Greetings from Charlotte, 

We have just over a week until the Passover.  Mr. Ames gave a fine sermon this past Sabbath here in Charlotte on self-examination in the light of the Scriptures—a subject that needs to be our focus at this time of year.  This week, Mr. Meredith completed a co-worker letter that is currently being mailed.  He will also finish taping lectures for his Living University class.  We have sent out the ministerial assignments for the 2008 Feast of Tabernacles and we are in the process of notifying those pastors who will be coming to Charlotte for the Pastors Conference in May.  We are also very encouraged to see the recovery of Mr. Skip Stephenson (who coordinates Shipping and Receiving here at the office) after a serious illness. 

Mr. and Mrs. Ames will observe the Passover in Charlotte and they will spend the last day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread in Corpus Christi, Texas. Mr. and Mrs. Davy Crockett will also spend the Passover and the First Day of Unleavened Bread in Charlotte. They will then be in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, for combined services on the last day of the Feast. Mr. and Mrs. Apartian will be flying next Wednesday to the French West Indies to observe the Passover and to keep the first portion of the Feast of Unleavened Bread with the Martinique brethren. He will then give a public Bible lecture in Guadeloupe on April 23 before returning to Charlotte via Fort Lauderdale, where he will be celebrating the last day of the Feast with the South Florida brethren. Mr. and Mrs. Meredith and I will be in Europe during the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  

Church Administration 

Meal Preparation on a Holy Day 

This year, with the Night to Be Much Observed falling on a Saturday evening (April 19), some are concerned about preparing the Night to Be Much Observed meal on the weekly Sabbath.  According to the Scriptures, it is permissible to prepare something to eat on a Holy Day (which is a High Sabbath)—see Exodus 12:16.  However, we should use wisdom in this situation.  Whatever can be prepared in advance, should be prepared on Friday, which is the normal preparation day. Most people today do not have to labor to build a fire to do their cooking.  They merely put something into an oven or a microwave and press a button.  We also need to remember that Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27).  The Night to Be Much Observed is a time for rejoicing together and the beginning of a Holy Day.  It is not a time to fast or to endure a skimpy meal—that is simply not in the spirit of the occasion.  In order to enjoy a nice meal for the Night to Be Much Observed, there will need to be some final preparations preceding the meal—which Exodus 12:16 would allow. 

Northeast Update 

Mr. Jonathan McNair reports: Everyone is gearing up for the Passover season. We had an excellent weekend here.  For the first time since before the Feast of Tabernacles, we had a Sabbath service in White River Junction, Vermont. One of our members, you may recall, had a triple aneurism, and came close to death or permanent damage. Over the past months, he has made a recovery that is miraculous—doctors and hospital staff have been amazed at his progress.  He is now back at work, and almost at 100%.  On Sabbath morning, he was explaining to us how his right hand was ahead of the left in terms of coordination, and he was concerned about being able to songlead for our service.  But he did fine!  

South African Update 

Mr. Pieter van der Byl reports: God’s Church in Southern Africa is experiencing an increase of visit requests. We had two baptisms in Cape Town on 23 March as well as two others in Zambia on 29 March.  I traveled to Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, from Cape Town on 27 March, and then took a 600-km bus trip to a small town called Mongu, which is close to the Zambezi River in the Western Province of Zambia. I met with two men, who had requested visits in the home of one of them, on the Sabbath together with their wives, as well as with another man who traveled in from another town 109 kms away! I gave an outline of the meaning and the importance of God’s Holy Days and answered many questions. There was a high level of interest and motivation all around. The two men I originally went to see were ready for baptism, which we performed on Sunday in the waters of the flooded plain near the Zambezi River, after finding a suitable spot.... It turned out to be an exciting and profitable trip, and I couldn’t help thinking of two scriptures put together, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them—as many as the Lord our God will call…” (Matthew 28:19; Acts 2:39). 

Canadian Update 

Mr. Gerald Weston writes: The first quarter has been a good one for the Work of God in Canada.  Public Bible studies were held in Mississauga and Scarborough, Ontario, and in St. John’s, Newfoundland. A total of 86 subscribers attended these studies and now, after two months, 15 are still attending with us each week (some are asking about baptism) and several others come occasionally. We have also gotten off to a good start financially with a 23% increase over the first quarter of 2007. New television opportunities are coming to light just across the border in the U.S., where signals are received in both countries. So far we have not found the right stations at the right prices, but we are starting to experiment with several. We hope to have good news on this front before the summer. Edmonton and Montreal are both approaching 50 in attendance and GOTO’s are coming in daily for many of the areas across Canada.  These are “brand-new” people to the COG, former members of WCG, and others who were not fully satisfied in one of the other COG groups.  Everyone is getting prepared for the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread. 

 Caribbean Update 

Mr. Paul Shumway reports: We have been pleased with the growth God has granted His Work in the Caribbean.  In Barbados, we received 2,963 responses to the Tomorrow’s World telecast in 2007.  Of these, 867 were first-time callers.  Of the 5,002 items requested, most were mailed out from our office in Barbados.  Postage costs were just under US$2,000 and were covered by the tithes and offerings of our faithful “Bajan” brethren. According to Mr. Lascelles Fraser, our elder in Jamaica, the Tomorrow’s World program brought in 363 responses in March—215 were from first-time callers.  Six individuals are counseling for baptism.  Again, we are deeply thankful for the growth God is granting us! 

Spanish Update 

Anthology of Reprint Articles: The first volume of an anthology of Living Church of God reprint articles in Spanish, Antología de artículos publicados, was distributed this week by e-mail to all Spanish-region congregations. The purpose of this anthology is to give members access to the Church’s articles in an organized compilation. If you would like to receive this anthology by e-mail, please contact Mr. George Schaubeck at gschaubeck@lcg.org or Madeleine Lincoln-Strange at mlincoln@lcg.org

New Zealand Update 

Mr. Kinnear Penman reports: In March, responses to the Tomorrow’s World broadcast came at an average of 113 each week with an average of 49 (43%) being from first-time callers. Over 250 subscribers were added to the Tomorrow’s World mailing list. Thirty-six sets of Bible Study Course lessons were mailed. Two co-workers were added to the list. There is a surge in the number of GOTOs being received. Two pastoral trips were made during the month (the second extending into April). A total of 30 people were visited and six of these were first-time visits. Five people were invited to attend services with us. Tomorrow I head up to Northland where I have eight people to visit, including four for baptismal counseling. I had the privilege to baptize three people.  

Living Youth Camp  

Summer will soon be here and many of our teens, preteens, young adults and older adults are thinking about camp. There is still room for both camper and staff applicants, but we need your applications submitted as soon as possible.  In addition, we are asking other Church members to submit short evaluations for all of our staff members. If you have been contacted to give an evaluation, please do so right away or let the staff member know that you will not be submitting an evaluation on his or her behalf.  These evaluations are important for the staff selection process and we are having to hold off letting some staff members know if they have been accepted until the evaluations are completed.  This makes it difficult for them to make transportation arrangements, so please take two or three minutes to help these individuals. For those interested in attending one of our camps, you can fill out an application online at lyc.lcg.org or ask your minister to help you with an application. 

South Carolina Singles and Family Weekend 

The Anderson, South Carolina, congregation is sponsoring a Singles and Family Weekend during the weekend of April 25-27. There is plenty of room for all who want to attend and have not yet registered. Holy Day services and accompanying activities will be held at the Greenville Hilton in Greenville, South Carolina.  Weekend activities include a Singles’ Bible Study on Friday evening, Holy Day services on Saturday, a banquet and ball on Saturday night, and activities and a picnic at a park on Sunday. A catered luncheon will be available at the Hilton between Holy Day services. Details about the event and a registration form can be found at www.lcg-anderson.org. If you plan to attend, complete the online registration form and remit payment by mail in time for receipt by April 15.   

Feast of Tabernacles 2008 

Questions and Answers 

The following are frequently-asked questions, and their answers, about the upcoming USA and Canada Festival registration on May 4. Please make these questions and answers available to all the brethren, either verbally or by referring to them and posting them on your local congregation bulletin board. This information will also be posted on the MyLCG website, www.cogl.org.  (These questions and answers are directed primarily to brethren in the United States and Canada.  Those in international areas should consult their Regional Director for more information).

Question #1: Where am I assigned?

All brethren in the United States are assigned to a Feast site according to the congregation they attend, not their home address.  For example, some brethren live in one state but their congregation is in another state.  Congregations in the United States are assigned to the following U.S. Feast sites: 

Branson, MO: Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Tennessee 

New Braunfels, TX: Colorado, Louisiana, New Mexico, Texas 

Newport, OR: Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming 

Prescott, AZ: Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah 

Sunset Beach, NC: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Puerto Rico (Note: brethren in the Northeast are encouraged to attend in Orford, QC, if their assigned site is too far to travel) 

Wisconsin Dells, WI: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, Wisconsin 

Canadian Feast Sites: Contact the Canadian Office if you have questions about where your congregation is assigned. 

Question #2: What if I need to attend a different site than that to which I'm assigned?

If you need to transfer to a site different from your assigned site, simply register for a transfer on May 4.  The Festival Office makes every effort to approve the vast majority of transfer requests.  Exceptions may occur for a few sites where space is limited. If you have any questions or problems with your transfer request, don’t hesitate to contact the Festival Office at festival@lcg.org

Question #3: Why will U.S. and Canada site transfer requests not be approved until May 18?

We are giving brethren who are attending their assigned site two weeks to register and obtain housing first, then we will accept incoming transfers. This is a way for incoming transfers to show love and out-going concern—on the honor system—for their brethren who are attending their assigned site. Note: As a consideration to others, please do not make housing reservations before registering on MyLCG and before your registration is accepted. 

Question #4: What if I have special housing needs?

If you need to obtain housing earlier than May 4 for special reasons (such as to obtain handicapped-equipped housing) please let your needs be known to the coordinator of the site you will be attending.  You may contact the festival site coordinator to let him know of your special housing needs at any time—you do not need to wait until May 4.  He will evaluate your situation, in consultation with the Festival Office, and give you instructions on how to proceed. 

The USA Site Coordinators are:  Wallace Smith (Branson, MO); Dan Hall (New Braunfels, TX); Glen Gilchrist (Newport, OR); Rodger Bardo (Prescott, AZ); Rod McNair (Sunset Beach, NC); and Sheldon Monson (Wisconsin Dells, WI). The Canadian Site Coordinators are: Frank Best (Lethbridge, AL); Yvon Brochu (Orford, QC); and Michael Elertson (Charlottetown, PEI).  Their contact information is found in the festival brochure and posted on the MyLCG website. You may also ask your Pastor for the coordinator’s contact information. For international coordinators, please contact the Regional Director for that Feast site. 

Question #5: What if I have trouble registering on May 4?

When the computer system does not allow someone to register, the cause is often that our database is not updated with the individual’s current status (Member or Prospective Member).  When you attempt to register on May 4, if the system does not allow you to register, please ask your Pastor to contact festival@lcg.org and confirm that you are a Member (baptized) or a Prospective Member (not baptized, but attending), so we can update the systemPastors, if a member in your congregation cannot register, please contact us so we can update their status in the database if need be.  You may send status updates of brethren to records@lcg.org. 

Question #6: Where can I get additional information about the Feast this year?

This week we mailed to all the brethren in the United States, Canada, and international areas the Feast of Tabernacles 2008 flyer containing more detailed information, primarily about the United States Feast sites (such as the physical addresses of the meeting halls where the Feast will be held).  If you haven’t received your flyer already, you should be receiving it in the next few days. You can also find more information on the MyLCG website, www.cogl.org.  

This week’s international Feast sites featured in The World Ahead are Sierra de la Ventana, Argentina, and Huatusco, Mexico.  

Sierra de la Ventana, Argentina 

The brethren in Argentina invites you to keep the Feast of Tabernacles to the Eternal in Sierra de la Ventana, Argentina, a site surrounded by the Eternal’s creation, clean air, fine wines and dining. The Feast will be held at the Cabañas Silver Golf hotel. This peaceful family resort provides good and friendly customer service. Sierra de la Ventana is a small town of 2,000 inhabitants located on an astounding mountain range within a natural environment and benefits from a temperate climate.  

The cost for accommodations is approximately USD$25 per person, per day, including breakfast, lunch and dinner, towels and housekeeping service (prices can change). You can visit www.hotelsilvergolf.com.ar or www.welcomeargentina.com/sierradelaventana/index_i.html for more information on the hotel and on Sierra de la Ventana. Those interested in attending the Feast of Tabernacles in Argentina should contact Madeleine Lincoln-Strange at mlincoln@lcg.org or at 704-844-1970. This site will offer simultaneous translation into English during services. 

Huatusco, Mexico 

The Mexican brethren invite you to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles in Huatusco, a small town of 41,000 people situated alongside the Sierra Madre Oriental mountain range where the highest mountain in Mexico, Pico de Orizaba, is located. Feast services will be held at the colonial Los Cocuyos Hotel—a beautiful complex surrounded by almost 15 acres of forest. The best feature of this site is the loving fellowship and millennial atmosphere.  

For more information, you can visit the hotel’s website at www.hoteloscocuyos.com. If you would like to attend the Feast of Tabernacles in Mexico, please contact Madeleine Lincoln-Strange at 704-844-1970 or send e-mail to mlincoln@lcg.org. This site will offer simultaneous translation into English during services. 

Human Resources 

Employment Opportunity: Secretary/Administrative Assistant (Repeat Announcement)

The office of Legal Affairs and Risk Management is looking for someone to provide secretarial and administrative support in a very busy administrative office.  Duties include: research; organize, maintain and archive files, working-copy binders, and unique information databases; schedule and/or track events, deadlines and required filings (for multiple organizational units); interface with and assist field personnel; track contractual agreements; request documents and certifications; produce correspondence and otherwise relieve administrator of minor to moderately complex administrative and business detail by performing a variety of tasks.  Ideal candidate is very organized and detail oriented, able to work under pressure with moderate supervision, has good communication skills and is familiar with standard business concepts, practices, and procedures within a particular field, which could include: Business Management, Law, Banking, Insurance, Nonprofit Management, or Contract Administration.  This is a position of trust and has a high level of confidentiality involved.  An ideal applicant has a college degree and/or equivalent work experience (a minimum high school diploma with 2-4 years of administrative experience in a field will be considered).  Experience as an administrative assistant or executive secretary (or similar) would be helpful, but is not required.  A more complete job description is available upon request. Résumés / CVs may be sent to Human Resources via e-mail at humanresources@lcg.org, or by fax to 704-844-1973. 


True Servant Leadership:  In today’s competitive, dog-eat-dog world, the emphasis is often on doing whatever needs to be done to be on top, be in charge, be number one—and, as the old saying goes, “Nice guys finish last!”  Sadly, this status-oriented attitude seeps over into the Church and some become overly focused on gaining or holding onto a position, and they lose sight of the reason that positions exist in the Church. We need to remember that positions in the Church are not about power, status or privileges. Jesus told His disciples that He looks for individuals who are humble, meek, teachable, compassionate, converted and capable (Matthew 5:3-10; see also Exodus 18:21).  Jesus condemned the worldly attitude of seeking a position, worrying about status and exerting authority, and He went on to explain that true Christian leadership involves developing an attitude of unselfish service to others—servant leadership (Matthew 20:25-28).  In the Church or on our jobs, we can face tests and trials when our position or responsibilities change and we sense a loss of position or status.  However, our challenge is to handle these changes as a Christian. The Apostle Paul writes that he learned how to handle blessings and opportunities as well as challenges (Philippians 4:11-12).  Students of leadership have observed that true servant leaders don’t need a position or status to serve.  Their ability to lead and serve stems from their qualities of character: seeing a need and trying to fill it, being caring and concerned for others, being a person of integrity, being humble, being unselfish—the very qualities Jesus mentions in Matthew 5:3-10.  As we approach the Passover, we need to examine ourselves and our attitudes about service.  Are we focused on position, power and prestige, or are we striving to become truly Christian servant leaders? 

Have a profitable Sabbath,

Douglas S. Winnail  

News and Prophecy—April 10, 2008 

The Ambitious French. French President Nicolas Sarkozy has a lot of energy and many ideas, but not all of them are welcomed by Berlin. “The restless Frenchman,” as one German journalist has dubbed him, is poised to assume the European Union presidency in July. Mr. Sarkozy is busy planning for this new six-month post with great ambitions—many of which are not embraced by the rest of Europe. For example, Mr. Sarkozy will push for a “military core,” comprising the six largest European nations: Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Spain. Each nation must lend 10,000 troops and increase national military spending to at least 2% of GDP. This 60,000 strong force will be designed to be the Elite Fighting Force of the EU. France and Britain already meet these criteria, but the four other nations do not and would have to make adjustments. Additionally, France is playing an increasingly visible role in NATO and has its sights on the “supreme commander” position of NATO—traditionally a U.S.-occupied post (Der Spiegel.com, March 3, 2008). As France and Germany vie for the “top dog” position in Europe, and internal European politics highlight the powerful differences between other EU nations, we are reminded of God’s description of the 10 unlikely bedfellows who will eventually compose the Beast of Revelation—“partly of iron, partly of clay” (Daniel 2:33). 

World Economy on Brink of Collapse? “We are obviously watching the dollar very carefully,” Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke recently told the Senate Banking Committee. The rest of the world is watching while the once-mighty American dollar sinks to third-world currency status! Since August 2007, the U.S. government has spent nearly $1 trillion bailing out financial institutions to save the ailing dollar. Meanwhile, the cost of the Iraq war increases. Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz estimates that U.S. war expenses will soon reach $3 trillion (New York Times, March 4, 2008). The Wall Street Journal reported: “It’s time the [presidential] candidates devote less time on the minutiae of configuring the next economic stimulus package or renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement. They should be thinking about how they will confront the imminent global currency crisis” (“It’s the Dollar, Stupid,” March 5, 2008). On April 2, 2008, the chairman of Swiss bank UBS resigned abruptly, as his institution reported a first-quarter loss of $12.1 billion and expects to write-down $19 billion because of the U.S. subprime lending crisis. Deutsche Bank has announced expected first-quarter write-downs of $4 billion, thanks to “significantly more challenging” market conditions triggered by the U.S. subprime collapse. The international banking system is on the edge; it appears that the moneychangers’ tables are being overturned (Matthew 21:12). 

Impact of Silent Famines. With rising global food prices, Thailand’s farmers are sleeping in their rice fields to protect their crops. Many nations are restricting wheat and rice “exports,” in order to feed their own people. For six of the last seven years, world grain consumption has outpaced production. Last year, grain reserves were down to 57 days—from 180 days a decade ago (WorldNetDaily.com, April 1, 2008). Riots over high food prices have destroyed property and even caused deaths in Egypt, Mexico, Pakistan, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Senegal, Mauritania and India (Time, February 27, 2008). Saudi Arabia will start importing wheat, in order to save massive amounts of water that agriculture demands. Egypt is in a similar situation. Both nations are ready to “pay” the high price for wheat, in order to save their dangerously low water supply. The U.S. exports about 40% of total worldwide grain exports—but what will happen when the U.S. “breadbasket” experiences major drought (Money and Markets, April 2, 2008)? Those hit hardest by high food prices are the world’s poor. Now, many millions previously NOT considered at risk for starvation, are being added to the “crisis” list (Time, February 27, 2008). As time, drought, famine, and inflation continue, it becomes increasingly clear how food and water shortages (the “black horse”) could lead to the destruction of an entire fourth of the earth’s population (the “pale horse;” Revelation 6:5-8).—Don Davis, Daniel Bennett & Scott Winnail

COGwriter 2008

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