
  7. Administration and legal expenses 0.74
  8. Salaries, health insurance, and retirement plans for US leaders 0.00
  9. Support to Europe 2.13
  10. Support to or for Africa, Haiti, and the Philippines 47.55

Yes, most of our money goes to support the physically and spiritually poor as we work to fulfill Matthew 24:14, Romans 11:25, the Ezekiel Warning, and Matthew 28:19-20.

Here are some longer explanations of each of the categories:

  1. Internet proclamation includes paying for servers, URL fees, platforms (like Vimeo), and our Google campaign to reach people around the world. The Google campaign has now made over 207 million computer impressions with parts of the Philadelphian message. We also added in 2020 and have been doing a Microsoft promotion of it since. We actually spent about the same on this as in 2019, but because of our increase in income, this percentage dropped. Our online radio is covered by New Zealand and radio guest appearances are essentially free (sometimes a minor telephone cost, which is included under Administrative expenses).
  2. Printed publications include the production, printing, and distribution of the BibleNewsProphecy magazine in various languages as well as various books and booklets. The costs here also include formatting non-English literature in forms that it can be available on the internet as well as forms to allow it to be printed in the USA and Africa. The good news is supposed to be “published” (Mark 13:10, KJV/AFV) and we are doing that in both the Western and Eastern Hemispheres.
  3. Video and animation production covers the costs to produce the BibleNewsProphecy videos, CCOG animations, the Behind the Works video, and the creation of DVDs that are sent to some international locations for the Feast of Tabernacles. It also, sometimes, includes cost for sermon production–but those costs are negligible. These videos are one of the major ways we reach people around the world. Because we mainly use free platforms, we do not have to spend massive amounts here. Since we did not produce any animations in 2020, we spent less on this than in 2019.
  4. Final phase of the work expenses (professional fees, government fees, and travel) are generally for non-USA matters (essentially long-term proclamation matters related to Romans 9:23-28 and 11:23-28). We are making contacts and working with various governments, NGOs, and private organizations in Europe, Asia, and Latin America. US expenses related to the final phase of the work are in other categories (like printed publications and internet expenses).
  5. Future expenses represent unspent funds and essentially act as a reserve. These increased slightly in 2020 and some may be used for literature and other promotion in 2021.
  6. US Feast of Tabernacles’ costs include what the hotel charges for the meeting room and some travel and other expenses. This category also includes other travel, which tends to be low. An example of US travel would be costs associated with Deacon Richard Close making a baptizing and counseling tour.
  7. Administrative expenses. This tends to include a few office supplies, mandatory government fees, and telephone costs. My business office does NOT charge the CCOG for use of space, electricity, postal machine use, etc.
  8. Salaries are not paid to leaders in the USA. People such as myself, Richard Close, Steve Dupuie, Louis Rubin, Bill Wedekind, Terry Nelson (who went to Africa on CCOG’s behalf in 2020), and our Spanish language translators are not paid—we all have freely donated time. Nor have we paid their spouses. Nor have we funded any retirement nor health insurance plans.
  9. Europe, via Serbia. Those funds provide ministerial and other support, including producing messages and materials (electronically) to reach people, not only in Eastern Europe, but also around the world.
  10. Support to Africa, Haiti, and the Philippines includes paying for ministerial expenses to reach and teach, travel to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God, printing some literature, certain translation expenses, distributing literature, meeting space assistance, supporting the poor (Galatians 2:10; Romans 12:13; cf. James 2:14-16; Hebrews 13:16; Isaiah 58:7; Proverbs 28:27), including widows and orphans (James 1:27). Support ‘for’ includes expenses paid to people who were traveling to some of these places. While most of the direct support for Haiti comes from the Canadian office, the US office helps advise on this, sometimes also directly sends funds, as well our office has not asked for funds to reimburse for literature it produces and sends to Canada in order for that office to better be able to provide support for Haiti. Philippine expenses were minor and mainly related to the Feast of Tabernacles. The vast bulk of the money in this Support category goes to Africa as that is where the vast majority of our members reside and many fruits are being produced. While we did send substantially more to Africa in 2020 than 2019, because our income increase was so great, the percentage sent to Africa decreased.

The vast bulk of CCOG funds are spent to preach, reach, and teach, with nearly all the rest to support the poor and widows. It appears that never before in Church of God history have so few helped so many with so little for so long in order to have the impact that the Continuing Church of God is having.

We strongly believe that whatever you send is well spent to support the Philadelphian remnant as we work on Matthew 24:14 and Matthew 28:19-20 while we strive to be ready for the short work and our part in the final phase of the work.

Please pray that we will have more laborers for the harvest (Matthew 9:38) as we push forward in the 2020s.

This week’s recommended sermon goes over spending, scriptures, and priorities (watch CCOG spending and priorities).

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: Is the USA prophesied to be destroyed by 2028? 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 spending and priorities. 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.


World News Items

US President Donald Trump left the White House yesterday (see Donald Trump comments and leaves; COGwriter lists 20 items related to him that began to come to pass). And Joe Biden and Kamala Harris officially became president and vice president of the United States (see Biden-Harris Inaugurated: Gerald Flurry and Don Billingsley again proven wrong).

Germany and Austria have been to extending COVID-19 lockdowns, even though two studies suggest that they are not the right approach (see Austria extending lockdowns, Stanford study says they do not work, WHO says they are a horrible idea and Germany looking at lockdown extensions, Australia may remain closed until 2022, and Biden-Administration pledging to not allow European travel).

COVID-19 matters also seem to be pushing Italy towards cashlessness and electronic money (see COVID-19 nudging Italy towards cashlessness). Digital/electronic money can always be tracked and looks to be how 666 will be able to monitor buying and selling (Revelation 13:16-18; watch also COVID-19 Leading to 666?).

Concluding Comments

The Apostle Peter was inspired to write:

8 But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:8-9)

Yes, brethren, God has a plan. It is a loving plan. And it is coming to pass. And yes, some of the time is needed for us to develop character to be what God knows we can be.


Bob Thiel
Pastor and Overseer‹ CCOG spending and prioritiesPosted in Letters to the Brethren