Dear Brethren and co-workers in Christ:
It was another full and productive week for the Continuing Church of God (CCOG).
On administrative matters, the State of California finally approved the corporation sole paperwork for the CCOG, so that is one matter which was finally resolved (this took four months). This approval also required more paperwork and actions which we did. Additionally, we now will need to file at least one other (lengthy) document with the State, which I hope to do either in June or July 2013.
In terms of proclamation, I did another radio interview over a network of 60 or so radio stations to get the Christian message out. In addition to speaking about Bible prophecy and Syria, I was able to speak out against abortion, pornography & homosexuality, and also explained that the solution was the Kingdom of God.
Speaking of proclamation, shortly after discussing the work of one of our translating volunteers, I read the following passage as part of my regular (non topic specific) Bible study:
3 Your people shall be volunteers in the day of Your power; (Psalm 110:3, NKJV)
Could this be for the time from now and the fulfillment of Daniel 11:32-33?
In the Continuing Church of God (CCOG), we have volunteer translators, editors, web consultants, and others (I, for example, still do not draw a salary; and there is no CCOG payroll at this time), so Psalm 110:3 was interesting to me.
I also checked the Hebrew and a few other translations of Psalm 110:3 and found that many of them were in agreement with the NKJV. It makes me wonder if in Psalm 110:3 that God may be telling us that those who freely volunteered to support His work are part of the group that will lead the final phase of the work.
If so, it gives additional meaning to the following scriptures:
6 This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel:
‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’
Says the Lord of hosts. (Zechariah 4:6)
7 For we walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)
5 Look among the nations and watch —
Be utterly astounded!
For I will work a work in your days
Which you would not believe, though it were told you. (Habakkuk 1:5)
The work is proceeding. How much are you willing to support it?
Reaching the Non-English Speaking World
Doing the work around the world involves different approaches in different areas. This is something that the Apostle Paul realized and took steps to change his approach based upon the culture/audience that he was trying to reach (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:19-23).
In Africa, personal contact is probably the biggest way we are reaching people. Secondarily, the sending of certain physical books and literature has also shown to sometimes be effective. And of course, the internet reaches Africa and it was from the internet that various leaders in Africa first learned about the Continuing Church of God.
Deacon George Otieno is regularly reporting that more in Kenya, and sometimes other nearby countries, are deciding to support the Continuing Church of God. And he reported more again this week.
In other parts of the world, one person responded and volunteered to do article translations last week. He is now in the process of translating some of our materials into Tagalog, the primary language of the Philippines. We hope to be making this information available soon. We hope to develop a separate website for the Tagalog language and we purchased a URL for it this week.
Another has said that he will translate some of our materials into Mandarin Chinese, and presuming this happens, we hope to get a separate website for that.
More articles were added to: la página en español de Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. That is the Spanish language page of the Continuing Church of God.
Items added in the Spanish language this week include:
- The article Apostolic Succession: Did It Happen in Rome, Alexandria, Constantinople, Antioch, Jerusalem or Asia Minor? has been translated into the Spanish language: La sucesión apostólica. ¿Ocurrió en Roma, Alejandría, Constantinopla, Antioquía, Jerusalén o Asia Menor?.
- The article The Bible, Peter, Paul, John, Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, and Roderick C. Meredith on Church Government was translated into the Spanish language: La Biblia, Policarpo, Herbert W. Armstrong, y Roderick C. Meredith sobre el gobierno de la Iglesia.
- The article Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse was translated into the Spanish language: El cuarto jinete de Apocalipsis, el caballo pálido de muerte y pestilencia.
- The article The Final Phase of the Work was translated into the Spanish language: La Fase Final de la Obra.
We also added some Spanish news to the GCG News page at COGwriter.com.
We expect to have a separate Spanish language website up in the near future. This week we actually bought a URL for the Spanish language and plan to announce more details soon.
We also hope to be able to add some old WCG literature in languages other than English to one or more other foreign language websites. I made some inquiries related to that this week and had some success. We currently have some of Herbert Armstrong booklets in English at the www.cogwriter.com website and have been adding related materials there regularly and hope to add some in other languages.
We are also in the process of attempting to develop a somewhat comprehensive internet plan that may allow us to reach out with materials that the majority of people in the world will be able to understand. At this instant, if my (and others) schedule allows it–presuming this is a door that God is opening up to us–it appears possible despite our very small size.
Brethren please, “pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Luke 10:2).
World News Trends
More states in the USA and more nations around the world are passing and/or implementing provisions for homosexual marriage and at this stage the trend is clear. Yet the Bible clearly warns of the wrath of God against that behavior as well as those who approve it and other forms of immorality:
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man — and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.
24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them. (Romans 1:18-32)
Destruction is coming and the Kingdom of God is needed (Revelation 22:18-20). We are to pray for others (cf. Matthew 6:44), not approve actions that God disapproves.
In other trends, the new Pope Francis keeps making references to Mary and taking steps related to Marian apparitions. That is why the suggested sermonette this week has to do with Marian apparitions. Presuming certain events happen next week, I also expect to comment about that in the next Letter to the Brethren. The influence of “the virgin, the Lady” (Isaiah 47) in the end times is prophesied and may well tie in with some of the increasing Marian influence under the new Pope Francis.
Suggested Sabbath Service for May 11, 2013
Here is my suggested format for Sabbath services for May 11, 2013:
- 2-3 hymns (we are using the 1974 Bible Hymnal from the old WCG, and in most areas, the Choral Accompaniment).
- Opening prayer.
- Sermonette. Here is a link to one: Marian Apparitions May Fulfill Prophecy. There is also some information related to this in the articles titled Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Apparitions.
- Announcements (if any; though for many it will be this letter) and one hymn.
- Sermon which for most will be a recorded one titled What is Your Destiny? (there is a related article you can read titled What is Your Destiny? Deification? Did the Early Church Teach That Christians Would Become God? for those who prefer the written word over the video or who may wish to refer back to this source as the sermon is based on this article).
- Final hymn.
- Closing prayer.
Next week, I plan to send out another letter, and it is expected to also include information about the upcoming Pentecost Holy Day (May 19, 2013).
“Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified (2 Thessalonians 3:1) and “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all” (Revelation 22:21).
Bob Thiel, Pastor and Overseer
Continuing Church of God