Letter to the Brethren – November 14, 2011
Dear Brethren, Co-Workers and Friends:
We have just finished observing the Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day, and we will cherish and embrace fond memories, while already anticipating with eagerness next year’s autumn festivals. It is good and right to reflect on the joyful time which we all experienced during the Feast, and so, we are publishing below two reports from our Feast sites in California and North Wales.
Church of the Eternal God Feast Report 2011
According to all reports and comments received, this was indeed the best Feast ever—so far. We observed the Feast at Pismo Beach in a most beautiful facility (at the Hilton Garden Inn) and an outstanding environment. We welcomed attendees from the USA, Germany and Bermuda, and enjoyed inspiring messages focusing on the wonderful future of the Millennium and the Great White Throne Judgment. Some of the topics were “Why Do We Keep the Feast?”, “Before Time Began,” “How It Will Be in the Millennium,” “Create or Destroy,” “Why Is God Calling You Now,” “Eye of a Needle,” “The Strong and Weak,” “The Nations,” “Unity,” “A Plan of Judgment,” “Your Future Life,” and “Life After Death,” among others.
Speakers included ministers Norbert Link, Dave Harris and Eric Rank; deacons Michael Link and Robb Harris; as well as Gilbert DeVaux, Kalon Mitchell, Bob Bourque and Joe Bourque.
Additional spiritual highlights were the ordination of Shelly Bruno as deaconess and the blessing of the little children ceremony.
For relaxation, we enjoyed a spectacular dinner dance, a diverse talent show, a wine tasting tour, and other activities, including a beach party (followed by a bible study) and attending the Farmer’s Market in San Luis Obispo after the first annual Holy Day.
As usual, it was felt that the Feast was far too short, and many commented that they can’t wait for the Feast next year.
Global Church of God Feast Report 2011
The Global Church of God in the UK held the Feast of Tabernacles this year at Deganwy near Llandudno in North Wales. This was the second year that this site has been used after a very successful festival at the same venue last year. Services were again held at the Quay Hotel where it overlooks the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Conwy Castle. The hotel has wonderful views and is located within easy reach of Snowdonia National Park and close to the neighbouring medieval town of Conwy and Victorian Llandudno.
New visitors were warmly welcomed along with many who have become regular attendees. There were attendees from the USA, Canada, Australia as well as from different parts of the UK. During the Feast, Ivan Parker was baptised adding another begotten member to the Family of God. He responded to an advertisement a while ago and has been studying the truth for a few years. He did not have any Church of God background.
As end time prophecy is being fulfilled in many ways as the world seems to lurch from one crisis to another, there was a heightened sense of expectation and looking forward to the soon-coming Kingdom of God. There were outstanding messages from Evangelist Norbert Link whose sermon was a DVD presentation, messages from visiting elder Rene Messier from Canada, pastor Dave Harris (on DVD), as well as Andrew Burns, Douglas Mitchell and Brian Gale, the Festival Elder. There were also two presentations of the “StandingWatch” program in which Norbert Link addresses world news and prophecy.
Messages included such diverse topics as Spiritual Rejuvenation, The Sabbath—A Delight, Endurance, Godly Wealth, The Unprofitable Servant, Truth, Why Are We Here?, Unity, Our Inheritance, The Millennium, Prayer, After Christ’s Return, Relationships, What Will Israel Do in the Millennium?, Home, No One Missed—and others.
Of course, the main reason for attending the Feast is that God has instructed His people to do so, but other activities were organised for all the members. A Church social was arranged and enjoyed by all as well and the Feast dinner held at the Conwy Golf Club which was a great success, as it was last year. An organised coach [bus] tour visited a number of places in the Snowdonia region, including Caernarfon Castle which is a medieval building in Gwynedd, north-west Wales, which was used for the investiture of Prince Charles as the Prince of Wales in 1969. An organised tour was arranged where the guide said that it was not a castle but was in fact a royal palace. The countryside in the area is amongst the most beautiful that can be found in the British Isles.
Even though we were revisiting the area, there are always so many things to see and seemingly too little time to do so! As ever, the Feast was over all too soon and time to return home. Those who attended will not soon forget a Feast with much spiritual teaching and encouragement in an area of beauty, peace and serenity. Comments were made about the best Feast for years and the brotherly love that was so evident. Meeting others of a like mind and with the same goals is always a wonderful experience, and we are all now waiting for the Feast of Tabernacles to become reality when Christ returns to set up the Kingdom of God in what we hope is in the not too distant future!
We don’t know how many Feasts we will be able to observe until Christ returns. We are not setting any dates, but from the parable of the fig tree (Matthew 24:32-35), we know that it cannot be that far off. We see tumultuous events occurring in the Middle East—with the Arab Spring becoming more and more a nightmare of a Cold Winter for Europe and the Western democratic powers. In spite of or because of the temporary financial and economic troubles in Europe, a powerful autocratic United States of Europe is forming on the continent, which will ultimately give rise to a political leader over ten European core nations or groups of nations, who, together with a religious “miracle”-working “prophet,” will deceitfully mesmerize the masses; and we know that when these two personages manifest themselves on the world scene, the Great Tribulation is just around the corner.
At the same time, we see the continuing downfall of the US economy and the US dollar and the lack of successful leadership; and we realize that none of the many promises of presidential candidates will substantially improve the situation, even if those representations were carried out, because the USA has reached the point of no return, as its people are unwilling to obey the true God of the Bible. The same can be said for the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and other English-speaking Commonwealth nations, as we observe the steady and continuing ungodliness and defiance of the Word of God in those countries as well.
Knowing all this, what are we to do about it? Are we to engage in political and/or humanitarian campaigns to try to make this a better world now? Are we to try desperately to convert the world, bringing them to Christ? Are we to walk from door to door to proselytize the masses? Are we to stand in the market places, with signs telling the people to wake up and to repent?
The Church of God has been given the commission from God to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God in all the world as a witness, and then the end of this present evil civilization will come. But we are not doing it in the way as described above. Rather, we proclaim the gospel via our literature and video- and audio messages, which people can receive if they want them, without having to have the feeling that something is going to be forced upon them against their will. And so, the message is going out. It is good news originating from God. We know that God is a Family, presently consisting of the Father and Jesus Christ, the Son, and of all truly converted Christians who are today God’s begotten children, and who will be born into the God Family at the time of Christ’s return.
When we announce the message of God, some (who are being called by God) will heed and repent and become baptized, thereby becoming Spirit-begotten members of the very Family of God, looking forward to the time of their change to immortality, when they too will be fully God, equal to the Father and the Son in nature and substance. Part of the Church’s message today, which it has received from God, is to warn the nations as to what is going to happen to them—with the hope that some will repent and be spared from the terrible times to come.
Our organizations working from the USA, Canada, and the UK are small, and God told us that we will only have a little strength. But He also said that He will open doors for us which no one can shut, even though there will be attempts to do so. Some of these doors are being opened right now, and it requires God’s inspiration and guidance, as well as His strength, to go through them. In response to our activities in German-speaking countries, we are receiving numerous requests for baptism, as well as for counseling, and even for possibilities as to how to keep the Feast with us next year in Wales. Norbert and Johanna Link will be visiting Germany before and during the Passover season to try to meet with as many interested people as possible. We are also noticing an increased interest in our activities in the USA and Canada, as well as in the Philippines, Africa and other parts of the world. This year, small congregations kept the Feast in those areas by using some or all of our video-or audio-recorded messages.
Brethren and friends, we are to think big. We know that after the Great Tribulation has begun, but prior to the Day of the Lord and Christ’s return, thousands upon thousands of people from all nations will turn to God and receive His protection. How will this come about? Surely, the two witnesses, who will begin a mighty Work during the Great Tribulation, will have a tremendous part in this, but God also says that His Church, prior to the Great Tribulation, is to proclaim the gospel, including the prophesied future of entire nations. We read that the modern nations of the houses of Israel and Judah, for example, will have been warned before they will go into captivity, and then they will remember what they had heard and rejected. Other nations will have heard the warning message too, before disaster will strike them.
Do we realize our critical part in this? Do we realize that God will hold us accountable if we neglect to participate in this all-important commission today, while concentrating mainly on fleeting pleasures and activities? It should go without saying that we must be diligent in praying to God and studying the Bible and meditating on what we have read, and also in occasional fasting. But this is not all—by far! How diligent are we in STUDYING all of our literature (including ALL of our booklets, the weekly Updates, and for instance this member letter)? How diligent and attentive are we in watching or listening and concentrating on our video and audio messages (including our sermonettes, sermons and StandingWatch programs), so that we can be taught God’s Word, enabling us to teach others when the opportunity arises?
When we missed a service for whatever legitimate reason (we should never miss a service for an unbiblical reason, of course, as we are commanded to attend Church services in person, as we have opportunity), how diligent are we in listening to the sermon, once it has become available on the Web or CD? Or, if we were distracted by our small children and babies during services, do we make every effort to listen to the sermon again once it has been posted or made available on CD?
How diligent are we in supporting this Work prayerfully and financially with tithes and offerings, looking for opportunities to assist? God is opening doors for us right now, but to go through these doors, we need financial help. God knows this, and we have no doubt whatsoever that God will provide us with what we need to be able to do His Will. If you neglect to help, then someone else will. But this would do you no good at all.
Please, brethren and friends, make sure that you do your part, individually, and also in collaboration with the Work of the Church of God. If God has placed you in His Church, He did so for a reason. The reason is not, to sit back and watch and observe others doing the Work. And the reason is not either, so that YOU can “get” salvation.
We have produced a new booklet, “Paul’s Letter to the Philippians.” This booklet was distributed to all who attended the Feast of Tabernacles with us in California. We are enclosing with this letter a copy of this booklet for those who did not attend the Feast site in California. We hope and trust that you will take to heart what God is telling you through His Word, the Bible; through individual circumstances in your life; and through the teachings of the Body of Christ—His Church; and we pray that you will not take lightly God’s warning and His plan for your glorious future.
With the love of Jesus Christ,