Almost exactly four years ago, on July 2, 2001, we filed the Articles of Incorporation of the Church of the Eternal God (CEG) with the Secretary of State of California, which were subsequently approved on July 5, 2001. Following this, we applied for and received federal and state tax exempt status.
There were mainly two major factors forcing us to establish CEG in the United States, and to affiliate with the Global Church of God in the United Kingdom (Global) and the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada (CGCF): (1) Our conviction to have to provide a spiritual haven for those members, co-workers and others who felt that they had no spiritual place to go; and (2) Our conviction that we must continue to preach, as much as God allows and wants us to, the gospel or good news of the soon-coming Kingdom of God, to be established here on earth by the return of Jesus Christ, as the KING of kings, and the LORD of lords.
We understood that spiritually providing for the Church or “feeding the flock” includes GROWING in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, and that BOLDLY and STRONGLY preaching the gospel requires an unwavering COMMITMENT by all of us to CONTRIBUTE to the WORK of the LIVING God, as much as possible, in many different ways, as decreed by God (compare 1 Corinthians 12:12-30).
Sadly, not all who joined with us in the effort to FULFILL God’s two-fold Commission to His end-time Church (of preaching the gospel and feeding the flock) are still with us. Some left us, or we had to disassociate from them, because they simply did not have the same spirit or mindset, which we must have if we want to see that our Church organizations succeed, to the glory and honor of God!
I’m reminded of Gideon’s army, as recorded in the Book of Judges. The Midianites, the Amalakites, and the people of the East were oppressing Israel. God appointed Gideon to free Israel from this foreign occupation. Gideon doubted that he would be able to accomplish such a great task, so God had to prove to him through supernatural signs that He was with him. Still, Gideon needed help. He sent messengers to the people, and since they had undoubtedly heard about the mighty deeds which God had already done through Gideon, many came to join him (compare Judges 6:28-35). But they were clearly not all of the same conviction, and they did not have the same dedication to God’s cause. God had to reduce Gideon’s army. First, Gideon, in following God’s command, sent those home who were fearful and afraid (Judges 7:2-3). Twenty-two thousand (!) of his army returned. Subsequently, God sent 9,700 soldiers home who got on their knees to drink. Only 300 men, who lapped from the water with their tongues, as dogs lap, were allowed to stay (verses 5-7). They showed a higher degree of military readiness, being watchful and alert, as they “evidently… used their hands to bring the water to their mouths while standing upright, just as a dog uses his tongue to bring water to his mouth… in contrast to those who knelt” (Ryrie Study Bible).
God separated those who were truly committed to His cause from those who were not, either because they were afraid to fight boldly for God, or because they did not see the need to be dedicated and committed at all times. And so, we have seen that some who began with us, or who joined us later, have left us. I’m sure that they thought they had good reasons to leave, but the fact remains that they are no longer part of Gideon’s army, to stay within the picture. But the commitment of others did not waver. God has also added, and He WILL be adding, new people, and God has been blessing our combined efforts.
Through the grace and power of God, much has been accomplished. You are reading the 200th edition of our weekly Update. We have posted literally hundreds of sermons, as well as over 50 StandingWatch programs, on one of our four Websites. We have published and posted on our Websites 18 booklets in the English language, and several booklets and articles in the French and German languages. We have sent out several thousand audio sermon tapes.
All of this is a TEAM effort. And we, the ministry of CEG, Global and CGCF, are tremendously thankful for our dedicated team. Some of those who help us on a constant time-consuming basis (whether it is as editorial reviewers and the graphic designer of our booklets; regular contributors to and writers for our weekly updates, including our younger people; copying and sending out the weekly audio tapes; as well as our webmaster) are listed, by name, in our written literature and on our Websites–but there are so many more we could name. God knows who they are!
There are those who are members of our technical team, competently helping us with the design of our Websites and many other technically related issues. There are those who assist us diligently before, during, and after Church services with technical issues, including the live broadcast of our services, the recording of our sermons, and the uploading of our sermons to the Web. Some assist with opening and closing prayers, songleading, delivering sermonettes and split-sermons, special music and choir. There are those who help us maintaining and updating our Websites. Others finalize and send out our updates via email. Still others prepare and send out our hard-copy mail (including booklets, member letters and updates). There are those who are involved in producing video recordings of our sermons for scattered groups of brethren. There are those who help us with the translation of our English literature into other languages. There are our young members whom God has begun to prepare and use more and more powerfully for important tasks to come. And last, but not least, there are our ministerial wives who have been helping all of us tirelessly in many ways, including giving us much encouragement. Truly, God has given us in the ministry helpers comparable to us (compare Genesis 2:20), or, to say it, as does the New Revised Standard Version, helpers as our partners.
We could not have accomplished much, if anything, if it had not been for the true dedication of God’s people to God’s cause. That is why we would like to take the opportunity to thank all of you for your sincere loyalty, help, tireless efforts, financial contributions and, most importantly, your continued constant prayers that God would send dedicated, convicted helpers into the harvest, because the harvest is indeed plentiful, but sincere selfless laborers are few (Matthew 9:37-38).
In return, we pray to God for His abundant blessings for your efforts in His Work, and for your personal lives. Even though we cannot adequately thank you for your dedication, we would like to cite to you the unshakable promise of the Head of this Church, Jesus Christ, in Revelation 22:12: “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.”