Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:

Greetings again from Grover Beach, California.

We have been working on many things like booklets, African matters, and looking into potential locations for the Feast of Tabernacles.

We hope to finalize the location for the USA site (likely in Aurora or Naperville, Illinois) by the end of next month.

Radio

I was on radio on the Genesis Communications Network yesterday, January 27th, at 2:05 pm PST.

The host and I discussed items related to leaders who go against biblical morality. I tried to explain that the return of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God , and not a US Republican nor Democratic party presidential candidate was the only answer to the problems facing the USA now.

YouTube in Africa

In addition to the Bible News Prophecy channel (where we have English language sermonettes) and the ContinuingCOG channel, we also have the CCOGAfrica channel on YouTube.

Though I mentioned it once before, the CCOGAfrica channel had not been totally operational.

The channel now has sermons and other messages up in various African languages.  If you wish to see Pastor Evans Ochieng, Pastor John Owak, or others, you can see (and hear them) at the CCOGAfrica channel on YouTube.

We hope to have a future YouTube channel in the Spanish language and we plan to report on that once it is operational.

Church Building in Nigeria

As mentioned before, government authorities in Nigeria say that the Continuing Church of God must have its own physical building in Nigeria according to one of its laws.

We provided some funding last month to buy some construction materials.

From Nigeria Sharon Recho (Rachael) sent the following:

Dear Pastor Bob,

We thank God we just completed the construction of the church to the
Linton stage. We only remain with the roofing and making the doors and
the windows. We shall look into ways of raising funds for timber,iron
sheets and the steel doors and windows. We do not want to disturb you
any more to support. I hope the Lord will provide for us to get these.
Pray for us over it.

Best regards,

Rachael

Then Nigerian Pastor James Dzermine sent this two days later:

Dear pastor Bob,

Greetings from Nigeria.

I would just like to inform you that we have got the church building up. We have done the work to the Linton. We only remain with the roofing and the doors and windows.

The other good news is that our sister in Christ, Sharon, who is also
our deaconess promised to buy a steel door for the church at the end
of the month. She will be blessed for this.

We appreciate and thank you so much for the support you offered.

Regards,

James

It is good that progress is being made.

When the terrorist threat calms down there, Pastor Evans Ochieng hopes to visit them from Kenya.

Reaching Those in Kenya and Malawi

Kenya-based Pastor Evans Ochieng sent in the following report:

Pastor Dr Bob,
Greetings from Kenya.
Last week was a busy week.  But it was very productive week. I met some
new congregations that were ready to work with CCOG.

I met Peter Omuya from Kisii who for a long time had been requesting to meet us for more explanations about church doctrine and beliefs. Peter was keeping Sunday throughout his life but when he visit CCOG website, he found many truths that forced him to contact the church because he wanted to
learn more. So when he contacted me I sent Jephter to go and meet him.

Then later I went myself to meet with him and his congregation. I was
very happy when I was there because I found those who really need the
truth. They accepted to keep Sabbath, that means they repented and
ready to follow all the instructions from God. They asked me if I can
give them bible. Because I found if all members were lacking Ekegusii
bibles except peter. So I decided to buy for them bibles that day.
Another problem which they were having, was a hall where they can meet
every sabbath. Throughout there time of services, they were meeting
under tree whether it is rainy season or hot seasons. So we talked and
come to negotiation that we shall do cost sharing so that they can
have a meeting hall for their services every sabbath. I told them that
I will give them Iron sheets, nails and roofing nails. and they will
get timbers so that we can erect a hall.

After that I visit Nyamaruma  where I met a widow who also needed a bible.
I bought for her also bible because she was complaining that she like
studies but she doesn’t have bible.   I met another new congregation
which was also keeping Sunday before. When I met them for the first
time, they had a name of Bethesda. After talking with them for a long
time, these group divided  into two. Some decided to continue with
their old worship but the 35 decided to join the church and follow the
truth. Their Bishop also joined CCOG. We need to pray for these people
because there is a war and backbiting from those who remain in the old
faith. The bibles was also a problem here. so I gave them also
Ekegusii bibles.

After meeting the congregations in Kisii, I went to meet our
congregations in Rift valley and a person whose house was damaged by
tribal war. There was a great hunger in rift Valley so it forced me to
provide food to some of our congregations who were seriously
suffering. I could not manage to give food to all who were needy
because I am still having trip to Malawi. So I could not use all funds
that I have. Still there is need in Rift Valley because their farms
were affected by maize diseases. For almost three years there is no
good harvest in rift valley.

I went up to Narok to meet John Towet and his new congregation.
Unfortunately I could not make it up to his place because of rain. The
road was too muddy and rough that even motor cycle could not move. So
I and Sawek met him in Narok town. John is a very dedicated man who
has committed himself to the truth. I like him because what he was
telling me before meeting him was full of truth. He was a pastor in
Seventh Day church of God and now decided to join CCOG. We made an
agreement that if the rain goes down, I will go and meet his
congregation in February or March. I went back home safe and now
resting for a week then I will go to Malawi to meet our brethren in
Malawi and Mozambique.
Evans

We are reaching many who never had a Church of God (COG) background.

Pastor Evans Ochieng is planning on going to Malawi next week to meet with those there who have aligned themselves with the Continuing Church of God (CCOG).  Like many we are working with in Africa, they also did not have a prior COG background.

We are successfully reaching people in many languages with the good news of the coming kingdom of God (Matthew 24:14) and striving to teach all things that Jesus commanded (Matthew 28:19-20).

World News Items

The famous ‘doomsday clock’ made the news for not changing (see ‘Doomsday Clock’ remaining at 3 minutes to midnight due to nuclear tensions).  However, those behind it say that was NOT good news.  They believe that nuclear tensions (related to Iran, Russia, and elsewhere) as well as weather problems (which they call climate change) show that the world is not getting safer.  However, let me add that once we see the real, but temporal deal, in the Middle East that Daniel 9:27 tells of, the ‘doomsday clock’ will likely be pushed further back, but the biblical clock will be moving ahead rapidly.

Speaking of nuclear tensions, the recent lifting of financial sanctions against Iran has gotten Saudi Arabia to more publicly admit that it is looking at nuclear power and even weapons (seeSaudi Arabia wants to go nuclear since Iran’s sanctions were lifted).  It is likely that the final King of the South of biblical prophecy (Daniel 11:40-43) will have some type of nuclear weapons at its disposal.

Since the ‘doomsday clock’ people referred to weather, perhaps it should be pointed out that the BBC referred to the recent snow storm in the USA as “snowmageddon” (see BBC: ‘#snowmageddon2016′; Does God use snow?).  While that snow was certainly not the end, we are seeing changes in weather consistent with warnings we have been giving for years.

On a somewhat related note, a member in Canada sent me a link to a news item related to soaring food prices in parts of Canada being related to drought and the drop in value of the Canadian dollar (see Soaring food prices in Canada: Could this happen elsewhere?).  Weather does affect food prices and the time will come when other lands will also see shortages of food (Matthew 24:4-8) and higher food prices.

 Suggested Sabbath Service

Here is our suggested format for Sabbath services this week:

  • 2-3 hymns (our songbook, The Bible Hymnal, contains the materials from the 1974Bible 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 titled: Three trinitarian scriptures? 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 many who receive this letter via email will be a recorded one. The one suggested for this week is: Proverbs 16-17: Accept God’s Instructions. 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 ContinuingCOGchannel AND MANY SERMONETTE MESSAGES ON THE Bible News Prophecy channel.

Concluding Comments

Isaiah was inspired to write:

1 Here is my servant, whom I support. Here is my chosen one, with whom I am pleased. I have put my Spirit on him. He will bring justice to the nations. 2 He will not cry out or raise [his voice]. He will not make his voice heard in the streets. 3 He will not break off a damaged cattail. He will not even put out a smoking wick. He will faithfully bring about justice. 4 He will not be discouraged or crushed until he has set up justice on the earth. The coastlands will wait for his teachings. (Isaiah 42:1-4, GOD’s Word Translation, GWT)

Notice the following:

1 Imitate me as I imitate Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1)

7 Everyone who wins the victory will inherit these things. I will be their God, and they will be my children. 8 But cowardly, unfaithful, and detestable people, murderers, sexual sinners, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars will find themselves in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death. (Revelation 22:8-9, GWT)

Brethren, we face many tests and trials, but let us imitate Jesus and not be discouraged as we press forward as those who remain cowardly will not make it.

Sincerely,

Bob Thiel
Pastor and Overseer