As mentioned above, due to our annual ministerial and Church conference in Colorado in early March, the publication of our weekly Updates will be discontinued for two weeks. The next issue will be published on March 18.
This gives all of us more time to concentrate on the very important issues which we need to discuss and decide upon–including our growing Internet activities; the publication of new booklets in 2010; clarifications on doctrinal issues pertaining to the “king of the South”; the future of the “spirit in man” for unpardonable sinners in the third resurrection; the use of an anointed cloth in regard to demons; today’s application of certain Old Testament laws; and perhaps most importantly, combating Laodicean attitudes in this last era of the Church of God.
Brethren and friends, we must never think that a superficial attitude may only exist and prevail in the lives of other organizations and individuals, or that it could not possibly sneak into “our” church or our personal lives. It may perhaps be easy to see in others a lack of zeal, dedication, perseverance or stick-to-itiveness; a failure to carry out tasks on time or at all; and the tendency to let things slip or to lose enthusiasm for the accomplishment of certain necessary projects. These problems in others may become obvious to us, but what about ourselves?
How much “on fire” are we–on a continuous basis?
Those of us who are baptized and converted members of the Church of God will be partaking of the annual Feast of Passover in about one month. We are admonished, especially during this time now, to examine ourselves. In my sermon this coming Sabbath, I will be speaking about self-examination, as it applies to our individual lives regarding our relationship with God and our fellow man.
In this Editorial, I would like to take an additional approach and ask some pertinent questions regarding our zeal and dedication for God’s WORK and the CHURCH of God. So, let’s evaluate a few things:
How diligent are we in regularly attending weekly Church Sabbath services? Or are there sometimes personal activities in our lives which seem to take preference over our regular commanded personal attendance before God?
How do we dress when we appear before God–the King and Ruler of the universe? (I am not just talking about attending personally in services, but also, when we participate in Sabbath services over the Internet.) How do we behave during services? Does our conduct show that we know and are constantly aware of the fact that we are in the presence of God and His holy angels, as well as Spirit-begotten brethren–future kings and queens in the very Family of God? Inappropriate clothing or disrespectful behavior during services not only disturb other brethren, but they also show indifference and carelessness for our very Maker and Sustainer.
How attentive are we during services? How diligent are we in studying the written material which this Work is publishing? Are we habitually watching our weekly StandingWatch programs? Are we conscious of the fact that in doing so, we are fulfilling our responsibility as a co-worker in the Work of God?
Do we read and study the weekly Updates each week from the first to the last page? Or are they “too long” and “too wordy” for us? Do we think that we can afford skipping the Editorial, or the Current Events, or the Q&A, or the news from the Work? Do we think, for example, that we don’t have to read the Current Events section because we get the news anyhow from CNN or from MSNBC or from FOX or from newspapers and magazines? Granted, you might perhaps get some of the news if you searched the Internet for hours and read paper after paper–but even then, you are not going to get the news in the concentrated fashion and explained in the light of biblical prophecy, as you do when you read the Current Events (By the way, numerous hours each week go into the preparation of the Current Events section.)
Do we take the time to study–not just “read”– the Q&As? Do we open the Bible and look up every Scripture mentioned in the Q&A–as the minister has to do when he prepares the Q&A? Do we prove to ourselves that the things which are said are so? I know that some of you do this–but I dare to say that others don’t. So why is that? Do those who don’t, really think that they don’t NEED to do this?
How often do we PRAY for the success of this Work–that the preaching of the gospel may fall on fertile ground? How often have we prayed for God’s guidance and success for the upcoming conference? Do we regularly pray that God would bring workers into the harvest, which is indeed plentiful? Do we pray for one another, for the ministry, and dear brethren and friends, do you also pray for me, personally? Never ever think that I don’t need your prayers. I most certainly do!
How faithful are we in regular tithing, contributions and Holy Day offerings? Not only is your financial support necessary to help this Work to continue to accomplish the task which God has given to us–much more importantly for us individually is the fact that our negligence or indifference in regular tithing is tantamount to robbing from God. I know, you might have heard this many times before, but how serious do you take it? Do we REALLY want to have to give an account or “justification” to God as to why we were “excused” from paying His tithe to Him? When you earn money, then you have “increase”–tithable income. To use it for yourself is stealing from God, pure and simple.
These are just a few examples to encourage you to continue on your journey of self-examination. Much more could be said–and will be said in the weeks ahead, prior to the Passover. Please use the time to pray, study, meditate and fast, so that you can show yourself approved by God as one of His co-workers who is and remains to be a zealous, dedicated, good and faithful servant.