Greetings from Charlotte!

Twenty-five European leaders agreed this week to a new—some say “historic”—pact to attempt to move them closer than ever to real fiscal union. Only time will tell how dramatically the steps we are witnessing now will lead to the rise of a new and powerful leader in Europe. Prophecy marches on!

Back home in Charlotte, it’s been another busy week. Dr. Roderick C. Meredith held an office-wide staff meeting on Thursday, exhorting us to be “good soldiers of Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 2:3) and emphasizing that leaders focus on making a contribution, and take responsibility for results. This week also marked the inauguration of the first issue of the French Tomorrow’s World (Le Monde de Demain) magazine, at the present in an electronic-only version that will be published on www.MondeDemain.org in the coming days. At a special reception at the office, Dr. Meredith and Mr. Mario Hernandez paid tribute to Mr. Dibar Apartian’s five-decades-long toil in the Work of God in French-speaking areas, laying the ground-work for the doors that are opening today.

Please remember Dr. Douglas Winnail’s European travels in your prayers. Rail strikes made several of his trains miss scheduled connections earlier this week, but thankfully did not derail his plans drastically. He’s been conducting business and meeting with brethren in Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, and will hold meetings with our European ministers early next week before returning home.—RMc

Church Administration

Passover 2012 (Repeat Announcement)
Important Notice to All Pastors: This year the Passover Service will be observed on Thursday, April 5. Let us know as soon as possible if any of the congregations you serve will need additional Passover Service supplies (bread trays and/or wine trays or glasses) or a copy of the Passover Servicerecording. To ensure timely delivery and to save on shipping costs, please let us know this information right away, for international congregations, and by March 2, for U.S. congregations.
Additionally, let us know of any scattered members who are unable to keep the Passover with a congregation and who need to receive the Passover Service recording and letter instructions to observe it at home. Please direct your requests to Dorothy McNair at the Church Administration Department by e-mail at dmcnair@lcg.org or by phone at 704-844-1960, ext. 2248, as soon as possible.
I would like to report about an outstanding intervention by God to heal the husband of one of our members in the Cape Town, South Africa, congregation. Last Wednesday evening, January 25, Mrs. Bettie Feyt called to ask for prayer for her husband, Lourens, who had been admitted to a hospital with a severely bleeding ulcer and kidney failure. He had coughed up two liters of blood, and was in a very weakened state. I anointed a cloth and asked the office to send out SMS messages to the members to pray for him. I called Mrs. Feyt on Thursday morning, and she said that her husband was in the hospital being examined, but she had no further news about him at that stage. I called her on Friday morning again, and found her absolutely elated, as she explained that a miracle had occurred. On examining her husband’s stomach with a camera scope, the doctors had found no trace whatsoever of any ulcer, or bleeding, or internal damage of any k ind! His stomach was perfectly normal. His kidneys were improving, and his blood count was returning to normal. He had been completely healed to the amazement of the doctors and the hospital staff! Needless to say, he was allowed to return home again on Friday, where he is now regaining his strength. Both Bettie and Lourens are in their mid-seventies, and are truly grateful, as we all are, for God’s loving intervention.—Pieter van der Byl
Church Survey
This week, all pastors were sent a Church Survey packet. This is a survey conducted from time to time by our Record Information Services Department, in conjunction with the Church Administration Department, to ensure that our membership records are accurate. We are asking our pastors to verify and confirm addresses, phone numbers, baptism dates (if applicable), birthdates and other contact information of all Living Church of God members and attendees. An up-to-date database is vital for many different purposes, such as timely mailings, festival registration, donation receipts, and for accurate demographic information used in planning. Please assist your pastor (or those he delegates this assignment to) by providing your accurate information so we can keep our Master File database up-to-date.

Living Youth Programs

The Living Youth Camp Office is happy to announce that registration for our youth camps this summer is underway (or just about to begin)!:
The Teen Camp, for campers aged 13-17 will be held at Camp Lazarus in Delaware, Ohio, from August 7 through August 19. The cost is $250 for the first camper in each family, $200 for the second, and $150 for any additional children. If you would like to serve at the youth camp, we need young people aged 17-20 to serve on our staff ($100), and also need Adult Staff members 21 or older (there is no tuition fee for adult staff).
The 2012 Adventure Camp will take place this year in beautiful Glacier Park, Montana, from the 11 of July through the 19. Campers can be aged 13 through 20, and the tuition fee is $375. We have room for a very limited number of staff positions for those ages 21 or above. Their tuition costs will be $275.
Registration for these two camps is already underway! If you wish to apply, or need more information, head to the official LYC site at https://lyc.lcg.org.
Our Missouri Pre-Teen Camp will be at Cuivre River State Park again this year from Sunday, June 10 to Friday, June 15—a little shorter than it has been in years past. Registration will begin online this Sunday, February 5. Tuition cost per camper is $110, with lowered costs of $100 and $95 for the second and third campers coming from the same family, plus a $5 registration processing fee. Campers must be 8 to 12 years old as of the start date of camp, June 10. For those who would like to volunteer as staff, the only cost is a $20 application fee to cover the cost of the required background check.

More information and online applications for the Pre-Teen Camp will be available on the Living Youth registration website at https://lyc.lcg.org starting this Sunday, February 5. Sign up early and help us make this the best Missouri Pre-Teen Camp we have ever had!—LYC Office and Wallace Smith

Feast of Tabernacles 2012
Festival Registration—Sunday, February 19
We are pleased to announce that 2012 Festival Registration will begin on Sunday, February 19, at 12:00 noon (Eastern Standard Time). All brethren are invited to register for their preferred Feast site at that time. You will find information on each of the Feast sites on the new Feast of Tabernacles website to be launched soon (see next announcement). If you are registering for a site which you are not assigned to, please do not make housing reservations until your transfer request has been approved. Transfer approvals will be sent via e-mail. If you do not have Internet access or need help registering, please see your local congregation’s Festival Advisor! Festival Advisors will have site information and registration forms to hand out and collect over the Sabbaths of February 4, 11 and 18, in anticipation of registration on February 19.—Festival Office
New Feast of Tabernacles Website!
As excitement grows about the Feast of Tabernacles 2012, we are very pleased to announce a new Feast of Tabernacles website! This new Feast of Tabernacles web interface is intended to be very robust and information-rich and will offer detailed descriptions, welcome videos, accommodations, activities and schedule information, and much more. Our intent is to provide the membership with an inspirational, user-friendly, and very helpful website where you can conveniently explore information about the many Living Church of God Feast sites, and where you and your family can make all of your Feast of Tabernacles arrangements.
Please note that on Thursday, February 9, we plan to make available a “limited functionality” version of this new website that will allow you to view welcome videos, read Feast site descriptions, and see a comprehensive list of all of our planned Feast sites. We think that everyone will be very pleased with the new website. And, God-willing, we will be able to deliver its fully operational version a couple months thereafter. You will be able to access this new website by clicking on the “Feast of Tabernacles” link at www.lcg.org.—Wyatt Ciesielka

Antigua, Guatemala: Mr. Sergio Roca, Guatemala Feast Site Coordinator, is in need of an experienced Spanish-English volunteer interpreter to provide simultaneous interpretation during services at this year’s Feast. If you would like to attend the Feast in Guatemala this year and would also like to serve in this capacity, please contact Madeleine Lincoln-Strange at mlincoln@lcg.org or call 704-844-1970.

Face-to-Face Time: Researchers studying digital media use among pre-teen girls have found that girls lacking in face-to-face contact with others reported a downturn in overall health. Negative effects included lowered social confidence, disrupted sleep patterns, and having more friends whom their parents perceived as a poor influence (Wall Street Journal, January 31, 2012). On the contrary, “girls reporting high levels of face-to-face communication reported strong social and emotional health even if they were heavy media users.” According to Dr. Clifford Naas, co-author of the study, “The most important message is that face-to-face communication is just enormously important and there has been a dramatic decline in that, among kids and among families.”
Experts are saying what the Bible has taught for centuries: real human interaction among families and among spiritual brethren—not just preteen girls—is crucial! Why is it so important that we attend Sabbath services each week? Yes, to worship God and be obedient to His command to assemble (Hebrews 10:25). Yes, to learn spiritual knowledge (Romans 10:17). But just as important is to bond together as a family with one another and with God (1 John 1:3). The prophet Malachi exhorts us in Malachi 3:16, “Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord listened and heard them; so a book of remembrance was written before Him… ‘They shall be mine,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘On the day that I make them My jewels. And I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.’” Real fellowship is vital!

Let’s get the most out of every Sabbath—including uplifting, bonding, and inspiring fellowship!

Have a wonderful Sabbath,

Rod McNair

News and Prophecy—February 2, 2012
Ethnic Violence on the Rise in Europe. “The net result of human rights developments in Europe causes great concern… Without concerted government action, the next generation of Europeans may see human rights as an optional extra rather than a core value,” wrote a reporter for the EU Observer. A recent study by Human Rights Watch pins the blame for a recent wave of extreme human rights violations throughout Europe, on “bad leadership by EU governments.” “The report named and shamed nine EU member states—France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and the UK—as displaying a swing toward right-wing politics… It accused the EU institutions of not doing enough to stop the trend.” Human rights violations have also occurred in recent months against Muslims and Roma/gypsies (EU Observer, January 23, 2012). Christ warned that at the end of the age, ethnic group would rise against ethnic group—“nation will rise against nation” (Matthew 24:6-7). He also predicted through Paul that “perilous times will come” when people will be: “unloving… without self-control, brutal… lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:1-4). Very few realize that all of mankind is made in God’s image (Genesis 1:26), with the potential to become members of the family of God one day (John 3:16; 2 Peter 3:9; 1 John 3:2). Until Christ returns and all minds are opened to understand this fact, ethnic violence will sadly remain—it is the way of Satan’s world! For more information on the motivation behind today’s society, read our booklet Who or What Is The Antichrist?
The UK’s Integrity Crisis. “The portrait of a nation increasingly relaxed about ‘low-level dishonesty’ emerges in a major study” conducted by the University of Essex. The report “suggests that the ‘integrity problem’ is likely to get worse because young people are more tolerant of dishonest behaviour than the older generation.” According to the study, “… in 2000, 70 per cent of people believed an extramarital affair could never be justified; today, the proportion is about 50 per cent. The proportion of people who say picking up money found in the street is never justified fell from 40 per cent to 20 per cent. Lying and breaking the speed limit have also become an accepted part of life.” The report highlights the generation gap’s effect on integrity, “... younger people are far more likely to tolerate dishonesty. Only 33 per cent of under-25s think lying on a job application is never justified, compared with 41 per cent of middle-aged people and 55 per cent of those over 65” (The Independent, January 25, 2012). The Bible prophesies of an integrity crisis at the end of the age, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness… and take away justice from the righteous man!” (Isaiah 5:20-23). It is God’s Ten Commandments that provide the moral foundation upon which society must base its values. As that code is buried deeper in the pages of history and replaced by the “situation ethics” of a post-modern era (Judges 17:6), we should expect, and not be surprised by, an unethical pandemic!
Too Many Hungry Pythons. Burmese pythons were introduced into the Florida Everglades in the 1980s. They escaped from captivity and pet owners also dump them when they become too large to keep. The pythons are prolific and can grow to more than 15 feet long (5 meters) and weigh 150 pounds (75 kg). A new Davidson College study reveals rapidly declining populations of indigenous Everglade mammals (e.g., raccoons, deer, opossum, and others), by more than 90% since the late 1990s. Researchers believe the skyrocketing python population is to blame. New research demonstrates that salt water, once thought to be a barrier that confines snakes to the swamp, is really no barrier. Some experts believe the pythons could expand their habitat throughout much of the Southeastern U.S. (FloridaToday.com, January 31, 2012). The Everglades directly border Miami resident ial neighborhoods. What could happen when pythons run out of native species to eat? The Bible identifies some sobering events that will occur at the end of the age. The Apostle John wrote of the fourth seal, the “pale horse,” that will result in the death of one quarter of the earth’s population, by the sword (war), hunger, and the beasts of the earth (Revelation 6:7-8). Jeremiah’s prophecy adds more detail, highlighting how birds and beasts of the earth will “devour and destroy” (Jeremiah 15:2-4). Florida’s pythons could be one tool that God eventually uses to bring these prophecies to pass. For more information, review our booklet: Revelation: The Mystery Unveiled!—Scott Winnail and Daniel Bennett

COGwriter 2012

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