From Presiding Evangelist

Dear fellow ministers and brethren,

I want to thank all of you ministers, wives and fellow workers in the field for your loyalty and hard work. We have just completed 19 full years in the Global/Living Church of God in the Work which Christ is using us to perform. God has certainly been blessing us in recent years with an extraordinary degree of unity and harmony. Your combined efforts in the field ministry have greatly added to this and to the 7%-plus increase in our financial income for the Work here in the U.S. during 2011. We have much to be thankful for and we do thank Almighty God for these blessings!

In His inspired Word, God directed James to tell us, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience” (James 1:2-3). So, along with many blessings, God often allows serious trials to come upon His people to “test” us and help us learn certain lessons we might not learn any other way. As most of you know, quite a number of our members have—of recent date—been having very serious health issues, many of them potentially fatal. We have sent out notices and prayer requests about many of these situations of which we have become aware. I have given quite a number of full sermons on faith and healing over the last couple of years. But, just in the last few weeks, we have learned that my dear wife, Sheryl, has had a recurrence of cancer. And only this week, we have learned from medical tests that it has been determined that she has stage four cancer—affecting her liver, her lungs and has perhaps migrated into her ribs. She has now seen at least two physicians, an oncologist, and other medical experts to determine exactly what is occurring and what they recommend.

However, dear brethren, we have taught and believed for decades that even though medical assistance may be sought according to each one’s own understanding and conscience, above and beyond all of that there is a great God who heals. We know that divine healing was an integral part of the “Gospel Message” of Jesus Christ and the original apostles. For as Jesus began His ministry, the Gospel of Matthew tells us, “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people” (Matthew 4:23). Obviously, there is nothing that Almighty God cannot and does not supernaturally heal when He decides to do so.

Brethren, we have recently had a Church fast—beseeching God to give us more faith and more answers to our prayers for this very situation. So I won’t try to say a lot more about this in this written message. But I do ask all of our brethren to “follow through” on the recent fast we have undertaken and to continue to beseech God—more than ever—to begin to supernaturally heal more of our dear brethren all around the world who are right now afflicted and suffering from various illnesses. But I do ask all of you to please add my dear wife, Sheryl’s, name to the “list” of those who need urgent prayers at this time! I deeply love her and I profoundly need her to help me fulfill my part in this ministry.

May God continue to guide all of you faithful servants in the field. And let us focus more than ever on the reality of God, of His promises and of His soon-coming Kingdom.

With Christian love,

Roderick C. Meredith

Church Administration

Greetings from Charlotte,

Severe weather continues to make headlines. Yesterday, a severe storm and possible tornado tore through several counties in western North Carolina (about two hours from Charlotte) destroying more than 50 homes and injuring more than a dozen people, while Anchorage, Alaska, is being buried in record snows. We have had a number of meetings this week, including planning sessions for utilizing the Internet more effectively. Living University classes also began this week with just over 190 students enrolled. This is a 33% increase in Spring Semester enrollment over last year and a 65% increase over two years ago. Mr. Hernandez has returned from his trip to Mexico and Central America. Mr. Ciesielka and his family are settling into Charlotte where he will head our efforts developing our Internet sites. Mr. Pyle reports that the responses to Mr . Wallace Smith’s Tomorrow’s World program, “The Fight Over Hell” should exceed 4,200. Mr. Ed Breaux reports that 29 visitors attended the TWSP in Pensacola, Florida (see below). Mr. Breaux will make a follow-up presentation this coming Sabbath.—DSW

Tomorrow’s World Special Presentation

Pensacola, Florida: The Pensacola congregation hosted a Tomorrow’s World Special Presentation on January 7. The PowerPoint presentation, “The Gathering Storm,” was given by Mr. Ed Breaux. There were 57 individuals in attendance, including 29 guests. All of the guests remarked that they found the presentation interesting and informative. There was a great deal of interest from the guests in returning for next week’s presentation and some inquired about attending Sabbath services, also. The congregation was very thankful and excited about the potential growth in the area and look forward to next Sabbath.

Living Youth Programs
The 2012 dates for the Teen Camp and the Adventure Camp are as follow:
Teen Camp—Camp Lazarus in Delaware, Ohio:
Staff Arrival: Sunday, August 5, 2012
Camper Arrival: Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Camper and Staff Departure: Sunday, August 19, 2012
(Note: Campers may arrive early, with the staff, but will incur an additional cost for food and lodging and will be put to work.)
Adventure Camp—Glacier Park, Montana:
Staff Arrival: Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Camper Arrival: Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Camper and Staff Departure: Thursday, July 19, 2012
Registration: The registration process will begin February 1, 2012 for both camps. Stay tuned for more details!

Teen Bible Studies: The Youth Bible Studies will resume the first week of March. More details to come.—Sheldon Monson

Feast of Tabernacles
Canadian Feast Site Name Change
The name of our Feast site in St. Catharines, Ontario—announced in last week’s The World Ahead (and spelled by mistake as St. Actharines)has been changed to Niagara Region, Ontario.
2013 Israel Feast of Tabernacles Tour

We are looking into the possibility of having a 2013 Israel Feast of Tabernacles Tour. This would be a unique and exciting educational opportunity to visit the Holy Land. The group would meet in Tel Aviv on Monday, September 16, and spend two days touring near the Sea of Galilee prior to the start of the Feast. Services would be held at the hotel of residence each day during the Feast, with tours to various Biblical sites in the afternoons, except on the Holy Days. Departure for home would either be late in the evening after the Last Great Day or two days later, following an optional day of touring and the Sabbath. The anticipated cost of the land package and air fare (depending on your gateway city) would be a minimum of $4,500-$5,000 per person. If you can afford to participate in this tour and are seriously interested in going, please log on to your My LCG accou nt at www.cogl.org and click on the “Pre-Register for Israel FOT” button. Please do not pre-register if you simply want to go, but are not sure that you can afford it. If we do decide to have a Feast in Israel, you will not be precluded from going if you did not pre-register. This survey is strictly designed to let us know if we have enough interest in a Feast in Israel to begin making firm plans.—Jim Meredith

Living University

LU is off to an exciting start this semester with an increased enrollment of about 33% over Spring 2011! More than 190 students are enrolled in classes—most of whom are taking these courses for credit. Enrollment in our “academic” Bible Study Course (THL 110a and THL 110b) is very encouraging. We plan to offer these two classes each semester in order to better serve our brethren. We will also continue to waive the tuition for these courses.


God’s Perspective on Trials: Sometimes, when we encounter trials and difficulties, we wonder what is happening and whether God has forsaken us. However, in challenging times, we need to remember several fundamental scriptures. Jesus told His disciples, “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). God has also promised never to leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). The Apostle Paul reminds us that, “all things work together for good to those who love God” (Romans 8:28) and that even in trials, God will make “a way of escape” if we look to Him (1 Corinthians 10:13). James records that trials are opportunities to exercise faith in God and His promises and to build patience—while we do our part to work through the challenges we face. Let’s strive to remember and maintain this godly perspective when we encounter trials and as we pray earnestly for one another.

Have a profitable Sabbath,

Douglas S. Winnail

P.S. United and Living Church of God Representatives Meet

As the end of this age draws near, it seems more appropriate than ever that God’s people, wherever they may reside, support one another in fulfilling the commission Jesus Christ gave us. With this in the forefront of our minds, representatives of the United Church of God, an International Association, met with the leadership of the Living Church of God at Living’s Headquarters in Charlotte, North Caroline, on January 9-10 for a two-day visit.

The purpose of the visit was to re-kindle friendships and discuss ways to cooperate in serving God’s people. The meetings were cordial and positive and included an open and frank discussion about those things that we have in common, and some of our differences, including church government and the way each Church is organized. We also discussed our different strategies for preaching the gospel in this modern age. There was no discussion of any type of merger.

Discussions about areas of cooperation within the greater Church of God community included: humanitarian concerns, disaster relief and other unforeseen events where we can help our members meet critical needs by supporting and loving one another as Jesus commanded. Cooperation could also include helping members who have difficulty getting time off for the Sabbath and Holy Days, and other legal matters that affect both organizations. It was agreed that open communication between Church of God organizations will become more important as world events move towards their ultimate prophetic fulfillment.

Those in attendance at the meetings in Charlotte on behalf of the Living Church of God were Dr. Roderick C. Meredith, Mr. Richard Ames and Dr. Douglas Winnail. Those who traveled from Cincinnati for the United Church of God were Mr. Dennis Luker, Mr. Victor Kubik and Mr. Peter Eddington. Mr. Luker commented that the Cincinnati team felt most welcome and were treated very warmly. In addition to the meetings, the UCG visitors were given a full tour of the Living Church of God headquarters and adjacent media center.

News and Prophecy—January 12, 2012

Guttenberg to Run for German Office in 2013? In September 2011, Baron Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg said he would leave Germany for the U.S. His decision stemmed from a plagiarism scandal that resulted in his resignation as German Defense Minister, and the stripping of his doctorate by his alma mater. His plan was to spend two years in the U.S. on a type of “sabbatical,” in order to “rethink his political career” (Der Spiegel, September 6, 2011). Now fast-forward just four months… Herr Guttenberg appeared on the scene in Germany two weeks ago related to a technology project. This week’s headlines ran, “Disgraced former Defence Minister Karl-T heodor zu Guttenberg is taking his first steps towards a political come-back, less than a year after his plagiarised doctorate forced him to resign.” Guttenberg hasnow “agreed to meet [Christian Democratic Union] party officials in Bavaria to discuss his participation in the 2013 general election, Der Spiegel magazine reported on Sunday” (The Daily, January 8, 2012). The Baron’s star was on the rise until his fiasco several months ago. At the time, the German press was calling him “Germany’s most popular and promising politician.” It appears that his star may be on the rise again, perhaps in the near future (2013), as he could once again become “Germany’s most pop ular and promising politician.” Bible prophecies reveal that a charismatic and influential leader will one day head a European, German-led Beast power (Daniel 9:27; 11:21-23; Revelation 13:1-10). We need to keep our eyes on this up-and-coming political force.

Doomsday Clock Ticks Forward. “A group of scientists that tracks the likelihood of a global cataclysm says the world is moving closer to doomsday. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists announced Tuesday that it has moved its ‘Doomsday Clock’ to five minutes to midnight. The group says inadequate progress on stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and continuing inaction on climate change are the reasons for the change. The clock had been set at six minutes to midnight for the past two years. It was previously set at five minutes to midnight from 2007-2010. The group says in a statement that two years ago, there was reason for optimism ‘that world leaders might address the truly global threats we face. In many cases, that trend has not continued or be en reversed’” (Associated Press, January 10, 2012). Although the predictions of men are not the accurate prophecies of God, it is not difficult to discern, given the global difficulties today, that the world is approaching a precipice. Jesus clearly taught that the signs of the end of the age would be relatively easy to read: “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors” (Matthew 24:32-33). Doomsday Clock scientists are not far off. The end of the age and the triumphant return of Christ are approaching. For more on this important subject, review our exciting booklet, Fourteen Signs Announcing Christ’s Return.

U.S. Kindness in Troubled Region. Iran and the U.S. are “rattling sabers” once again in the Persian Gulf. Tightened sanctions on Iran have resulted in military exercises and threats of retaliation if the U.S. brought its carrier group back to the gulf (which it now has). An Iranian general recently warned, “I recommend and emphasize to the American carrier not to return to the Persian Gulf… we are not in the habit of warning more than once” (National Post, January 6, 2012). Amid the escalating tensions, the U.S. carrier strike group received an SOS from an Iranian fishing boat that had been captured by pirates. U.S. forces mounted a rescue, saving 13 Iranian sailors held captive for the last 40 -45 days. “They were held hostage, with limited rations, and we believe were forced against their will to assist the pirates with other piracy operations,” observed a U.S. Navy investigator. The released Iranian hostages were deeply grateful to their U.S. rescuers. Despite threats and lack of Iranian cooperation, it is encouraging to see kindness and humanity demonstrated by U.S. military forces. God prophesied that through the descendants of Isaac, “all the nations of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 26:4). One day soon, the god of this age will be removed as Christ’s righteous government fills the earth, and all human beings will be taught to practice godly ways that will ultimately lead to real peace!—Sue Bennett and Scott Winnail

COGwriter 2012

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