Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:

Greetings from New Zealand!

As mentioned last week, we had to leave Tuesday to get here on Thursday so we would be here in time for the Sabbath starting Friday evening.

There was a lot to do to prepare for the trip and we hope and pray we will accomplish all that needs to be in New Zealand on this visit.

New Zealand does a lot of editing of publications for the Continuing Church of God (CCOG).  The volunteers in New Zealand also put together the Bible News Prophecy Flipboard page and the Bible News Prophecy online radio channel site.  Additionally, they maintain the CCOG.nz website.  Plus their tithes and offerings help cover costs of productions of various CCOG materials that they use, display, and distribute.

Now, the recommended sermon for this Sabbath is a little shorter than normal and the sermonette is longer than usual (perhaps the longest I have done).  The sermonette was longer as I used three different, though related, news posts, whereas I normally just use one when I make a BNP sermonette.

Pentecost is this Weekend

Pentecost occurs from sunset May 23rd until sunset May 24th.  This is a holy day, and thus we will have back-to-back Sabbaths.

Pentecost is an important part of God’s plan of salvation, and should have special meaning for those who are being called in this age.

Pentecost in Ontario

Received the following email earlier this week from Warren Savage:

Greetings from the CCOG, in Milton ONT. CAN.! Just a short note to let you know, everything is going well and we are planning to hold services, Sunday May 24th, for Pentecost. We will meet in our regular spot, the recreation room off the front entrance of Building A here in Milton. Services will run from 10 AM to 12 PM.

Anyone interested in attending, contact Mr. Michael Radtke at michael.radtke@sympatico.ca.
Thank-you very much!

This is the first year that the Continuing Church of God will have Pentecost services in Canada.  There also should be Pentecost services in New Brunswick.

More Canadian Matters

The Canadian website, CCOGCanada,ca exists and has one article, which also has information on where to book a room for the Feast of Tabernacles in Niagara Falls, Ontario this year.  We expect to do more with it, but we at least now have something there.

World News Events

Pope Francis called Palestinian President Abbas “an angel of peace” last Sabbath as part of his inter-faith peace plan (see Pope Francis calls Palestinian President an ‘angel of peace’).  The Bible tells of a religious power based in the area of Rome that commits ‘fornication’ with the kings of this world (Revelation 17:1-9) and we continue to see more political actions by Pope Francis.

In the Middle East, the terrorist group calling itself the Islamic State continues to fight and try to gain territory.  Because of that and the threat from Iran, certain Arab leaders met with USA President Barack Obama in Washington to try to get stronger military commitments from the USA.  However, they did not get what many wanted (see Islamic State captures major city in Iraq; Gulf leaders concerned about their security).  Concerns about USA actions and inactions are helping drive Arab leaders to conclude that they must have their own military confederation–and the USA is also directly encouraging this.  However, Bible prophecy shows that this will not end well for the Arab confederation to be led by the final King of the South of Bible prophecy (Daniel 11:40-43).

The Islamic State made major gains also in Syria (see Islamic State gaining weapons and land: Barack Obama dimisses recent setbacks).  The time will come when Syria’s capital Damascus will be destroyed (Isaiah 17:1)–actions by the Islamic State may well trigger or cause this (though the actual destruction may actually come from Israel or elsewhere).

In the USA, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham said he was going to run for its presidency because he thinks the world is falling apart (see Lindsey Graham: ‘I’m running because I think the world is falling apart’).  While he has that right, Jesus and the Kingdom of God, and not the next USA president is what is needed to correct that.

In the USA, a couple of rival motorcycle gangs started to fight each other in Waco, Texas.  This resulted in at least 170 arrests (see Waco shoot out: more violence to come?).  More violence, including civil unrest, will be coming to the USA before it is taken over.

Also in the USA, its federal government is looking into what to possibly due because of massive losses to it bee and butterfly populations (see Government looking into devastation of bees and butterflies: GMOs and pesticides are factors).  The precise cause can be debated, but it appears that pesticides and items related to genetically-modified crops are factors.  Bees are needed to improve the pollination of many foods and losses of bees can affect the food supply.  Some day, real hunger will come to the USA (cf. Ezekiel 5: 5:16).

Suggested Sabbath Service

Here is our suggested format for Sabbath services 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 that we list each week.

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 ContinuingCOG channel AND MANY SERMONETTE MESSAGES ON THE Bible News Prophecy channel.

Suggested Pentecost Services

Here is our suggested format for Pentecost services this Sunday:

For those who wish two services, here is a second suggested service:

Concluding Comments

Brethren, consider the following:

1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. (Acts 2:1)

Jesus’ faithful followers were together and still, after His resurrection, keeping the Day of Pentecost–they obviously did not believe it was simply a Jewish holiday that had been ‘done away.’

And while we have members scattered across all of the inhabited continents of the world (Antarctica is not considered to be an inhabited continent, and is the only continent that we do not have members), my hope and prayer is that we are all in one accord and will all properly keep the Day of Pentecost this upcoming weekend.

Sincerely,

Bob Thiel, Pastor and Overseer
Continuing Church of God