Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:
Greetings from our office in Grover Beach, California.
We continue to make progress in preparing literature and translations into various languages in order to fulfill Matthew 28:19-20 as we work to help fulfill Matthew 24:14.
Specific projects have included working on a future edition of the Bible News Prophecy magazine and a second edition to our history booklet, Continuing History of the Church of God. When I put it together originally, it was under rushed conditions. Which, while getting a draft version published ended up helping us greatly in Africa (which is why it was rushed), meant that a revised edition would be called for. The new edition has more scriptures, hopefully less typos, and a few more references than the current edition. It is currently under edit and hopefully will be out by the end of this calendar year.
Additionally, when there is some time, I have been working on a new booklet related to the Holy Days. This has been a project for some time, and now that there are no holy days for several months, perhaps a first draft will be completed in the next several months.
Steve Dupuie asked people to send him photographs from the Feast of Tabernacles this year and from them he put together a slide show, with some headings that should be considered as humor. Bill Wedekind provided some technical assistance.
If you or your local congregation can, you may wish to watch this presentation. If you attended a CCOG Feast of Tabernacles’ site this year, you may even see yourself. Here is a link: CCOG Feast of Tabernacles 2015 Slide Show.
Some photographs are also in the Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2015 article.
Photos from Nigeria
Rachael Sharon sent me the following photographs taken during the Feast of Tabernacles in Nigeria:
Rachael said because of lighting the other photos she took of people did not come out well, but at least she was able to send these.
The Nigerians are new to the Church of God and this was their first Feast of Tabernacles. CCOG Pastor Evans Ochieng hopes to be able to visit them soon.
SDA Pastor visits Nigerian group
A pastor of the Seventh-day Adventist church contacted me a few weeks ago and asked if we had any congregations in Nigeria. I told him that we had one that was fairly new to the CCOG that he could visit. So, last Sabbath he visited them and then sent me the following email:
We visited the church in Abuja. Things were okay an Rachael ,James
and the other church members tried to answer most of our questions.
They mostly used referred to the bible to convince us and support
their answers. We loved this so much and we really enjoyed the sabbath.
They also offered us a very delicious meal for lunch.
James promised to visit us in our church this next sabbath. We welcome
him and I hope he will find the whole group in the church.
As he is currently a pastor in the SDA church, I decided it was best to not list his name. The ‘James’ he is referring to is the Nigerian Pastor James Dzerm (who is also shown in the first photograph in the previous section).
Received the following from Ghanian elder Osei Bonsu:
As mentioned before the Ghanian group is not officially part of CCOG, but is looking towards us.
Getting a Witness into Nepal?
Yesterday, I received an email from CCOG’s Silas Muriuki that he was contacted by someone in Nepal who asked about our beliefs. I responded the Nepalese pastor (whose name I will leave out now) and sent him the following:
Dear XXXXX:Silas Muriuki asked me to give you some information.We in the Continuing Church of God believe we are the most faithful continuation of the original Christian church. We have lots of articles and information that can verify why that is the case, if you are truly interested.Sadly, most are not, and settle for a compromised religion that they call Christianity that was NOT practiced by Jesus or His original disciples. Most do not understand the true Gospel of the Kingdom or many aspects of Christian living.If your primary goal for contacting us was for financial support, then you will not be interested in us or supporting our efforts to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom to the world as a witness (Matthew 24:14).On the other hand, I have always been interested in Nepal and hope and pray that God will call more laborers for the harvest (Luke 10:2).Here are some links to information that you might find helpful. I included languages other than only English in case there may be one we have materials in that you are more comfortable with:Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church?Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language:Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and EkegusiiOmogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differ from most ProtestantsHow the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background. As far as some changes affecting Protestantism, watch the videoCharismatic Kenneth Copeland and Anglican Tony Palmer: Protestants Beware! [Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God “Contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3, NKJV), “Let brotherly love (Philadelphia) continue” (Hebrews 13:1) “…continuing stedfastly in the teaching of the apostles” (Acts 2:42 YLT). So, what does that really mean in terms of specific beliefs? Here is a related link in Spanish/español: Declaración de las Doctrinas de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. Here is a related link in Tagalog: Paglalahad ng Mga Paniniwala ng Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. Here is a related link in Mandarin Chinese 继续神的教会的信仰声明. Here is a related link in Kiswahili:KATIKA LUGHA YA KISWAHILI. Here is a related link in Dutch: Verklaring van geloofspunten van de Continuing Church of God. Here is a related link in Deutsche (German): Glaubenserklärung der Continuing Church of God. Here is a related link in Italiano: Dichiarazione del Credo della Continuing Church of God. Here is related link in the French language: Déclaration des croyances de L’ÉgliseContinue de Dieu.If after you have read more about the Continuing Church of God and are convinced that we teach what the Bible teaches and try to live as Jesus taught His followers would live and want to support the proclamation work, please let me know. Of if you have any questions about what we teach, feel free to ask me.Best regards,Bob Thiel, Ph.D.
Pastor and Overseer
Continuing Church of God
Normally, I would not put this in the weekly letter, but as I have never had any direct contact with Nepal (although some from Nepal have been to our websites, etc.) this seemed to be of sufficient interest to share. We plant seeds and hopefully this will witness to Nepal will bear fruit in the future.
World News Items
Pope Francis shocked many by announcing that the Vatican wants to become a bit more decentralized and give more decision power to local bishops (see Francis seemingly suggests reducing power of the papacy: an ecumenical move?). This is something that the Eastern Orthodox will tend to like and may be part of an ecumenical strategy.
There continues to be unrest in Israel as Palestinians have been involved in various stabbing attacks (see Palestinians involved in stabbing attacks in Jerusalem: another intifada? andPalestinians celebrate ‘suicide stabbings’). Pope Francis and the UN’s Ban Ki-moon have decried the recent violence (see Ban Ki-moon and Pope Francis Decry Violence in Israel). Pope Francis still is interested in getting a greater Roman Catholic presence in Jerusalem, and this is something he is working towards.
Perhaps it should also be mentioned that others are noticing that the ramifications of the UN’s ‘New Universal Agenda’ (which Pope Francis supports) are not good and are intended to lead to some type of Babylonian world religion (see Zero Hedge on ‘New Universal Agenda’ and ‘One World Religion’). However, one thing that commentators often miss is that the true Babylonian agenda will be implemented with the accompaniment of sorceries, demon-influence, and lying wonders (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12; Revelation18; Isaiah 47).
Jesus warned that persecution would come (John 15:20). Now, more in the USA are realizing that certain of its government officials consider those who hold to more traditional ‘Judeo-Christian’ values are extremists and potentially terrorists (see David Kuplian: Americans taking antidepressants while their government wants to classify those with Judeo-Christian ethics as extremists and potential terrorists). The time of a coming ‘famine of the word’ (Amos 8:12) is getting closer and I have long warned that government interference of our proclamation abilities be the cause.
The USA is having ‘debt ceiling’ issues again. Many are concerned that the limit will not be raised fast enough (see CBS: Debt ‘ceiling’ may be hit). Interestingly, Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said that he would ‘save America’ by trying to stop raising the so-called ‘debt ceiling’ (see SDA Ben Carson on his first move ‘to save America’ if elected US President). It is a ‘so-called’ ‘debt ceiling’ because it is continually raised, and hence not really a ceiling. It has basically doubled since Barack Obama because USA president. It is not likely that Ben Carson will be able to stop the total debt from growing as the USA is much more dependent on borrowed funds than most in the USA realize. The Bible warns that in the end times, a debt-ladened people would be taken over (Habakkuk 2:2-8). As the USA is the most indebted nation in the history of the world, this is a prophecy that will affect it, and I do not believe that any presidential candidate will be able to stop what will happen per the Book of Habakkuk–though some could possibly delay it (cf. Daniel 4:27).
As far as the USA goes, a study came out yesterday claiming that the top fear of Americans is governmental corruption (see What are the top ten Americans fears? What did Jesus warn about?). What could be considered ‘governmental corruption’ is expected to be what will contribute to the coming ‘famine of the word’ that Amos 8:12 discusses.
The Canadians had an election where they replaced Prime Minister Stephen Harper of the Conservative Party with the Liberal Party candidate Justin Trudeau (see Justin Trudeau wins–What’s ahead for Canada?). The tattooed Justin Trudeau wants to raise taxes, increase deficit spending, support abortion, support the UN’s climate change agenda, legalize marijuana, increase alien migration into his nation, support the Iranian nuclear deal, and get better relations with the USA. Canada is already a close USA ally, and prophetically looks like it will share its fate (see Canada in Prophecy).
Russia and Iran have been providing more direct military support to Syria’s President Assad this month. Various Protestant prophecy watchers erroneously believe that because of these moves, Ezekiel 38 may be close to being fulfilled, but it is not (see Russia, Iran, & Syria: Real and Wrong Views of Prophecy).
We had more dislikes of the related YouTube video (Russia, Iran, Syria, & the Bible (Code)), which is the suggested sermonette for this week than usual. This is probably because I directly denounced several faulty beliefs that certain prophecy-watchers hold. However, the truth is the truth, whether people will believe it or not–even if they are trying to discourage it. Perhaps it is good that the suggested sermon for the week is titled “Faith and Courage.”
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 1974 Bible Hymnal from the old WCG with new covers, plus ten additional hymns; there is also someChoral Accompaniment online).
- Opening prayer.
- Sermonette, which for many who receive this letter via email will be a recorded one titled:Russia, Iran, Syria, & the Bible (Code). 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: Faith and Courage. Other sermons are also available at theContinuingCOG 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 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 ContinuingCOGchannel AND MANY SERMONETTE MESSAGES ON THE Bible News Prophecy channel.
Notice something from the Book of Daniel:
4 “But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” (Daniel 12:4)
Brethren and co-workers, notice that prophecy says in the time of the end, there will be a lot of travel and knowledge will increase. With the invention of the internet, knowledge and its access have greatly increased. While some act like the ‘time of the end’ in Daniel (as well as Habakkuk 2) happened thousands of years ago, the reality is that the prophecies for the time of the end are for the 21st century.
We are closer to the end than we have ever been and the fact of increased travel and knowledge shows that Bible prophecy is being fulfilled. Endure to the end!
Pastor and Overseer
Continuing Church of God