Inside United: Realtime

Exciting News & Updates from UCGIA

Beyond Today Has Record Week

November 29, 2012

Beyond Today television program “Middle East Family Feud” hosted by Darris McNeely, which aired the week of November 11-17, attracted the highest response (1,249) and the lowest cost per response ($13.13) out of all 19 programs aired so far this fiscal year.

The effective explanation of the underlying reasons for the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict in the Middle East appears to have struck a chord with our viewers. The idea of a longstanding family feud, going back thousands of years, was beforehand a total mystery to most. Our television program provided a fresh and biblical perspective on the geopolitical and religious underpinnings of the Mideast crisis. The unique understanding presented in this program was strongly recognized by the audience and as a result they responded in kind.

Please continue to pray that our presenters and production team will find ways to be as effective as possible in preaching the good news of the Kingdom of God.

Peter Eddington—Operation Manager, Media and Communications Services

November 28, 2012 Posted by | Beyond Today, Media and Communications | , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

666: What is the Number of the Beast?

November 27, 2012

The Cincinnati East, Ohio, congregation of the United Church of God is continuing its bi-weekly Bible study Wednesday night, November 28. The study begins at 7:30 p.m. ET and is available live via webcast.

The series on the book of Revelation continues with chapters 13 and 14. Who is the beast of chapter 13? What is the number of the beast? Also, the 144,000 mentioned in chapter 14 will be discussed, along with the “three messages.”

Join us for in-depth study into these topics and more on Wednesday. Presenters will be Gary Antion and Peter Eddington.

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

November 27, 2012 Posted by | Ambassador Bible Center, Ministerial Services | , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Australian Office Provides Media Update

November 16, 2012

The Beyond Today Programs this Weekend:

SATURDAY

Calling Evil Good

Where are the voices crying out against dishonesty, injustice and moral evil? And where are people who will heed the warnings?

Steve Myers

OFFER:

GN, Road to Eternal Life

SUNDAY

Will I Go to Heaven?

When facing death, the idea of heaven seems comforting. But does that make it true? The Bible’s answer may astonish you.

Steve Myers

OFFER:

GN, Heaven and Hell: What Does the Bible Really Teach?

Please continue to pray for the success of our Beyond Today program on Channel 4ME. Currently the prophecy programs such as Middle East Family Feud and Bracing for the Beast are bringing in the biggest responses—even when they are repeated.

 Google Ads

As the fighting escalates in the Middle East the interest in our ads for The Middle East in Bible Prophecy makes up over 30% of all requests from our Google booklet ads. Following is the link to our landing page for this ad: www.ucg.org.au/?offer/the-middle-east-in-prophecy

New Auto-Responder Advertising Campaign

For the last two months or so UCG-A has been offering The Good News magazine on Internet survey sites. This campaign has had such good results (39% open rate and 15% click rate) for an auto-responder program that even the company we advertise with was surprised. I think they thought no one would be interested in a Christian magazine!

As a result of the campaign we have collected 3,983 email addresses of people who had received the introductory GN e-letter and wanted to be notified when the November/December Good News came out.  We notified these people of the lastest issue this last week. So far 1,022 people have opened the email and at least 60 of these people have ordered the GN or literature hard copy. Click here to see the current newsletter.

By the time we send an e-letter for the Jan/Feb edition of The Good News, we will have over 5,000 people on this list. We are thanking God for the wonderful response to this campaign.

Kind Regards,

Ruth Root—United Church of God, Australia

November 16, 2012 Posted by | Beyond Today, Media and Communications | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Place of Safety for the Church?

November 12, 2012

The Cincinnati East, Ohio, congregation of the United Church of God is continuing its bi-weekly Bible study Wednesday night, November 14. The study begins at 7:30 p.m. ET and is available live via webcast.

The series on the book of Revelation continues with chapters 12 and 13. What is Bible prophecy referring to when it says the woman [the church] “might fly into the wilderness to her place”? And, who is the beast of chapter 13?

Join us for in-depth study into these topics and more on Wednesday. Presenters will be Darris McNeely and Steve Myers.

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

November 12, 2012 Posted by | Ambassador Bible Center, Ministerial Services | , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Feast of Tabernacles 2013: Portugal

November 9, 2012

We are pleased to announce that the United Church of God  will be hosting the Feast of Tabernacles in 2013 in the fishing and vacation village of Costa de Caparica, just outside Lisbon, Portugal, in addition to the site in Maloca de Moscou, Brazil.

This site near Lisbon has been very popular for the Feast in past years and we are pleased that God has again opened the doors to hold the Festival there.

A fact even more exciting is that the hotel has granted us the same prices as those that we had in 2010.

Additional details and information on how to register may be obtained by accessing the file 2013 Feast of Tabernacles in Portugal which is at the following link: membros.revistaboanova.org/feast.

Should you have any further questions about the Portuguese feast site, in Brazil or in Portugal, please contact the festival coordinator, Jorge de Campos, at jorge_decampos@ucg.org.

November 9, 2012 Posted by | Ministerial Services, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Council Chooses New Chairman

November 8, 2012

The Council of Elders met at 4 p.m. ET to discuss various items of United Church of God business. On the agenda was the selection of a new chairman.

Long-time church pastor and member of the Council, Robin Webber, was selected to be chairman for a term that will continue through May 2014. He and his wife, Susan, live in Southern California. Mr. Webber will serve as chairman of the Council, and also of the General Conference of Elders.

President Dennis Luker told the Council that he looks forward to working with Mr. Webber, and reminded everyone that their long friendship goes back to the time when they both served in the Southern California area.

Robin and Susan Webber

November 8, 2012 Posted by | Council of Elders | , , , , , | 12 Comments

Does Marriage Matter?

November 7, 2012

Marriage is the building block of families. Families are the building blocks of communities. Communities are the building blocks of society. When marriages and families break down, so do communities and ultimately society and civilization as a whole. We’ve seen this pattern before, and we’re witnessing it again as this bedrock of society increasingly crumbles.

Consider the costs when marriage is debased and discarded. A landmark 2008 study titled The Taxpayer Costs of Divorce and Unwed Childbearing concluded that breakdown of the family costs U.S. taxpayers a minimum of at least $112 billion each year, or more than $1 trillion in a decade.

That figure includes major costs for “higher rates of crime, drug abuse, education failure, chronic illness, child abuse, domestic violence, and poverty . . . more welfare expenditure; increased remedial and special education expenses . . . increased Medicaid and Medicare costs; [and] increasingly expensive and harsh crime-control measures,” among other things.

The National Fatherhood Initiative website cites a number of studies showing that:

  • “Children in father-absent homes are almost four times more likely to be poor.”
  • Children born to single mothers show higher levels of aggressive behavior than children born to married mothers.”
  • “Infant mortality rates are 1.8 times higher for infants of unmarried mothers than for married mothers.”
  • “A 2002 Department of Justice survey of 7,000 inmates revealed that 39 percent of jail inmates lived in mother-only households.”
  • “There is significantly more drug use among children who do not live with their mother and father.”
  • “A poor parental bond with one’s father was highly predictive of depression, a well-known predictor of alcohol abuse and related problems for both females and males.”
  • “Youth who have experienced divorce, separation, or a nonunion birth have significantly higher levels of behavioral problems in school than do youth who have always lived with both biological parents.”

These depressing findings make it all the more disturbing that different groups, movements and even political parties wish to redefine marriage and family. Do fruits like the sad conclusions stated above not demonstrate the folly of tampering with an institution the Creator of human beings designed?

As Jesus Christ Himself said: “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:4-6; quoting Genesis 1:27; 2:24).

This is how God designed marriage. As we show in the articles in the November-December issue of The Good News, now available online or arriving in your mailbox soon, when we reject or redefine this pattern, we reap the tragic consequences. Never let yourself be lulled into thinking that marriage doesn’t matter!

Warm regards,

Scott Ashley—Managing editor, The Good News

November 7, 2012 Posted by | Good News Magazine, Media and Communications | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Brethren in New York City and Hurricane Sandy

November 1, 2012

Dear Ministers and Brethren,

The times of prophecy are very much upon us. America has just endured another heavy blow from super-storm Sandy. Although it affected many areas in the northeastern part of the country, the heaviest weight of destruction was in the New York City area where we have an energetic congregation of over 80 brethren.

They certainly need our prayers as this update from Howard Davis, our pastor in the area, attests. You can also read additional updates from New York City and the other storm related areas in the Northeast on the Church’s webpage at: http://www.ucg.org/blog/praying-those-path-hurricane-sandy.

During these severe emergencies we are all reminded to diligently keep our eyes on our Savior Jesus Christ and pray fervently to our loving Father in heaven. Please especially remember our New York City brethren in your prayers.

With love in Christ’s service,

Dennis Luker, president

P.S. Please share with the membership as you are able.

UPDATE ON BRETHREN IN NEW YORK CITY AFTER SUPER-STORM SANDY

[Report from Howard Davis, UCG Pastor for New York City:]

As the wall of water in the perfectly designed super-storm Sandy smashed all records in New York City’s 387 year history, lower Manhattan and the financial district called, “Downtown,” was inundated in a flood 2.5 feet higher than the flood of 1827. All the United Church of God brethren were individually protected either by angels or wisdom or God’s personal intervention from the harm and devastation found throughout the megalopolis. Most are still unable to get to their jobs until the flooded subways, severe water damage, and blown power transformers are restored.

Parts of the Long Island’s coastline communities have devastation scenes like New Orleans had after hurricane Katrina in 2005.

We all prayed and now have many examples of God’s hand in keeping the effects of the devastation away from members and their property. Living in a higher elevation area which received severe wind damage at the height of the storm Monday, a wife said to her husband “that tree is coming down on the house.” This relatively new family (the wife was baptized just before the Feast) who live in Queens saw every large tree on their block blown down on neighbors’ houses. Thinking of God’s promise, her husband said the tree won’t fall on them. Moments later, it did fall, hitting not their house, but unfortunately a neighbor’s house. Another member who works for the New York City Sanitation department was the last house in his Queens neighborhood to have power before the sea of urban darkness.

Up to 7 million people typically use the subway system and Long Island railroads daily. The 1.8 million people living on Manhattan are augmented with millions of others to make up the Manhattan workforce of 4 million. Functionally, the city remains shut down as of Thursday. New York City has 47 million visitors per year, by far the most in the US and the impact on tourism, at least for a while, will have negative impacts on this great industry, as well as on many aspects of the retail and financial sectors.

All 80 members are physically fine, but everyone’s lives have been disrupted. The members’ school-age children in the NYC public school system and members working as teachers and school bus drivers for the system’s 1,000,000 students have the week off—as well as those attending area universities.  Three graduate university students are typical—one in Art History at Hunter College near the Metropolitan Museum can’t get back to the Upper East Side on Manhattan from her stay with brethren in Brooklyn. Another student studying cellular chemistry has her classes cancelled and her work in a lower Manhattan retailer shuttered. Yet another in a masters program in physics at Long Island’s North Shore New York University at Stonybrook has her life disrupted.  At Stonybrook, our student prayed that her roommates would not freak out as the wind sounded like freight trains on top of a superhighway of traffic blowing a tree down on her roommate’s car.

All subways, and the major freeway systems were shut down, and while the freeways are now open, very few trains are coming online. Power, phone service, television and Internet services have been disrupted for many, making the brethren’s wired and wireless connections complicated. Elements of the grid go on and off in a crazy irrational pattern since the storm left the city.

Knowing there would be a disaster on the South Coast of Long Island where I live in Bay Shore, and in order to have phone, Internet, and other abilities to communicate with brethren and the outside world, I left my home Sunday at noon, a day ahead of the disaster, thinking the roads out of Long Island would be jammed with people also trying to get out. I was shocked to find the opposite.

It was weird, like one of the disaster movies of mindless millions fleeing the wrath to come but heading the wrong way, in this case to go and stay on Long Island which I was fleeing. Cars bumper to bumper streamed out of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens joining the jammed traffic. While there was nearly no traffic in my lanes toward the city and up to Connecticut and safety. It seemed like a “lemming syndrome” leading to certain tragedy or at least inconvenience of unimagined dimensions.

As it turns out, many people did not obey civic leaders’ orders to leave dangerous coastal areas and were quite foolish to not evacuate. Then many more thought they were safe in Long Island. So it was not surprising that many were headed to severe problems while I was heading north to get far away from Long Island’s fragile utility infrastructure. Everybody staying faced the highest probability that they will be without power for at least a week or many weeks—no refrigeration, no food in grocery stores, no gasoline in stations.

And as it turned out, Long Island’s power grid was devastated with trees knocked over exposed power lines everywhere blowing out transformers. Two of the three million Long Islanders in Nassau and Suffolk counties are still without power, and some estimates say it will be weeks before many people have power. A member called to inform me that my house is safe, but without power, and he has learned that it take 10 days or longer to repair the electric system in that neighborhood. National Guardsmen are now stationed at gas stations near where I live to maintain order as lines of over 100 cars long wait to get fuel.

Members had a variety of storm experiences.  Some members above Manhattan’s 155th Street felt very little rain or wind, no power disruptions, and even engaged in pleasant bicycle riding to vantage points where they could view the Hudson River and hurricane level winds ravage lower Manhattan. Still there is no power below 34th Street where the Empire State Building is located.  One member employed at the huge hospital Beth Israel complex on 14th Street can’t work because there is no power. There is no subway service yet anyway which would normally take her 45 minutes to travel from her Long Island home—a trip that would take four hours each way on the overwhelmingly crowded bus system.

Lower Manhattan and Wall Street employs members whose lives are chaotic for the foreseeable future. The area has hundreds of thousands of people now beginning to really suffer, just a mile or two away from the New York Stock Exchange.

The world’s financial district is functionally reduced for a time to Third World levels of inconveniences and lack of services. These people are climbing 10, 20, 30 stories in high rises without heat, enduring 40 degree temperatures at night and unable to flush toilets due to a low or non-functioning water and sewer systems. Restaurants are boarded up, and few or no local neighborhood stores open even in some of the trendiest areas of the lower east and west sides. Block after block of trendy affluent young people in their hip twenties are stranded, and fleeing to the middle class homes out of the city, or are simply stuck. Huge lavish and very exclusive buildings are hemmed in and everything is shuttered, some without backup generators and no functional life-flow happening. Just blocks away is the unfinished, 1776 foot-high Freedom Tower due for completion sometime next year, God willing!

Huge swathes of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens next to the Atlantic Ocean are black at night—as if there were none of the millions of people burning candles and trying to stay warm in their homes. A few brethren are without power, but can use their cars to charge their cell phones. One 60 year old member on dialysis had to have special emergency vehicles take him to and from the hospital with only partial treatments because some facilities are not operating and the demand is huge. He and his married children and grandchildren are happy to be in upper Manhattan apartments and the nearby Bronx with food and heat at night even though they are cramped in quarters most of us under normal conditions  would find acceptable. Another member who is an RN and professor of Nursing in Brooklyn’s VA hospital cannot work because the hospital is flooded. The huge Bellevue Hospital in Lower Manhattan was emptied yesterday when it was considered too medically dangerous to continue without power and with millions of gallons of water in the basement.

Please pray for our brethren in New York City and the Northeast generally. There is much more to come, and as the brethren here know from Bible prophecy, we are all moving into times that will try men’s (and women’s) souls. The brethren are fine, but appreciate being a part of a very vibrant, praying United Church of God. We will keep you updated.

Howard Davis

November 1, 2012 Posted by | Ministerial Services, President's Office | , , , , | 9 Comments

   

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