Servants' News

Sept/Oct 2002

News from Local Congregations

News from Local Congregations

News from Local Congregations
This column includes information sent to us from a variety of groups. Servants’ News does not necessarily agree with the teachings or practices of these groups. Please ask about them before attending their functions.

UCG Places Doctrinal Study Papers Online

UCG’s doctrinal papers are available at the following page:

http://www.ucg.org/papers

Titles presently include: Blessing of Little Children, Covenants, Divine Healing, Exodus 34:22 and the Calendar, Godly Governance, Hebrew Calendar Summary, Hebrew Calendar Doctrinal Statement, Keeping Passover at Home, Last Great Day, Passover of Exodus 12 (Appendix), Pentecost and Its Observance, Night To Be Much Observed, Jury Duty, Lost Tribes of Israel, Marrying Outside the Church, Should Christians Observe New Moons?, Swearing, Tithing on Net Income, Third Tithe

Only a few of the CoGs post such papers—I wish they all would.

— Craig White, surfer1@tpg.com.au

Free Ten Commandments Calendar for 2003

The Churches of God Ten Commandments Calendars are in and ready to ship. They feature a commandment (full text) in lieu of a picture for each month. November and December feature the first great commandment verse, and second.

The seventh day is correctly identified as the Sabbath. Moon phases and times are shown in great detail, with tables from the U.S. Naval Observatory in back of calendar. All holy days are shown.

To receive a free calendar contact James D. Ussery at: djussery@tiagris.com or call toll free 1-877-586-1851 or snail mail: James D. Ussery, P.O. Box 1291, Big Sandy, TX 75755.

Or, contact Theda E. Horton by e-mail at tehorton@swbell.net.

The Ten Commandments Calendar was compiled by Theda E. Horton especially for the Churches of God which keep the Commandments and Holy Days of God the Creator, the Word, who became Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Scriptures are from the Authorized King James Version of the Holy Bible. The calendar is produced and funded by individual contributions to the Ten Commandments Calendar Association. The calendars are freely given!

New Church of God News

Giving & Sharing announces a new, free, publication, Church of God News, to begin in January, 2003. Plans are to publish it ten times a year, on the Internet at www.giveshare.org/news, and in print.

To subscribe to the Internet notification version, send an e-mail to info@giveshare.org. If you do not have Internet access, you can subscribe to the printed version by writing to: Giving & Sharing, PO Box 100, Neck City, MO 64849.

We need regular news reporters who will submit articles every month, as well as special reports from many Church of God groups. Please submit news articles of your group’s activities. Deadline for each issue is the 15th of the preceding month.

E-mail articles to Steve Kieler at: editor@giveshare.org.

Church of God News will contain: church events, special meetings, youth camps, youth activities, Feast sites, seminars, special speakers, news of new publications, summaries of important articles and noteworthy sermons, new booklets, weddings, births, baptisms, deaths, ordinations, etc.

News will not contain: paid advertisements, doctrinal arguments, personal attacks, nor negative articles attacking traditional Church of God doctrines.

We want to discover what the Churches of God are doing right, not advertise what they are doing wrong. Our purpose for the new publication is to inform and edify (Ephesians 4:12), to stimulate and exhort (Hebrews 10:24–25), and unify (Ephesians 4:3).

May we count on your regular news article contributions?

— Richard C. Nickels, Giving & Sharing,
3316 Alberta Drive, Gillette, WY 82718.
Phone: 307-686-5191,
Fax: 413-228-0483

Internet: www.giveshare.org

E-Mail: giveshare@vcn.com

 

[Adding another independent Sabbatarian publication is a good thing—Church of God groups have suffered in the past from having only one source of news. This “only good news” approach may be preferred by new believers—anxious to learn what they can, but not ready to help solve the problems.

However, it is important to realize that much of the Bible contains mistakes of men and women and the means whereby God and His servants corrected them. — NSE]

Historic Mich. Group Moves

After meeting 20 years in the same location, Yahweh’s House of Prayer will begin meeting every Sabbath in the Church of the Brethren building at the corner of St. Joseph and Sunfield Highway in Sunfield Township.

The Sabbath and Feast-keeping roots of this group go back to the teaching of Nora Bush beginning in 1925—they never were a part of the WCG.

Contact: 517-649-8636; PO Box 1, Muliken, Michigan 48861.

Help for Divorce Troubles

At the Feast this year it was discovered that approximately 80% of the people were affected by divorce in their immediate family. We have dealt with the preventative side of the problem at Help Line but it was determined that those traumatized by divorce were in need of assistance.

Help Line, a service to provide encouragement, counselling, and compassion in the areas of addictions, family or personal and spiritual problems, has added staff to assist persons dealing with divorce or its aftermath.

You may request material, personal contact or both regarding your needs. There is no cost to you and everything is confidential. Contact:

— Steven and Suzanne Kieler
2193 Sheker Drive, Fort Dodge, IA 50501; Phone: 515-576-5743
sskieler@juno.com

Shrinking WCG, No Free PT

According to the August 2002 Worldwide News, page 28., The Plain Truth magazine, free for over 50 years, will now have a subscription price even for WCG members. The Plain Truth is now published by Plain Truth Ministries, which will no longer be subsidized by the WCG and will have totally separate financial statements.

The article went on to show that at the end of May 2002, the WCG had consumed $1,000,000 of reserves in spite of receiving $1.3 million from the sale of the Orr SEP campus and receiving $1.4 million from Legacy Corporation’s withdrawal from the purchase of the Pasadena Campus. For the first five months of 2002, they had only $11.2 million of regular income for $14.9 million of expense.

With Legacy Corporation out of the picture, the WCG will be attempting to develop and sell parts of the campus themselves. Because the Ambassador Auditorium has always cost more to maintain than it has produced in revenues, finding a buyer for it may not be possible. Most commercial auditoriums have about twice as many seats—and can sell twice as many tickets.

The Ambassador Auditorium Committee (Alice Coulombe, chairwoman) has been formed to try to find a way to preserve it. Now, demolishing the Ambassador Auditorium is being openly discussed by the WCG leadership.

Many former-WCG brethren may find the thought of the destruction of Ambassador Auditorium upsetting. After all, many of us contributed financially to its construction. I personally attended services and some concerts there for many years. Many people saw it as a “house for God” or a symbol of God’s way of doing things.

This was probably a mistake: “But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation” (Heb 9:11). Nice buildings are nice, but the Church is the people, not a building, and God wants us to look to Him, not a building. For more about this, ask us for Al Van Dyk’s short article on Church Buildings (order code CHUBIL).

— Norman Edwards

Needed: An Honest Attorney in Southern California

P. F. Lazor is in need of an honest attorney to help him overturn a fraudulent murder conviction, for which he has spent nearly 30 years in California state prison, now in Lancaster. (Apparently, Lazor had no criminal record prior to this conviction. He had repeatedly asked police for protection from John Alfred, a man who had twice attacked him. Finally Alfred broke into Lazor’s bedroom with a meat cleaver and attempted to strike Lazor, whereupon Lazor shot him, then called police and an ambulance, but Alfred died later.)

P.F. Lazor believes he knows the right legal approach to take and has a friend who will pay the attorney’s fees. He needs to find an honest attorney who is primarily interested in seeing justice done and who will see the case through. Many readers may think that sounds simple enough—are not there thousands of attorneys listed in any major city’s Yellow Pages? There are. But finding an attorney who will take a difficult case and one who will do everything he can to win it are two completely different matters. This is especially true in criminal cases where there is no money to divide if the case is won. Of course, attorneys work hard in civil cases where their compensation is based on a percentage of the money that they win.

Most Americans do not realize that even though they are paying an attorney, the attorney is not legally bound to put their client’s interests first. Attorneys are first responsible as “officers of the court”, secondarily responsible to the “public good” and thirdly responsible to their clients. It is lawful for a judge and a group of attorneys to get together and reason like this: if we grant this motion that will result in the release of this man whom we believe is innocent, then a lot of people whom we believe really are guilty will try the same procedure and some of them might get released also, which would be contrary to the ‘public good’. So we are better off not to grant this motion to anyone, and leave the innocent man in jail.” This is an oversimplification, but things like this actually happen. It is a rare attorney who will stand up for his client, and risk possible disbarment for going against the decisions of judges and other attorneys.

Even worse than this problem, many attorneys simply see a prisoner who is able to pay as an easy source of money. They can simply file a few documents, and if nothing is accomplished, so what? The prisoner’s only recourse is to sue the lawyer—and finding a honest lawyer who will do that is probably even more difficult than finding one to take the original case. Lawyers tend not to want to accept mal-practice suits against other lawyers because they are all members of the Bar Association. Probably most lawyers collect some fees for cases where they know they have not done a good job—so why should they help to prosecute their colleagues for doing the same thing? No wonder God laments:

No one calls for justice, Nor does any plead for truth. They trust in empty words and speak lies; they conceive evil and bring forth iniquity (Is 59:4).

We realize that most prisoners claim that they are wrongly convicted, and that only some of those stories are true. Dozens of prisoners have written to Servants’ News and Shelter in the Word asking for literature and help of various kinds. We have supplied the literature, but simply do not have time to verify that their stories are legitimate and that their requests are reasonable. We hope that others who have time will take a greater interest in helping and visiting prisoners (Matt 25:36).

P. F. Lazor does his best to keep the Sabbath in prison. He has had contact with us and other Sabbatarian ministries for years. He has been a song-writer all his life and found us through Sabbatarian songwriter friends.

Anyone wishing to help him can contact Church Bible Teaching Ministry, or write to him directly:

P. F. Lazor C73842, 44750 60th Street West, Lancaster, CA 93536

— NSE

Matthew 18:15–17 Works!

Because this problem has been solved, we will invent some names to tell the story. However, the lesson should be helpful to everyone. It started when Sam taught some things at a Feast and Jim disagreed with them. Jim, following Matthew 18, decided to “go to his brother”. He tried to contact Sam several times via e-mail, but when he received neither response nor “returned” e-mail, he concluded that Sam was refusing to answer him. He concluded that he would no longer treat him as a brother, but first involved other witnesses—he sent copies of his e-mails to other believers.

At least two of the men who received these copies strongly encouraged Jim to make sure that Sam really had received his e-mails. Upon more investigation, it was found that Sam had changed e-mail addresses and that mail sent to his old address was being neither forwarded nor returned—he knew nothing of the several e-mails. This is one reason why the Bible speaks of establishing events in the testimony of at least two witnesses: communication mistakes happen. Even when people speak face to face, they do not always understand each other correctly. Something as important as deciding who we treat as a believer should not be a process easily subject to error.

In Bible times, most human interactions were on a local basis—face to face communication and hand-delivered written messages were common. But with modern travel and communications, we frequently have dealings with people hundreds of miles away. We must realize that e-mail, telephones and even postal mail are not always perfect—a computer error may cause either system to fail consistently for quite a while until it is detected.

We can learn from civil governments that have established things like Registered Mail and “return receipt” capabilities which can make a person much more sure that his communication is being received. This writer has witnessed other instances where great problems have occurred among believers due to simple miscommunication.

When Christ rules the earth, will all communications be handled by angels and operate perfectly? That is possible. But if God does everything for us, I do not think we will learn very much. It is more likely that He will teach people to develop good communications systems and to treat their neighbors as they would want to be treated. We need to be “slow to anger”, especially when someone might not even be hearing or understanding us.

When the Jim, in our story, found out that his e-mails were not received, he sent a letter of apology to Sam and to all the witnesses who received the complaint. That was the best thing to do in this circumstance, but it would be better to avoid the mistakes.

— NSE

Gerald Waterhouse Dies

Gerald Waterhouse passed away September 4, 2002 at age 76. He had suffered various health problems for several years. He was buried at the National Cemetery in Florence, South Carolina.

Mr. Waterhouse graduated from Ambassador College in 1956 and was heavily involved in starting new churches during the 50s and early 60s—some in international areas. In 1966, he began the first of 11 worldwide tours where he would speak to combined groups of WCG members. He was noted for stirring members to visualize the Kingdom of God and to press on toward it. He was quite entertaining, but also known for speaking two or three hours at a time. Nevertheless, this writer did not mind the long sermons and remembers being inspired by him during those years.

During the troubled late 70s and early 80s of the WCG, his message turned more toward the government of God and heavily emphasized the apostleship of Herbert Armstrong and dogmatically stated that Mr. Armstrong would not die until Christ returned. When Joseph Tkach, Sr. became the head of the WCG in 1986, Mr. Waterhouse continued to preach the government message, but then emphasized how Mr. Tkach was in God’s plans all along. As doctrines began to change in the late 80s and early 90s, Mr. Waterhouse continued to preach some of the changes, even though some contradicted what he had preached for decades.

This writer remembers talking to him privately in the Good Earth Restaurant in Pasadena, and found that even in that environment he still faithfully supported the current administration.

Diligence, support and powerful speaking are good valuable personal assets. Unfortunately, the WCG sometimes emphasized “following the government” (human leaders) over truthfulness, consistency, and apologizing for mistakes. If Mr. Waterhouse ever apologized for the failed prophetic messages he gave, this writer has no information about it.

We cannot know what was in anyone’s mind nor how God views it. We can all be happy to know that God will judge each one of us in perfection, and take care of us in the best way possible when he raises us from the dead.

May we all appreciate the good things that we received from Gerald Waterhouse, and may we learn from his mistakes and not repeat them.

— NSE

Free Computer Bible

If you have a computer, you might want to take a peek at:

http://www.e-sword.net

I downloaded their free Bible before the Feast and, to me, it seems head and shoulders above other free Bible programs I've come across. Interesting quotes such as:

Without payment you have received; without payment you are to give. (Mat 10:8, ISV)

Religious truth is captive in a small number of little manuscripts which guard the common treasures, instead of expanding them. Let us break the seal which binds these holy things; let us give wings to truth that it may fly with the Word, no longer prepared at vast expense, but multitudes everlastingly by a machine which never wearies to every soul which enters life. — Johann Gutenberg (first man to print the Bible).

Eliminating Biblical illiteracy… one download at a time.

— Glen Leslie

 

Send Us Your News!

Believe it or not, publication editors are not people who automatically “know what’s going on”. The only way we know about significant events is by somebody telling us, by reading a publication or by asking various groups what they are planning. We simply do not have time to contact numerous groups before each issue to get their current news. We receive a lot of publications, but cannot read all of them. Many groups do not have a publication.
The most effective way for us to provide timely news is for you to send an announcement 2 to 3 months before a special event takes place, or send a report a week or so after it occurs. Thank you very much for your help.

 


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