Newsletter 60, April, 2001
Larry Elder: Call for Black Responsibility | Wool is a Blessing From God | Seed Savers | The Holy Land Experience | Herbert Armstrong Continues to Make News | Martin Luther King: the Man Behind The Myth | Tooth & Gum Paste | Satan’s Successes | Is Homosexuality Genetic? | Who Cares? | Meaning of Psalm 23 | Edmund Burke Quotes | Success or Failure? | Job Versus Ministry | Review: Do All Races Share in Salvation? | Review: In the Image of God | Alpha and Omega | Parable of the Fishless Fisherman | Aid to El Salvador | The Middle of the Bible
I’ve never listened to his popular radio talk show from Station KABC Los Angeles, but his syndicated column is in our local newspaper. He is a black libertarian with strong views, some of them right on the money. Larry Elder calls illegitimacy America’s number one problem, and places much of the blame on the black male for shirking his responsibility to support the children he sires. Elder is author of the book, The Ten Things You Can’t Say In America, which includes these politically incorrect maxims: “Blacks are More Racist than Whites,” “White Condescension is as Real as Black Racism,” and “The Media Bias: It’s Real, It’s Widespread, It’s Destructive.”
Larry Elder aims to change the way blacks think, demanding that they take responsibility for their lives, stop blaming all their problems on racism, and pay attention to the progress they’ve made.
In a recent syndicated article, Elder lambasted black leader Jesse Jackson, who recently admitted he fathered a child out of wedlock. NAACP President Kweisi Mfume has fathered five children out of wedlock. This pathetic example, Elder says, shows why black leaders do not confront the #1 problem in the black community: children having children. Elder writes, “Since Lyndon Johnson’s so-called War on Poverty, government taxpayers ‘invested’ trillions of dollars, much of it designed to ‘alleviate poverty.’ The result? In the last 30 years, the black poverty rate stagnated, while the percentage of black children born outside of wedlock exploded from 25 percent to nearly 70 percent. . . .The absence of a father in the home increases the odds of a child going on welfare, dropping out of school, getting involved in crime, or becoming a teen parent.”
In 1911, Booker T. Washington said, “There is [a] class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs — partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs. . . . [And] there is a certain class of race problem-solvers who don’t want the patient to get well, because as long as the disease holds out they have not only an easy means of making a living, but also an easy medium through which to make themselves prominent before the public.”
Larry Elder faults Jackson, Mfume, and other black leaders for not leading a movement for black male parental responsibility. I pray that blacks may learn and heed Larry Elder’s poignant message of morality and responsibility.
Although Elder’s views on race problems are on target, he is off base when he calls for legalization of drugs. This would increase the supply, and decrease the cost, of drugs such as cocaine, ecstasy, heroin, speed, etc.
Red, yellow, black, or white, the problem with all races of people is that they are prone to sin. Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost is a call for us to take responsibility for our actions: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit,” Acts 2:38.
Our Bible Study No. 153, “The Blessing of Wool,” describes the Biblical perspective of this wonderful creation of God. In hospitals and nursing homes, bedridden patients benefit from wool fleece mattress covers. This prevents bedsores and aides healthful sleep. Everyone can benefit from sleeping on wool. For many years, we have used a wool fleece mattress pad, with a normal sheet on top of it. Wool keeps us warm in the winter and cool in the summer. You sleep better on wool because the spongy fleece conforms to your body without forming pressure points. Doctors recommend sleeping on a wool fleece for people with arthritis, back, or circulation problems. It wicks away moisture so you never feel clammy at night. Wool is easy-care and machine washable.
To order a twin, full, queen, or king-sized wool fleece mattress pad, contact: The Vermont Country Store, PO Box 3000, Manchester, VT 05255-3000, phone: 802-362-8440. Enjoy the blessing of wool.
Seed Savers Exchange (SSE) is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization, founded in 1975, dedicated to saving handed-down garden seeds from extinction. SSE’s 8,000 members grow and distribute varieties of vegetables, fruits, grains, that gardeners and farmers brought to North America when their families immigrated, and traditional varieties grown by Native Americans, Mennonites, and Amish.
For a free catalog, contact: Seed Savers Exchange, 3076 North Winn Road, Decorah, IA 52101, phone: 319-382-5990, www.seedsavers.org.
What believer would not enjoy a trip to the Holy Land? However, for most of us, the expense and danger are too much. Now there is an alternative! You can enjoy the “Holy Land Experience” theme park at Orlando, Florida. This attraction is billed as an educational theme park. What was the Holy Land like in Bible times? Explore the Wilderness Tabernacle, Herod’s Temple, Calvary’s Garden Tomb (the traditional site of Christ’s resurrection), the Qumran Dead Sea Caves, and more. See a model of Jerusalem in 66 A.D. Study a display of exquisitely rare and priceless Bibles and related ancient manuscripts, some of them dating back more than a thousand years in the Scriptorium Center for Biblical Antiquities. Walk through an authentic-looking Jerusalem streetscape and marketplace. In the courtyard of the wilderness Tabernacle, guests witness an ancient and moving ceremony centered on the sacred Ark of the Covenant. Familiar Biblical figures will relate their stories inside a Bedouin tent while, nearby, key moments from the Old and New Testaments will come alive in a sweeping motion picture presentation accented by dramatic in-theater special effects.
There are many detractors of this twenty-year-old dream of Marvin Rosenthal, executive director of Zion’s Hope (non-profit organization that sponsors the park), and an independent Baptist minister. Some fear the park could trivialize Christianity and become just another crude, commercialization of religion. Some Jews are indignant that a Christian theme park has appropriated “their” history.
But let’s allow the people to decide. Giving & Sharing will reimburse the ticket expense ($17) of the first Sabbatarian to visit The Holy Land Experience, who will write a review of each the major exhibits and give his or her overall rating of the park (scale of one to ten, 1 = bad, 10 = excellent). I like the fact the Rosenthal doesn’t want to make a profit, and receives only $40,000 a year to run the $16 million operation. He says, “This [park] is not only for Christians, but for people from all walks of life. When people come here, we hope the Bible will come alive for them and, I pray, change their lives.” His goal is to create “a wholesome, family-oriented, educational, and entertainment facility where people can come to be encouraged, instructed, and reinforced in their faith.” In this vile world where the Disney Company promotes homosexuality, your family deserves better quality education and entertainment.
Contact: The Holy Land Experience, Box 690909, Orlando, FL 32869, toll-free 866-872-4659, www.zionshope.org. The park is located on Interstate 4, Exit 31A. Adults $17, children $10 (group rates and meal plan available).
On February 21, 2001, Herbert W. Armstrong’s picture was featured in the main story of the front page of The Wall Street Journal. I consider “the rag” as we call it, to be the world’s best newspaper, and I read it constantly. The subject of the story was the copyright infringement case surrounding Gerald Flurry’s unauthorized printing of Armstrong’s final book, Mystery of the Ages. I was not interested in the details of the court case, which I had heard before. What piqued my curiosity was how secular writers portray Church of God teachings and practice.
The article, entitled, “Sect Disavows Tenets, and Woe to Him Who Printeth Them Anyway,” was written by WSJ Staff Reporter Jess Bravin. The first paragraph is fascinating. The reporter summarizes his view of Church of God teaching: “On Jan. 7, 1934, the Radio Church of God took to the air with the remarkable teachings of its founder, a former advertising man named Herbert W. Armstrong. Among them: that the British and their colonists in America had descended from the Lost Tribes of Israel, that God was not a Trinity but a family (Father and Son, but no Holy Ghost) and that the apocalypse would begin in 1936 (later postponed to 1943, then 1972, then indefinitely).”
Obviously drawing from extensive research files, Mr. Bravin summarizes Church of God teachings to three points: Anglo-Israelism, anti-Trinitarianism, and prophetic datesetting. Then, he adds that Armstrong taught that the Bible is a “coded message not allowed to be revealed and decoded until this time.” Bravin notes, “Members contributed 30% of their income. . . . [the Church] strove to link current events to prophecies of a coming ‘Tribulation’.” Later in the article, Bravin labels Anglo-Israelism “an obscure theory.” Armstrong, he says, “endorsed Old Testament laws such as avoiding pork and keeping the Saturday Sabbath, but not Christian holidays such as Easter. He prohibited makeup and interracial marriage, and discouraged birthday celebrations.”
How do I feel about my beliefs being summarized in this manner? Not very good. The first thing I want others to know about my religious beliefs are that I believe in God, the Messiah, and the Bible, not the fact that I believe the Anglo-Saxon-Celtic peoples are part of the “Lost” 10 Tribes of Israel. The latter is not an “obscure theory,” but has a great deal of historical evidence. Much of the proof for my belief in the identity of modern Israel is found in history, not the Bible. It is not a doctrine for which I would die.
Did I ever believe in date setting by the Church? No. Shirley and I were married on January 23, 1972, the very month the Church was supposed to flee to Petra. Church date setting did occur; it was wrong. I do not want to be painted with the false prophecy brush, because I did not believe in such erroneous date setting.
One of Armstrong’s constant teachings was that he restored the true gospel, which supposedly had not been preached to the world for 1900 years until he began his ministry. I never believed this. My study of Sabbatarian Church history refutes such a bold claim. Yes, Armstrong put many doctrinal truths together that had been dormant, or weak, for a long time. God told Daniel, “Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end,” Daniel 12:9. Verse 4 prophesies, “O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” Did Herbert W. Armstrong and the Radio (later Worldwide) Church of God have a part in unsealing the book (Bible) in the time of the end? I believe so. But, there should have been more humility. Instead, Armstrong, Bravin quotes, called himself “Christ’s chosen Apostle.” His whole lifestyle was a stark contrast to that of the humble Saviour of Mankind.
The statement that we believe “God is not a Trinity but a family (Father and Son, but no Holy Ghost)” is inaccurate. The Church of God does believe in the Holy Spirit (Ghost). God IS the Holy Spirit. The Trinitarian heresy is so prevalent that most people cannot comprehend our teaching on the Family of God.
The statement, “Members contributed 30% of their income [to the Church]” is misleading. Only 10%, the first tithe, went to preaching of the Gospel by the Church. The second tithe was kept by the members to pay for expenses in observing the Holy Days. And, the third tithe went to aid the poor and needy in the Church. Yes, there was financial mismanagement, from the top down. Many members’ use of Second (Festival) Tithe was (and is) likewise worldly and materialistic. Third Tithe was sometimes stolen for purposes other than aiding the needy (I saw proof of this with my own eyes). Here is the rub. One can teach the Truth, as the Church of God did concerning the Three Tithes. But, living the Truth is not so easy. The Church miserably failed to live up to God’s Truth regarding tithes. The WSJ leader headline for the article was “Bad Tithings.” That accurately describes Church practice.
The Wall Street Journal article portrays some of our distinctive beliefs “as avoiding pork and keeping the Saturday Sabbath, but not Christian holidays such as Easter.” According to their view, we are crackpot Anglo-Israelites who just happen to follow “Old Testament (ugh!)” laws, such as the Sabbath and abstaining from unclean meats. Have we failed to set the proper example? Does the Church of God set a wonderful example in ALL the laws of health such that our good health is a model for the world to follow? You know the answer. Has our Sabbath-keeping inspired others to join us because the way we worship God and study His Word on the Sabbath is filled with joy? If we did live the right way, then the FIRST thing others would say about us is that we are healthy, happy people, filled with joy and zest for living, striving to follow Christ in all things. Instead, the FIRST thing others say about us is that we believe in an “obscure theory” of Anglo-Israelism. This tells more about us than we may realize.
Finally, we are labeled according to Armstrong’s prohibition of makeup [which was changed and flip-flopped several times] and interracial marriage, and that he discouraged birthday celebrations. The WSJ’s Bravin colors us “weird.”
Gerald Flurry appears to be continuing some of the most unsavory actions of Herbert W. Armstrong. Flurry’s arrogance in terming himself the end time Elisha, and his prophetic date setting, are not acts of humility. He battles personal weaknesses in his own life (as we all do), yet nevertheless claims his group is the only True Church. Our flaws should make us humble. Sadly, the history of the Church of God is a continual line of sorry examples among the leading ministers. Again, the WSJ article is an airing of dirty linen, and we have lots of it. No wonder others minimize and distort our core ideals, and exaggerate our peripheral beliefs.
Where does this leave us? Between Daniel 12:4, “knowledge shall be increased,” and Daniel 12:9, “the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end,” is verse 7. Here we find that after three-and-one-half prophetic times, “he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.” Who is the “he”? It could be God Himself. Regardless, the power of God’s people is scattered. We have caused a lot of this scattering ourselves. Independent splits are leading the charge to throw away the baby with the bathwater. They are doing on the outside, what Joseph Tkach, Jr., did on the inside.
The Church into which I was baptized is very different from the one portrayed by The Wall Street Journal. Nevertheless, the article provides sobering food for thought. Our worst detractors are our weak and corrupt Church leaders. With the Almighty’s help, we can still be wise, and understand, Daniel 12:10. We can, we must, “turn many to righteousness” by proclaiming, and living, God’s Truth in this degenerate age. If we do, we “shall shine as the brightness of the firmament . . . as the stars for ever and ever,” Daniel 12:3.
On the Court House Building in downtown Portland, Oregon, is a quotation from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, Letter from Birmingham Jail, written April 16, 1963, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Many of the famous civil rights leader’s statements are immortal. “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character,” from March on Washington Speech, August 28, 1963. We can certainly say a hearty “Amen!” to these inspiring words!
In 1983, Congress decreed that a National Holiday be established in honor of the late civil rights leader. Nationwide, hundreds of cities have renamed streets, parks, schools, convention centers, and freeways in honor of King. Hundreds more plan to do so. In death, Martin Luther King is much more popular than when he was alive!
Any criticism of King and his legacy is roundly condemned as being racist, bigoted, and narrow-minded, if not altogether Neanderthal. However, like any human being, Martin Luther King, Jr., must be judged by the content of his character, rather than the color of his skin. Black, white, purple, or polka dot, it is character that matters.
What type of individual was the late Martin Luther King? Was he a saint, or a man of questionable character? Was he dedicated to improving the lot of black people, or was he marching to the beat of a different drum? What motivated him? What was his educational background? Who was behind him? Who financed him?
What was King’s personal philosophy? Was his personal life exemplary, befitting a preacher of the gospel? Or did King have what J. Edgar Hoover described as “the morals of a tom cat”? Why were so many of King’s top associates Communist party members? Why did King preach a Marxist/Leninist “social gospel” of salvation by works and political manipulation?
Des Griffin’s book, Martin Luther King: The Man Behind The Myth, documents details about King’s life and death, as well as his protégé, Jesse Jackson. Ask for order code E-124, $7.00, from: Emissary Publications, 9205 SE Clackamas Road, Box 1776, Clackamas, OR 97015, telephone: (503) 824-2050. Additional information, pro and con, can be found on the Internet. A pro site is www.stanford.edu/group/King/, and a con site is www.martinlutherking.org.
You probably do not care to know what goes into body care products that you normally use such as soaps, shampoos, and toothpaste. Many of these products do not list their ingredients anyway. The powerful chemicals contained in these items may, or may not, be detrimental to your health.
If you are below thirty years of age, perhaps you think that exercise and diet are the only major factors that will keep you in good health and potentially add years to your life. Diet and exercise are important for folks of any age, but you may have overlooked the health of your gums and teeth. Your mouth is a key battlefield in the struggle to maintain good health and lengthen your physical life. Fight to keep your teeth! Your gums are the foundation of your teeth.
I have been using Tooth & GumTM Paste, made by the Dental Herb CompanyTM (DHC), and it has improved the health of my gums. All of the ingredients are natural, such as echinacea, green tea, essential oils of lavender and peppermint, etc. DHC also makes an antiseptic Tooth & GumTM Tonic that is a very effective herbal mouthwash. I obtained these products from my local dentist, or you may contact Dental Herb Company, Northampton, MA 01060.
Life is good physically in many ways, but Satan has had a round of victories. Although his successes will be short-lived, it is sad he has done so much damage in so short a time. The Netherlands just legalized homosexual “marriages.” An independent Church of God in Arlington, Texas, ordained a woman pastor (preaching elder). The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved usage of RU486, the abortion pill. In August, 2000, the State of California passed a bill that makes it mandatory for California teachers to teach and promote homosexuality in public schools. This law will mandate that California schools teach the appreciation of homosexuality, bisexuality, and even trans-gender, cross-dressing, etc. This will go in California textbooks and classroom curriculum. Students and teachers of deep religious conviction who are opposed to the homosexual lifestyle could be considered guilty of promoting hate in the classroom if they merely express their objection to the lifestyle. The fall season of TV shows in the US are more aggressively pro-homosexual than ever before. Where will it end?
I just remarked to my wife Shirley, “Can you imagine what it will be like in 5-10 more years?” As older Church of God ministers retire from the scene, the younger ones may push a more liberal agenda. It is just a matter of time before larger groups have both homosexual and female pastors.
God’s Church is in danger of total capitulation to Satan’s agenda of destroying the family. I will, God giving me the strength, resist and fight this trend with everything I have. Satan is angry with the remnant of God’s people. It is total war (see Revelation 12). I pray that you will stand firm and hold fast to God’s Truth in these trying times.
“I was born that way, what is your excuse?” is a common flippant response to criticism of any kind. Many homosexuals claim that they were born homosexual; therefore, homosexuality cannot be a sin because they did not choose to be “gay.” Authentic research, however, indicates otherwise. Many studies demonstrate a sadly disproportionate extent of sexual abuse in the childhoods of homosexual men, along with a sense of inadequacy with same-sex peers, with resulting disturbance in gender identity. This leads some experts to conclude that one’s social environment plays a much more important role in the development of a same-sex inclination than heredity.
The National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), is a nonprofit, educational organization dedicated to the research, therapy, and prevention of homosexuality. NARTH, founded in 1992, is composed of psychiatrists, psychoanalytically informed psychologists, certified social workers, and other behavioral scientists, as well as laymen in fields such as law, religion, and education. Their website, www.narth.com, provides much information on homosexuality. Here is a summary:
NARTH believes heterosexuality is normal, and that homosexuals have the right to change their sexual orientation to normality.
Today, children from kindergarten through college are being taught that homosexuality is a normal, healthy lifestyle option with no disadvantages other than society’s disapproval. Sexually confused teenagers are encouraged to investigate homosexual relationships when they are too young to make critical lifestyle decisions. If they seek counseling, they are told that change from homosexuality is impossible. Gender-disturbed children are no longer helped to become more comfortable with their own biological sex, or with the same-sex peers they have been avoiding. Instead, counselors tell their parents, “Your child is fine — the problem is with society.”
NARTH aims to dispel this misinformation. Particularly, to clarify that homosexuality is not “inborn,” and that gays are not “a people,” in the same sense that an ethnic group is “a people” — but instead, they are (like everyone else) simply individuals who exhibit particular patterns of feelings and behavior.
When gay advocates reframed the public debate as a discussion about “who one is” rather than “what one does,” they successfully intimidated dissenters by casting them as personally bigoted and hateful. As a result, most people who defend the reality of male-female design have been embarrassed into public silence.
NARTH’s website dispels three myths about homosexuality:
Myth #1: Homosexuality is normal and biologically determined. The truth is that there is no scientific research indicating a biological or genetic cause for homosexuality. Biological factors may play a role in the predisposition to homosexuality. However, this is true of many other psychological conditions (like alcoholism).
Myth #2: Homosexuals cannot change, and if they try, they will suffer great emotional distress and become suicidal. Therefore, treatment to change homosexuality must be stopped. The truth is that psychotherapists around the world who treat homosexuals report that significant numbers of their clients have experienced substantial healing. Change has come through psychological therapy, spirituality, and ex-gay support groups. Whether leading married or committed celibate lives, many report that their homosexual feelings have diminished greatly, and do not trouble them as much as they had in the past.
The keys to change are desire, persistence, and a willingness to investigate the conscious and unconscious conflicts from which the condition originated. Change comes slowly, usually over several years. Clients learn how to meet their needs for same-sex nurturance and affirmation without eroticizing the relationship. As they grow into their heterosexual potential, men and women typically experience a deeper and fuller sense of themselves as male or female.
Myth #3: We must teach our children that homosexuality is as normal and healthy as heterosexuality. Teenagers should be encouraged to celebrate their same-sex attractions. The truth is that scientific research supports age-old cultural norms that homosexuality is not a healthy, natural alternative to heterosexuality. Research shows that gay teens are especially vulnerable to substance abuse and early, high-risk sexual behavior. It does far more harm than good to tell a teenager that his or her attractions toward members of the same sex are normal and desirable. Teens in this position need understanding and counseling, not a push in the direction of a potentially deadly lifestyle.
A 1992 study in Pediatrics found that 25.9% of 12-year-olds are uncertain if they are gay or straight. The teen years are critical to the question of self-labeling, so the facts must be presented in our schools in a fair and balanced manner.
Giving & Sharing applauds the straightforward, factual approach of NARTH. For more information, contact: NARTH, 16633 Ventura Boulevard, Suite 1340, Encino, CA 91436-1801, Phone: (818) 789-4440, Fax: (805) 373-5084.
NARTH recommends a number of books which can help homosexuals change their misguided orientation. Also, Giving & Sharing recommends the book, Desires in Conflict, Answering the Struggle for Sexual Identity, by Joe Dallas, 288 pp., $14, which provides help for homosexuals desiring to change. It is not only possible to change from homosexual to heterosexual, you can do it with God’s help!
If we can only realize how much a card or a note means to someone who is sick or lonely, everyone would keep the post office busy. A man was dying of cancer and a Help Lines volunteer corresponded with him and told him they would pray for him. After his death, his wife sent a wonderful letter and picture of her and her husband. She told of how much he appreciated mail. He looked forward to the mailman coming each day. Her letter was very uplifting, telling of her husband’s last months of physical life here on earth and the suffering he went through. And the picture of them both made a lasting impression. Although few cards are answered, be sure all are deeply appreciated.
Beyond the urgency of immediate prayer needs are the ongoing personal difficulties. And the needs of the people are overwhelming! Physical ailments are the one we see most often, but many suffer with addictions, family problems, emotional difficulties, and personal needs. Too frequently, many have nowhere to go for help.
Help Lines has now operated its free service for about one year to provide ongoing assistance in those situations. It is made up of volunteers with different types of expertise. Interestingly, many who have had great personal trials have been some of our most active and effective help line staff. If you have a need for our free service or would like to assist others, please contact: Steve Kieler, 2193 Sheker Dr., Fort Dodge, IA 50501-8707, phone: 515-576-5743, e-mail: mailto:Steve.Kieler@giveshare.org.
The Lord is my Shepherd... THAT’S RELATIONSHIP! I shall not want... THAT’S SUPPLY! He maketh me to lie down in green pastures... THAT’S REST! He leadeth me beside the still waters... THAT’S REFRESHMENT! He restoreth my soul... THAT’S HEALING! He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness... THAT’S GUIDANCE! For His name’s sake... THAT’S PURPOSE! Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death... THAT’S CHALLENGE! I will fear no evil... THAT’S ASSURANCE! For Thou art with me... THAT’S FAITHFULNESS! Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me... THAT’S SHELTER! Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies... THAT’S HOPE! Thou anointest my head with oil... THAT’S CONSECRATION! My cup runneth over... THAT’S ABUNDANCE! Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life... THAT’S BLESSING! And I will dwell in the house of the Lord... THAT’S SECURITY! Forever... THAT’S ETERNITY! — from the Internet
Edmund Burke (1729-1797), English statesman, gave us these gems of wisdom:
“The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion.”
“The true danger is when liberty is nibbled away, for expedience, and by parts,” letter, April 3, 1777.
“Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little.”
“When bad men combine, the good must associate else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.”
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
“He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. Until He was thirty, He worked in a carpenter shop and then for three years, He was an itinerant preacher. He wrote no books. He held no office. He never owned a house. He never lived in a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place He was born. He never did any of the things that usually accompany greatness. The authorities condemned His teachings. His friends deserted Him. One betrayed Him to His enemies for a paltry sum. One denied Him. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed upon a cross between two thieves. While He was dying, His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He owned on earth: His coat. When He was dead He was taken down and laid in a borrowed grave.
“Twenty centuries have come and gone, yet today He is the crowning glory of the human race, the adored leader of hundreds of millions of the earth’s inhabitants. All the armies that ever marched, and all the navies that were ever built, and all the parliaments and congresses that ever sat, and all the kings and rulers that ever reigned — put together — have not affected the life of man on this earth so profoundly as that One Solitary Life.”—Unknown Author
Some people have a JOB in the church; others involve themselves in a MINISTRY. What’s the difference? If you are doing it just because no one else will, it’s a JOB. If you are doing it to serve the Lord, it’s a MINISTRY. If you quit because somebody criticized you, it was a JOB. If you keep on serving, it’s a MINISTRY.
If you’ll do it only as long as it does not interfere with your other activities, it’s a JOB. If you are committed to staying with it even when it means letting go of other things, it’s a MINISTRY. If you quit because no one praised you or thanked you, it was a JOB. If you stay with it even though nobody recognizes your efforts, it is a MINISTRY.
It’s hard to get excited about a JOB. It’s almost impossible not to be excited about a MINISTRY. If our concern is success, it’s a JOB. If our concern is faithfulness, it’s a MINISTRY.
An average church is filled with people doing JOBS. A great and growing church is filled with people involved in a MINISTRY. Where do we fit in? What about us? If God calls you to a MINISTRY, don’t treat it like a JOB. If you have a JOB, give it up and find a MINISTRY. God does not want us feeling stuck with a JOB, but excited and faithful to Him in a MINISTRY. “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them,” Mark 10:13-16. — Author unknown
Another series of earthquakes has devastated El Salvador. This tiny Central American country of six million people has a long history of quakes. During the past 450 years, every few decades have seen such disasters. There are many Sabbath-keepers in Central America. It is our duty to help other brethren less blessed than we are.
Bill Hicks (phone: 423-878-3041, E-mail: email@example.com), Missions Abroad Director of the Church of God (Seventh Day), asks for disaster relief help for the Church in El Salvador. The current President of the General Conference of the Church of God (Seventh Day) in El Salvador, Alfredo Castellón, said, “Things are very difficult here at the moment. We have a lot of damage and some deaths in our church areas. We have limited resources and will need any help that anyone can give us at this time.” Of the sixty-eight churches, four were damaged or destroyed. Twenty Church of God families became homeless, and eight died. Send any offerings as soon as possible to: The Disaster Relief Fund — El Salvador, Church of God (Seventh Day), P.O. Box 33677, Denver, CO, 80233-0677.
Belinda McCloud, Lifenets Co-ordinator, and United Church of God worker, also requests aid for Salvadoreño brethren. Please send aid through Lifenets, Victor Kubik’s relief agency. LifeNets can send you a tax-deductible receipt and then quickly send the money on to El Salvador. Make checks out to “LifeNets for El Salvador.” Mail to: LifeNets, PO Box 88165, Indianapolis, IN, 46228-2095. If you have any questions about aid to El Salvador, please E-mail Belinda McCloud at firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone her at 513-722-8740 and leave a message. Our Hispanic brethren will appreciate your kindness.
Psalm 118 is the middle chapter of the Bible, with 594 chapters before and after it. Psalm 117 is the shortest chapter, while Psalm 119 the longest chapter of the Bible. Add up all the chapters except Psalm 118 and you get a total of 1188 chapters. Psalm 118:8 is the middle verse of the Bible. With all these “coincidences,” don’t you think the middle verse of the Bible would be significant? It says, “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.” This central verse is the central theme of the Bible.
— compiled by Richard C. Nickels