Letter to the Brethren: July 28, 2016

Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:

Greetings again from Grover Beach, California.

We continue to work to promote the truth, love, and the good news of the Kingdom of God as opportunities appear available.

We continue to spend a lot of effort to turn our translated materials into booklet, and this project looks like it will be ongoing for some time.

Tanzania Report

Shortly after sending out last week’s Letter to the Brethren, Kenya-based Pastor Evans Ochieng sent me the following report related to Tanzania:

Pastor Dr Bob,

Greetings from Kenya.

I am back in Kenya after a long trip in Tanzania and part of Kenya border. My trip in Tanzania was very well organized by Martin Wanga and Andrew Kabebe. I met 18 families who were in different churches of God. I could not get time to meet some SDA members who were also wanted to meet us simply because according to the plan of Andrew, he wanted us to meet only those who were formerly in the church of God and later backslide and went back. Most of those who backslide went and join SDA Reformed, SDA and some pentecostal. One of the women who joined pentecostal did not welcome us in her home because she was very bitter with what kind of failure she got in one of church of God sector. I tried to talk with her for a long time about the truth and the differences between God’s church and Babylonian churches. But she was not fully convinced.

After that I went to a lady who denied to join any denomination since she left attending services with brethren. She was always staying in her home on Sabbath days. So this lady was having trouble among the family members that she didn’t have a house. It forced me to give funds to complete her house so that she can get a place to stay. I liked Yunita Were for keeping her faith. She did not bother whether she was alone. She was very happy and now she is a member of CCOG. she is going to attend services with Andrew Kabebe. I will try to send you the type of house of Yunita were. She was baptised by John Bartholomew.
After that we met other families who also welcome the work of CCOG.

The work in Tanzania is still large because we got another invitation from another group near Lake Victoria in Tanzania at a place called shirati. These group also remained in faith till now. They wanted the same work that we did around Randa to be done in that place. Since it is a tough work of walking on foot to visit homes, we told them that we are going to meet them again next month after visiting Malawi and Ethiopia. I am very happy with the work that is going on in Tanzania.

FEAST OF TABERNACLES 2016 CAMP.
The work of building feast camp in Tanzania is rapidly done. They have laid the roof. I hope by September it will be finished. Martin is working very hard upon it. We have put together the materials to help the work. Only doors and windows are still lacking. But the work is going on well. This time Tanzania brethren will have their own feast camp. The brethren in Tanzania are very happy with their site. After that I met some people near border who are also interested to work together with CCOG. …

Evans

There is a lot of work to be done and a lot of potential in Africa.  Jesus said:

2 The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. (Luke 10:2)

We need more quality laborers for the harvest. Please join me in continuing to pray for them.

In other African news, we received a report that a congregation once part of another ‘Church of God’ group has asked to join us in Malawi.

Missing, but Found!

Linda Holeman sent me the following on Tuesday:

Hi Dr Thiel. I have a prayer request. My little cousin Marianna has been kidnapped here in Wichita ks. She is only 14 and has mental disabilities. She has a mind of an 8 yr old. She has been missing going on 4 days now.  Please pray we find her.  The police have had their dogs and a troop of their men out looking.  The community and family have also been the search.  We have her on all news stations and posters.  We have done pretty much about everything.  Please pray hard for her and us. You can share this information with the brethren.  We need to find her. .this is so devastating. . Its so scary.

This was horrible. I prayed about this, and also past it on to someone else in CCOG, who past it on.

Anyway, the good news is that we received a report that she (Marianna Gonzales) was found by the next day. God does hear our prayers.  And, from what I heard, He answered this one!

Prayer Requests

Beverly Bivens, of Milwaukee (Wisconsin), told me this morning that her sister Edith (who I baptized at the Feast of Tabernacles last year) was hospitalized for congestive heart failure. They request your prayers.

I also heard from John Hickey, of New Zealand, that he is facing serious health problems, and I request all of your prayers for him as well.

Visit to the Old Ambassador College and Worldwide Church of God Headquarters in Pasadena

My wife Joyce and I visited what once was the old Pasadena campus of Ambassador College and the Worldwide Church of God headquarters.

We thought we would share some photographs:

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This is old Ambassador Auditorium   

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Bob and Joyce Thiel in the gardens

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Many old buildings are gone                         

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The old Student Center

The building that Joyce and I were married in (the old Fine Arts building) was destroyed in 2013.

Overall, the grounds of the Pasadena Campus of Ambassador College and the former Headquarters of the old Worldwide Church of God are still nice.  They are not nearly as nice or well kept up as they were under the old Worldwide Church of God.

We were disappointed to see many fine buildings and fountains gone. We also did not like the fact that you can no longer walk all of the old campus.

But, it was still nice to see. Hopefully, those of you seeing these photos will benefit from either your memories (if you saw the old campus) or some of the original buildings for the first time.

Of course, physical things do not last. Even the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed (though some of the bricks from the second temple apparently were saved and still exist, see Church of God on Jerusalem’s Western Hill).

Like the Jews who saw the original temple that were disappointed when they saw the second temple (see Haggai 2; see also The Temple and the Work), some believe that the Church of God needs impressive buildings in the 21st century.

But God does not see things the way humans do (Isaiah 55:9). And notice what God told people who wanted a fancier temple:

“The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former…” (Haggai 2:9).

This temple was not more glorious because it was as elaborate. It may have been more glorious because it represented the work of God under adversity (see also The Temple and the Work).

And that is the case today, which is part of why God allowed the old Ambassador College campus to no longer be the headquarters for His physical church on the earth.

To see more pictures (including one of some buildings that were later destroyed), go to the following link: Pictures of the Pasadena Campus of Ambassador College and the former Headquarters of the old Worldwide Church of God.

Radio

Was again able to be on the Nutri-Medical Report on the Republic Broadcasting Network (RBN). This was at 1:00 pm Central Daylight Time on Tuesday July 26th. The host and I discussed some issues such as racism, abortion, US leaders, and Planned Parenthood.

World News Items

There was more violence in the USA and Germany (see Mass Violence in Germany and Florida). Mass assaults have become much too common in the age.  Of course, the Bible warns:

23 ‘Make a chain,
For the land is filled with crimes of blood,
And the city is full of violence.
24 Therefore I will bring the worst of the Gentiles,
And they will possess their houses;
I will cause the pomp of the strong to cease,
And their holy places shall be defiled. (Ezekiel 7:23-24)

In the USA, presidential politics has remained in the news (see Donald Trump accepts nomination and vows to protect the LGBT crowd and Hillary Clinton chooses Tim Kaine as her Vice Presidential choice and Sanders being pressured to disavow Hillary Clinton endorsement after Wikileaks emails suggest rigged system; DNC chair resigns). Most in the USA do not trust either of the main candidates, and this distrust seems to be the highest ever recorded. The leading candidates of both parties have pledged to protect at least parts of the LGBT agenda.

In other international news, it was reported today that Russia and China plan to hold joint naval exercises in the South China Sea (see Russia and China to conduct joint naval exercises in the South China Sea). Military cooperation between the ‘kings of the east’ (Revelation 16:12) is prophesied and we continue to see steps taken that may be preparatory for that.

Suggested Sabbath Service

Here is a suggested Sabbath service for this week:

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

Jude was inspired to write:

3 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ. (Jude 3-4)

Brethren, even in the first century, Jude found it necessary to tell Christians to be part of the original faith–he did this just a few decades after Jesus walked the earth.

In this Laodicean age, Philadelphians are told to “Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown” (Revelation 3:11).

Many have forgotten doctrines and priorities that over 100,000 claimed to believe and follow a few decades ago. Unrepentant Laodiceans are also marked for condemnation in this age (Revelation 3:14-19), though not the same as the non-believers that Jude mentions in verse 4. But, like in Jude’s time, many who claim to be real Christians are not, and many who hope that they are Philadelphians are not.

Be diligent to hold to the true, Philadelphian, Christian faith.

Sincerely,

Bob Thiel
Pastor and Overseer