May 31, 201
Attention iPad owners. You can now read the Good News magazine on your iPad! A digital version of the Good News can now be downloaded from the iPad App Store. This new app is available in the Newsstand category of the store.
The Newsstand store features magazines that you can subscribe to and read on the iPad. The Good News magazine app is one of only a few Christian magazines listed in search results within the Newsstand category, which greatly helps raise our profile.
The digital issues of The Good News contain the same articles that are available in the bi-monthly print edition (and on the Good News website). As you flip through a digital issue you will notice areas within the magazine where you can tap to access Bible study aids (booklets or articles at ucg.org) or watch Beyond Today videos. Additional digital pages have been added that feature content that can be accessed from the iPad, such as United Church of God booklets that are available within iBooks or Beyond Today podcasts that can be downloaded from iTunes.
Once you download the free Good News magazine app you can download each issue to your library (starting with the January/February 2012 issue) and subscribe to get new issues when they become available. The Good News app functionality allows you to view the table of contents for each issue (and navigate directly to an article), add bookmarks to favorite pages, e-mail a page from the digital issue to a friend and search for particular keywords inside the issue. New functionality might be added over time as we try to improve the experience of reading a digital magazine.
The Good News app became available in the App Store on May 15, 2012. Since the release date the app has been downloaded over 220 times from various countries around the world without any advertising on our part. Here are some of the App Store locations from where iPad owners have downloaded the app: United States, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, China, South Africa, India, United Kingdom, Germany, Colombia, Singapore, Netherlands, Hong Kong, Brazil, Belgium, Japan, Philippines, Denmark, Republic of Korea, United Arab Emirates, France, Costa Rica, Portugal, Argentina, Thailand, South Africa, Lithuania, Israel, Russia, Norway, Barbados and Saudi Arabia.
This brand new app is available around the globe and being downloaded in numerous places. Those locations (and downloads) will only increase over time as the iPad is becoming one of the most popular mobile devices used to access Web content, including for visiting the ucg.org website.
At this time we only offer the English digital edition of the Good News within the iPad app. But, we are planning to expand the app to feature our other Good News magazine language editions beginning with the first issue published in 2013. By way of reminder, this app is only available for the Apple iPad and is not available for the Apple iPhone or iPod Touch nor is a Good New app available for any Android supported devices at this time.
Here is how to download the Good News Magazine app (you may need to download the Newsstand app first):
- Go to the App Store on the iPad.
- Search for “Good News Magazine.“
- In the iPad Apps search result, locate The Good News Magazine app and tap on “INSTALL.”
- Enter in your necessary Apple ID Password.
- Once the app is installed you can the download any issue and/or request a free digital subscription.
- Enjoy your digital version of The Good News.
We would like to thank the app development company TapEdition (and their helpful staff) that has graciously built this app and provided us the means of saving thousands of dollars. We are excited that we can now provide The Good News magazine iPad app for those around the world who are seeking to understand God’s way of life. Thank you!
Internet Managing Editor
May 30, 2012
Beyond Today Canadian Update
On May 21, 2006, the first Beyond Today television program aired in Canada from coast to coast. A total of 20 responses were recorded from that program. From that modest beginning, our responses now average about 75 per week.
Three-hundred and thirteen weeks later, we entered our seventh year of airing the program in Canada.
During that time a total of 23,388 responses have been recorded. Nearly 80% of those responses have been phone calls from viewers of the program on Vision TV and the Grace Television Network (formerly The Christian Channel). Just over 20% of all the responses have been from the beyondtoday.tv website with the balance coming via mail.
Vision TV is available with most basic cable television packages in Canada while the Grace Television Network is available to digital and satellite television subscribers. Vision Television typically brings in about 80-85% of the phone responses due to its more widespread availability.
New people account for well over 50% of all the responses received. Nearly 13,000 new people have been added to our database as a result of Beyond Today in Canada.
The table below shows the number of responses we’ve received in each year of airing the program in Canada:
Our cost per response has dropped by over 50% over the past two years primarily as a result of the increase in responses.
In September 2010, the Canadian office mailing address was added in the program. Since that time, we’ve received about 200 letters from viewers. These letters account for 0.8% of all the responses received to date. Here is a small sample of comments received:
- “I watch Beyond Today at 10:30 p.m. Sunday on Vision TV. I find it very interesting and it helps me to go to my Bible and search.”
- “I am a regular listener of your television programming. It’s inspiring and educational. I would like to continue to be a regular subscriber to your magazine. I do enjoy reading them.”
- “On the Beyond Today TV program you told us the importance of listening and abiding by God’s instructions regarding clean and unclean meats. Would you send a copy of this booklet?”
While a large number of viewers only respond to one program, there are many others who respond to multiple programs.
Several pastors across Canada report new attendees at Sabbath services as a result of Beyond Today.
As we enter our seventh year of airing Beyond Today in Canada we look forward to many more positive results endeavouring to fulfill the words in Matthew 28:19-20.
UCG Canada Media Team
May 29, 2012
The Cincinnati East, Ohio, congregation of the United Church of God is continuing its bi-weekly Bible study Wednesday night, May 30. The study begins at 7:30 p.m. EDT and is available live via webcast.
The series on the Gospel of John will cover chapters 13 and 14. Presenters will be Gary Antion and Darris McNeely.
Plan to attend in person, or you can listen online. Also, please note that we have a mobile option. You can view the Bible study using your smartphone.
Steve Myers—Pastor, United Church of God Cincinnati East
May 10, 2012
During the week of April 22-28, Beyond Today television program “The Ten Commandments” aired on WGN America and the WORD Network. This episode hosted by Steve Myers attracted an excellent 1,023 responses. Of the 42 programs aired so far this fiscal year, this program logged the 13th highest in overall response.
Additionally on the WORD Network, the Beyond Today program “Revival!” hosted by Gary Petty, which aired the week of April 29-May 5, generated 200 viewer responses. This is the 3rd highest weekly response out of 19 programs aired so far on this network. The WORD Network continues to generate good, steady response.
The WORD Network, which exclusively airs religious content, reaches millions of households in the United States on cable and satellite (check listings for channels in your area). It can also be seen in 200 countries around the world via satellite on DirecTV, channel 373. (This channel is also compatible with mobile devices. The QR code can be scanned on any device to be directed to the network’s mobile Web app). Responses from the “Revival!” program came from Australia, Canada, England, Hong Kong, Ireland, India, South Africa and the United States.
As you may know, Beyond Today airs every Sunday in the United States at 8:30 a.m. EST on WGN America and on the WORD Network on Sunday at 1:30 a.m. EST (12:30 a.m. CST, Saturday 11:30 p.m., MST, Saturday 10:30 p.m. PST). It also airs on the Word Network on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. EST (4:30 p.m. CST, 3:30 p.m. MST, 2:30 p.m. PST).
Finally, thank you again for your support and prayers for all of the United Church of God’s ongoing efforts to preach the Gospel throughout the world.
Peter Eddington—Operation Manager, Media and Communications Services
May 9, 2012
The General Conference of Elders (GCE) of the United Church of God met in Cincinnati, Ohio, May 5 through 7 for their annual meeting.
Amongst other business, the GCE chose two new members for their Council of Elders: Carmelo Anastasi and Mark Mickelson. They will each serve a three-year term. Two incumbents, Scott Ashley and Melvin Rhodes, were returned for another three year term each, and two councillors decided not to run for office again: Bill Eddington and Roy Holladay.
All items on the ballot were overwhelmingly approved by the General Conference this year. This includes the annual Strategic Plan, Operation Plan and Budget, plus a number of amendments to our governing documents. In addition, one of the approved amendments prescribes that Council of Elders’ three-year terms begin this week, so the two new members are taking office almost immediately.
More details will be written up for you in the June issue of United News.
Peter Eddington—Media and Communications Services
May 7, 2012
Last week the United Church of God completed and sent to the printer an updated version of our booklet You Can Have Living Faith. Since it was originally produced 12 years ago, we have sent out an average of more than 800 copies per month to interested readers—a total of 120,000 copies to date.
This newly designed version has been converted to color with photos added to make it more readable and attractive. Most of the text of the original remains (with updates), and we’ve added new sections on how faith establishes our need to obey God’s law, that more is required for salvation than just belief, how our faith must really be Christ’s faith at work within us, how faith empowers obedience and more faith, and the many wonderful things that happen in our lives through faith.
Six years ago we started a major and lengthy project to update our booklet library, also redesigning them and converting those that were not in color to full color. We are also printing them on lighter paper, making them less expensive to mail and saving us money on postage.
With this booklet, the last of our 34 booklets that we plan to redesign have been completed. Senior writer Tom Robinson and art director Shaun Venish have done excellent work on these updates and redesigns.
With the completion of this lengthy updating and redesigning process, we look forward to working on a number of other new booklets to fill in a few remaining gaps in our library of booklet materials.
We deeply appreciate the support of our members, coworkers and donors whose generosity and faithfulness make it possible to share God’s wonderful truths to so many people around the world!
Scott Ashley—Booklets managing editor
May 4, 2012
With the reprinting of the updated and redesigned booklet You Can Have Living Faith, we will pass the 8 million mark.
To put this number in perspective, if all 8 million booklets (at our current size) were laid end to end, they would stretch more than 1,000 miles—the approximate distance from Los Angeles to Denver or Seattle or from Cincinnati to Dallas, Orlando, or Wichita.
If put into a single stack, it would reach more than 51 miles high and weigh almost 600 tons!
Our most-printed booklet at the moment is The Book of Revelation Unveiled (411,000 copies). The remainder of the top 10 booklets published are Are We Living in the Time of the End? (370,000 copies), You Can Understand Bible Prophecy (360,000 copies), What Happens After Death? and What Is Your Destiny? (355,000 each), The Middle East in Bible Prophecy (350,000 copies), Jesus Christ: The Real Story and The United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy (320,000 each), The Ten Commandments (310,000 copies) and Holidays or Holy Days: Does It Matter Which Days We Observe? (300,000).
In most years we have printed or reprinted 500,000 to 700,000 booklets in response to reader requests. This averages about 50,000 booklet requests per month (not counting Internet downloads).
While the Internet, TV, The Good News and other forms of media are good at introducing people to God’s truth, booklets play a major role in helping people gain a deeper understanding of what the Bible teaches about various subjects. Thus our booklets play a crucial role in bringing people to greater understanding of the Bible and God’s plan and purpose for them.
We deeply appreciate the generosity and faithfulness of our members, coworkers and donors who make it possible to share God’s wonderful truths in this way!
Scott Ashley—Booklets managing editor
May 3, 2012
Iran’s former president Hashemi Rafsanjani, predecessor of current president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was considered a moderate leader. But regarding nuclear weapons and Israel, he said: “If one day, the Islamic world is also equipped with weapons like those that Israel possesses now, . . . the use of even one nuclear bomb inside Israel will destroy everything. However, it will only harm the Islamic world. It is not irrational to contemplate such an eventuality.”
Rafsanjani was saying that if the Islamic world acquired nuclear weapons, leading to a nuclear confrontation, just one nuclear detonation inside Israel would destroy the nation. But it would be worth it, he noted, because an Israeli nuclear strike, although it might kill many millions of Muslims, would only “harm” the Islamic world and not destroy it. Israel, however, would no longer exist. Thus, in his mathematical equation, a nuclear war would be worth because while it would cost the lives of millions of Muslims, Israel would be exterminated. He concludes, “It is not irrational to contemplate such an eventuality.”
What about his successor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is stringing the entire world along as he pursues nuclear weapons? He’s made no secret of his hatred for Israel. Since assuming office in August 2005, Ahmadinejad has made repeated threats to eliminate the Jewish state. Notice a few:
- “Israel must be wiped off the map” (2005).
- “The basic problem in the Islamic world is the existence of the Zionist regime [Israel], and the Islamic world and the region must mobilize to remove this problem” (2006).
- “The United States and the Zionist regime of Israel will soon come to the end of their lives” (2007).
- “The world powers established this filthy bacteria, the Zionist regime, which is lashing out at the nations in the region like a wild beast” (2008).
- “This regime [Israel] will not last long . . . This regime has no future. Its life has come to an end” (2009).
- “Israel is the most hated regime in the world . . . With Allah’s grace, this regime will be annihilated, and Palestinians and other regional nations will be rid of its bad omen” (2010).
- “I am telling you that a new and greater Middle East will be established without the existence of the U.S. and the Zionist regime [Israel]” (2011).
Ahmadinejad regularly refers to Israel as the “little Satan,” and to the United States as the “great Satan.” To them, a “Satan” is two things. It is an adversary as well as an evil spiritual entity. Ahmadinejad views the United States in both ways. In his mind America is evil because its values and morals and support of Israel are absolutely corrupt. And it is an adversary because the United States is the major obstacle in the world that prevents Islam from achieving its true destiny as the religion that is supposed to rule over the entire world. Therefore the two “satans”—United States and Israel—must be eliminated.
Does Ahmadinejad really believe this? At a 2005 Iranian conference with the theme “The World Without Zionism,” he said: “Is it possible for us to witness a world without America and Zionism? You had best know that this slogan and this goal are attainable, and surely can be achieved.”
At that conference Ahmadinejad spoke onstage in front of a large banner showing an hourglass with grains of sand falling to the bottom, depicting time running out. Clearly visible in the hourglass was a large falling grain painted with a star of David, symbol of Israel, showing that its time is over.
At the bottom of the hourglass was a grain that had already fallen and been broken. It was painted with a U.S. flag. The unmistakable symbolism of the entire banner was that the United States has to be brought down before Israel can be brought down. The “great Satan” must fall first, then the “little satan” will be no problem. (You can do an Internet image search for “The World Without Zionism” and see the images for yourself.)
The concept of dawah is a little-known teaching of some branches of Islam. In practice, it means that a Muslim leader must invite his enemies to convert to Islam before waging jihad against them. In several speeches to the UN general assembly, Ahmadinejad has done exactly this—openly urged the gathered world leaders to convert to Islam. But because Western news reporters and government officials are oblivious to the concept of dawah, they had no idea what Ahmadinejad was doing and that he was carrying out an obligation for Muslims before they initiate warfare against enemies.
Here’s part of what he said in his 2009 speech to the UN general assembly: “We emphasize that the only path to remain safe is to return to monotheism [Islam] and justice, and this is the greatest hope and opportunity in all ages and generations. Without belief in Allah and commitment to the cause of justice and fight against injustice and discrimination [in other words, accepting Islam], the world structure cannot be put right.”
Lest you think that’s an aberration, he said essentially the same thing in his UN addresses in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2011 as well. So in his mind, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has fulfilled this obligation to invite enemies to convert to Islam before waging jihad against them. So if Iran does successfully develop nuclear weapons, he has already warned the entire world—through his UN addresses—by repeatedly inviting them to convert to Islam and submit to Allah.
We also need to realize that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad adheres to an unusual strain of Shiite Muslim theology that believes in the imminent appearance of an Islamic messiah, called al-Mahdi, who will lead Islam to its rightful place as the dominant religion in the world. Al-Mahdi’s followers believe that it’s their duty to bring chaos to the world, and out of this chaos will come a clash of civilizations between Islam and the West.
So how does this belief play out in the real world? It means that Ahmadinejad will never voluntarily enter into any meaningful agreement to restrict Iran’s nuclear program. It means that any agreements are only to be used to play for time, which is exactly what we’ve seen for a number of years now, until Iran becomes a full-blown nuclear power.
Does Ahmadinejad really believe this? Let me quote from his speech to the United Nations General Assembly in September 2011, just a matter of months ago. These were his opening words:
“In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful, all praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Universe, and peace and blessing be upon our Master and Prophet, Mohammad, and his pure household, and his noble companions and on all divine messengers. Oh, Allah, hasten the arrival of Imam Al-Mahdi and grant him good health and victory and make us his followers and those who attest to his rightfulness.”
He said this to the United Nations general assembly, including a prayer for the quick arrival of al-Mahdi and his “victory.” What victory? Victory in leading Islam to be the dominant religion over the world.
Sadly, our government officials and world news agencies are blind to what he was really saying, so you haven’t heard this reported in the news. But that’s exactly what he meant. You can be sure that all the representatives of the Muslim nations sitting there, who understand Islamic theology, knew exactly what he was saying.
“Through international cooperation, diligence and efforts by committed world leaders and governments and through insisting on the realization of justice and the support of all other nations, we can expedite the building of a common bright future.
“This movement is certainly on its rightful path of creation, ensuring a promising future for humanity. A future that will be built when humanity initiates to trend the path of the divine prophets and the righteous under the leadership of Imam al-Mahdi, the Ultimate Savior of mankind and the inheritor to all divine messengers and leaders and to the pure generation of our great Prophet [Muhammad].
“The creation of a supreme and ideal society with the arrival of a perfect human being who is a true and sincere lover of all human beings, is the guaranteed promise of Allah. He will come . . . to lead the freedom and justice lovers to eradicate tyranny and discrimination, and promote knowledge, peace, justice freedom and love across the world . . .
“Today nations have been awakened. With the increase in public awareness, they no longer succumb to oppressions and discriminations. The world is now witnessing more than ever, the widespread awakening in Islamic lands, in Asia, Europe, and America. These movements are ever expanding their spirit everyday and influence the pursuit of the realization of justice, freedom and the creation of a better tomorrow.
“Our great nation stands ready to join hands with other nations to march on this beautiful path in harmony and in line with the shared aspirations of mankind. Let us salute love, freedom, justice, wisdom, and the bright future that awaits humankind.”
Ahmadinejad is here stating exactly what he believes: That al-Mahdi will appear soon, that he is the ultimate savior of mankind, that he is the successor and descendent of Muhammad, and that he will establish peace on earth through Islam becoming the supreme religion on earth. He also notes that Iran stands ready to lead the march on this path toward a very different world united under Islamic rule.
He lays out his beliefs for the world to see. But without an understanding of the background of Islam and his beliefs, non-Muslims have no idea what he’s really saying.
So what will happen if or when Iran finally successfully develops nuclear weapons? He’s told us. He’s given the world the invitation to convert to Islam. He’s told us his intentions, which are to pave the way for al-Mahdi to come and lead Islam to victory over the entire world.
These are Ahmadinejad’s aims for Iran. You need to read The Good News to understand the forces that are transforming our world around us and understand the wonderful and magnificent age that Jesus Christ says really lies ahead for the whole world. Learn much more in the May-June issue of The Good News, now available online and arriving in your mailbox soon!
Scott Ashley—Managing editor, The Good News
May 2, 2012
[The following report was filed by Jorge de Campos, senior pastor for the United Church of God's Portuguese-speaking regions. Mr. de Campos visited Brazil during the Days of Unleavened Bread.]
The trip to Maloca de Moscow
On April 10 I left the United States to visit the brethren in Brazil, and to conduct three Kingdom of God Bible Seminars and fulfill a number of visit requests. God blessed the trip with spiritual growth of members, safety and health. Thanks are to be given to God for His blessing on this visit.
After flying from Dallas, Giovane Macedo, a member in Brazil, joined me in Boa Vista, Brazil, to visit the indigenous brethren in the Wapixana village of Maloca de Moscow. Giovane and I admired the lovely building which they built with Good Works funds for their services. This building was inaugurated on Passover night, April 5, 2012.
We also admired the lovely new vegetable garden which they planted at my request for their benefit, with “seed” funds donated by brethren. We delivered some toys, second hand clothing and bags of rice for their sustenance. In addition I carried from the U.S. a 32” flat screen TV and a DVD player for them to play our video sermons in Portuguese. All this arrived there in perfect condition and was donated by various brethren. The video sermons will be placed on DVD’s for them, as well as placed on the Web for other Portuguese members, either in Portugal and/or Brazil, who have access to the Internet.
On Friday, the last day of Unleavened Bread, we had two services and the attendance was 34 people for both services. On the following Sabbath, April 14, we had services in the morning with 32 brethren present and 8 visitors. In the afternoon we conducted the first series of the Kingdom of God Bible Seminars, with a total attendance of 42, of which 16 were visitors.
On Sunday afternoon we conducted a wedding in the new church hall they built. However, before the wedding I conducted a Bible study about the marriage vow. I addressed God’s laws regarding marriage and the need to comply with the laws of the country, that is, to legalize the marriages in Brazil.
Subsequent to the Bible study, while the ladies prepared for the wedding, we did a leadership training session reviewing previous instructions about preparing sermonettes and additional instructions about how to preach the Word of God effectively, lessons on song leading and general procedures regarding services, how to handle announcements in church, and the festival assistance program for them.
After the wedding we discussed ways that we could proceed to further assist the local brethren.
Visit to São Paulo
Giovane and I left Sunday evening to Boa Vista to catch a 2:30 a.m. flight early Monday morning to Brasília and then to São Paulo. Giovane at this juncture left to go to his home in Montes Claros and I proceeded to São Paulo. The municipality of São Paulo has well over 11 million people and the greater São Paulo region has some 19 million people. After renting a car, I finally arrived that afternoon at the residence of a prospective member family, the Pellegrinos.
That same Monday evening I conducted a Kingdom of God Bible Seminar with nine people attending. One of the new people that attended the Seminar was a gentleman of 83 years of age who used to attend God’s Church until 1995, and has remained faithful for all these years. This seminar in São Paulo ended up being a seminar with many questions and we left the venue at about midnight.
On Wednesday I drove 5 hours to Ribeirão Preto to visit a prospective member. This young man showed a lot of interest in the Church and we are in contact over the Internet. On Thursday, I visited a lady in an outlining suburb of São Paulo with many biblical questions and very desirous to worship God with us. In the same evening we visited a man in downtown São Paulo, who also demonstrated interest to join United.
As we have had no presence in São Paulo before, we are breaking new ground thanks to God opening the minds of new people who are very interested in the truth. We need to pray that God protects these new ones from Satan’s deception and brings them along to the truth. We now have an urgent need to set up a more visible ministry via video sermons and Internet contact to help these people along. We may even have to have a new Feast of Tabernacles site to teach these new prospective members about God’s Way. Let’s pray for God to bless this effort in the industrial hub of Brazil.
Change to the Feast Site in Brazil
On Friday I went to Montes Claros for the Sabbath to visit with the Macedo family, conduct a third Bible Seminar and wrap up the Brazilian trip. During this leg of the trip I learnt from the brethren in Maloca de Moscow about their decision that two of the four heads of family decided not to leave the village to attend the Feast in Boa Vista.
So that we would keep them together as a family, and upon prayer and council with the home office, we decided to move the Feast site in the North of Brazil, from the town of Boa Vista, back to the village of Maloca, and to conduct it in their new hall. This in fact will be a lot more economical and practical for the local brethren and they have all the equipment necessary to view video sermons in the village.
Regrettably we have to mention to those who intended to travel to Boa Vista from overseas to the Feast, that this is no longer possible—as Maloca de Moscow does not have the facilities for overseas guests. It could accommodate one or two people that would want to camp and rough it, but we could not accommodate a number of visitors. In the meantime we will also investigate other options near São Paulo as God is calling new people in that region and they need instruction about God’s Way, and the Feast is one of the ideal opportunities which God created for that purpose.
After the visit to Montes Claros I started my trip back early Sunday morning, April 22. I thank God once again for the doors that He is opening and for the health that he personally granted to me during this trip. Please continue praying that God may bless His Work in the Portuguese language and pray for these scattered brethren.
For your information, during this trip, we completed the printing of a new booklet in Portuguese making now 18 booklets that we have available in Portuguese. For literature and sermons in Portuguese please visit our members website at membros.revistaboanova.org.
Jorge de Campos—Senior Pastor, Portuguese-speaking Areas
May 1, 2012
The Cincinnati East, Ohio, congregation of the United Church of God is continuing its bi-weekly Bible study Wednesday night, May 2. The study begins at 7:30 p.m. EDT and is available live via webcast.
The series on the Gospel of John will cover chapters 9 and 10. Presenters will be Steve Myers and Darris McNeely.
Plan to attend in person, or you can listen online. Also, please note that we have a mobile option. You can view the Bible study using your smartphone.
Steve Myers—Pastor, United Church of God Cincinnati East