April 25, 2013
Ambassador Bible Center and Education
Gary Antion, ABC Coordinator and Education Coordinator, gives an overview of the past 14 years at ABC, and outlines some of the other major education initiatives of the Church.
As earlier announced, the plan is for various managers and employees of the United Church of God to give a report about their area of responsibility that may be of particular interest to our congregations. Pastors are asked to make the video links available to our membership, and most videos will be suitable to play in the sermonette timeslot at Sabbath services.
Focus on God’s Work has it’s own menu selection on the member’s website under the “resources” tab at members.ucg.org/content/focus-gods-work. This is where a new video will be posted each month.
Peter Eddington—Media and Communications Services
March 14, 2013
Dear Members of the United Church of God,
This letter is to inform you that United Church of God president, Dennis Luker, died today, March 14. He spent his last physical days residing in his hometown of Seattle, Washington, surrounded by his loving wife, LeeAnn, and their immediate family.
Thank you for your prayers and fasting during this challenging time for them, and for God’s blessings on this transitional period for the United Church of God. Our Heavenly Father’s will for Denny has been made known at this time—even though it is not news that we humanly desire. At the same time, I am reminded of his constant encouragement to reflect on the promising words of Romans 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
Mr. Luker knew “that my Redeemer lives” (Job 19:25) and now awaits the trumpet call with so many other faithful saints down through the ages (1Thessalonians 4:13-18). I know that LeeAnn would ask us all to continue to pray for others who are challenged with spiritual, emotional and health issues—and that God will grant His peace to them (Philippians 4:6-7).
Dennis and LeeAnn, as a pastoral couple, have given 50 years of their lives in service to others. And yes, they truly came as a “couple.” They are loved far and wide beyond our own Church sphere, throughout the entire Church of God community. He brought an enthusiasm for speaking of the always-present love of God and the necessity of having Jesus Christ as the center of our lives.
Denny’s service to the United Church of God had a dynamic impact not just recently, but also in our formative years. He served on the original Advisory Council of Elders in 1995. Since then he has served as a member of the Council of Elders, as a church pastor, as a regional pastor, been part of the Ministerial Services team and of recent years, our Church president.
Please remember LeeAnn, the children, the grandchildren, the great-grandchildren and all their family members—in our prayers that God will grant them comfort in this most challenging of life’s chapters. More details will be forthcoming regarding pending memorial services.
In my role as chairman during this transitional time, I have maintained frequent contact with the Council and the home office operation managers to ensure stability. Now, in accordance with our governing documents (Bylaw 9.5, Vacancies in Offices), the chairman of the Council of Elders becomes the acting president of the United Church of God, an International Association, until a new president is selected by the Council and assumes office.
I look forward to working with the Council of Elders in the presidential nomination process currently underway. As Council members, we appreciate your prayers for God’s guidance for all in the weeks to come.
May the God of peace and comfort be with all of you at this time,
Robin Webber—Chairman and Acting President
January 31, 2013
Focus on God’s Work
The home office has begun a new monthly information video for the United Church of God membership titled: Focus on God’s Work. Dennis Luker, president, asked Victor Kubik to present the inaugural video at the weekly staff meeting on Monday morning.
The plan is for various managers and employees to give a report about their area of responsibility that may be of particular interest to our congregations. Pastors are asked to make the video links available to our membership, and most videos will be suitable to play in the sermonette timeslot at Sabbath services.
Focus on God’s Work has it’s own menu selection on the member’s website under the “resources” tab at members.ucg.org/content/focus-gods-work. This is where a new video will be posted each month, and we’ll also endeavor to announce them here at Inside United: Realtime.
Victor Kubik, the first presenter in this new series, gives an inspiring report about the United Church of God in south-central and southern Africa. Below is the video from this past Monday morning:
Please feel free to download this and future presentations to get a monthly update on the work being done by various departments in the Church to preach the gospel and prepare a people.
Peter Eddington—Media and Communications Services
March 29, 2012
President Dennis Luker and his wife, LeeAnn, made a visit to see the United Church of God brethren in Trinidad and Tobago during the weekend of March 24 through 25.
View this five-minute video update by Mr. Luker about this very encouraging trip. See photos of some of the brethren and learn about an ordination that took place while there.
From time-to-time we plan to provide these short video updates about visits with our brethren in various areas.
Peter Eddington—Media and Communications Services.
January 18, 2012
As of this writing, there are just under 2,300 guests registered on our website at www.kogbibleseminars.org. Plus, a number of guests have contacted our pastors directly to sign up.
We have 198 congregations listed to give seminars, which is about 25 more than for the first round. Also, the registration numbers are higher than last time. You can view the full congregation listing at www.ucg.org/live-events/all. In addition to the United States, seminars are also being held in Australia (11 locations), Canada (14 locations), Hong Kong, Ireland, Isle of Man, Kenya (11 locations), New Zealand, Philippines (4 locations) and United Kingdom.
The cities currently with the highest registration numbers are:
- New York, NY (87)
- Charlotte, NC (57)
- London, England (51)
- Dallas, TX (48)
- Manila, Philippines (44)
- Chicago, IL (43)
- Columbia, SC (39)
- Jacksonville, FL (37)
- Cincinnati, OH (36)
- Winnipeg, Canada (36)
- Memphis, TN (36)
- Ft. Lauderdale, FL (32)
The San Antonio, Texas, congregation already had their seminar last Sabbath, with three dozen new people attending. This is very encouraging.
Here at the home office we are praying diligently for the successful second round of this important endeavor.
Peter Eddington—Media and Communications Services
January 3, 2012
Here at the home office we are still elated from the exciting experiences of the recent Winter Family Weekend and the fact that our Beyond Today television program just set a new record out of the 24 programs aired since July 10, 2011. It attracted 1,198 responses. It is interesting that during the time many of our brethren get together to fellowship and give their children and families a respite from the year-end holiday furor, our television program sets a record while profiling the pagan origins of the Christmas season. It is certainly encouraging to be a part of God’s Church and work!
The 15th consecutive Winter Family Weekend was held for the first time this year at the Great Wolf Lodge near Cincinnati. The four-day event represented a great success with 1,100 members in a standing-room-only Sabbath service and 712 attending the Friday night Bible study. To accommodate the large attendance, the staff at the Great Wolf Lodge pulled in every available seat they could find in the conference center.
The extensive Great Wolf Lodge water park and traditional church athletic activities were a major hit with families, and many people attended the Bible and Christian living seminars held each day for both teens and adults. These seminars, a number of which were also standing-room-only, ranged from an open question and answer session with four members of the Council of Elders, including Melvin Rhodes, chairman of the Council, to an in-depth look at the meaning of Galatians 2 and 3. Members also enjoyed taking part in the live production of three new Beyond Today television programs featuring each of our presenters, and a large group relished a formal tour of the church’s home office about 20 miles away. Needless to say, plans are already underway for a return to Great Wolf Lodge for our Winter Family Weekend in 2012.
Speaking of 2012 and the new secular year before us, light snow dusted the region around the home office as the Winter Family Weekend ended, reminding us that we must gird ourselves to persevere through the winter months (in the northern hemisphere) between the festival seasons, and even now begin to think about and prepare ourselves spiritually for the Passover. It is through this commitment to constant improvement that we progress forward in our spiritual lives.
Of course, 2012 has been tagged as the year when the now-extinct Mayan civilization supposedly “predicted” a global apocalypse, with a whole host of purported cataclysms to accompany it. We in the Church know that a specific sequence of events and prophetic fulfillments must occur before the final catastrophes engulf this planet, and even then we are warned that “false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible” (Matthew 24:24 New International Version).
Brethren, we are God’s “elect” as we are grounded in the faith, and Jesus Himself tells us that as we collectively hear the rumblings of prophecy fulfilled drawing closer, we are to “see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come” (Matthew 24:6 NIV).
Rather than become fearful and anxious about whether we shall escape some future cataclysm, we are to direct our energies into overcoming—seeking to be transformed by God’s Holy Spirit (Romans 12:1-2). We are told by Jesus, the living Head of the Church, that we are to be “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). This light must “so shine”—it must be seen—“before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (verse 16). That applies to every one of us.
As we think about this and about beginning to prepare for the Passover, I would like to remind you of what Jesus said later in His famous Olivet Prophecy. Continuing what He began in the 24th chapter of Matthew, Jesus used a parable as a teaching tool in the 25th chapter regarding 10 virgins. Christ noted that “while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept” (Matthew 25:5, emphasis added). Half of the 10 virgins had been wise in securing oil—a spiritual metaphor for God’s Holy Spirit—while the others were not. Half were prepared, even when the others neglected to do what was right and necessary. Christ’s point? Emphasizing what He had said earlier in Matthew 24:44, He declared, “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming” (Matthew 25:13).
Jesus used the action verb “watch” to underscore our need to be alert and fully engaged in God’s plan. It includes the need to discern the times we live in, but it also encourages us to take a look at our own spiritual condition. This word watch echoes the command given to us by Paul in preparing ourselves spiritually before the Passover, where we are to examine ourselves (1 Corinthians 11:28). The parable of the 10 virgins reveals how easy it is for us to know the right thing, but then to fall short and not do it. We are instructed by James, the human brother of Christ: “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22, NIV, emphasis added).
While we have the encouraging knowledge that the world will not end in 2012, we also have this sobering message: “Because lawlessness will abound, the love of many shall wax cold” (Matthew 24:12). This is worth giving some thought to as Christ proclaimed that a major identifying mark of a Christian would be the fact that others could openly see the godly love that Christians have for one another (John 13:35). Is this spiritual love apparent in the observable light that is supposed to shine forth from us? In addition to those in the Church, Jesus told us that we are to “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you” (Luke 6:27).
These are not easy things to do, but they give us a framework to begin preparing for the upcoming Passover in about three months. Let us renew our commitment to seek God with fresh intensity, understanding that it is not by our human power that we overcome, but literally it is “God who works in you” (Philippians 2:13). Through the mighty power of God we can overcome our human nature and be changed day by day in our hearts and minds, filled eventually to the full with God’s transforming Holy Spirit!
Thank you for remaining faithful to God and for helping in the work of His Church. Your love, prayers, service and financial support are sincerely and deeply appreciated!
In Christ’s service,
PS—As the second round of the Kingdom of God Bible Seminars will be coming up shortly, please remember to pray for their continued success in proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
December 23, 2011
The two webcasts are at the following times:
- Friday night Bible study, December 23 — 7:30 p.m. EST — presented by Matthew Fenchel.
- Sabbath service, December 24 — 2:30 p.m. EST — presented by Greg Thomas.
You may join this live, free webcast at members.ucg.org/content/sabbath-webcast.
Peter Eddington—Media and Communications Services
December 20, 2011
The Cincinnati East, Ohio, congregation of the United Church of God is continuing it’s bi-weekly Bible study this Wednesday evening, December 21. The study begins at 7:30 p.m. EST and is available live via webcast.
The series on the Pastoral Epistles continues with 2 Timothy chapters 2 and 3. Hear what it means to be a good soldier of Jesus Christ, and understand more about the perilous times that will come in the “last days.”
Presenters will be Gary Antion and Peter Eddington. Plan to attend in person, or you can listen online with hundreds of brethren from around the world. 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
December 16, 2011
Start planning which seminars you’d like to attend, your Sabbath day schedule, the sporting events you’ll support, and even attend a live taping of Beyond Today!
Gary Antion—Event Coordinator