Member Letter From Dennis Luker
July 18, 2010
Thank you for your faithfulness to God and your support of His work! Your fervent prayers, tithes and offerings, and the other works of service are producing good fruit. Your love and giving of yourselves, as living sacrifices, in service to others, is making a positive difference in the lives of millions of people.
Here is some encouraging news from our Media and Communications Services department:
The first weekend on WGN America was successful. Beyond Today had a very good beginning on WGN America for our premier telecast on Sunday, July 11. We received 338 phone calls for the day from Gary Petty’s program, “Getting Control of Your Money.”
Some of these responses were from Canada, some were from our other five test TV stations, and some were from cable-access programming. After eliminating those from the count, we figure 268 of them were directly from WGN America in the United States. This does not include Web responses, which would likely at least equal that quantity.
As a reminder, we are beginning our contract on WGN America in the midst of summer when television viewing is normally lower across the board. As autumn draws near and people begin spending less time outdoors and on vacation, TV viewing generally increases. As this occurs and as the viewing audience becomes more familiar with Beyond Today and begins to watch regularly, response rates should rise.
Also, our Web traffic doubled compared to past airing days. On average we have between 400 to 700 Web visitors each Sunday. This time we had almost 1,400 Web visitors. The stats showed for the day 64 percent of the Web visitors were first-time beyondtoday.tv visitors. The top city locations that visited the Web site that day were from New York, Washington, Winnipeg, Atlanta, Nashville, Phoenix, Houston and Toronto. Our Canadian office is reporting an upswing in their responses, due to WGN America airing across Canada as well.
So, overall we had a great start on WGN America, and we thank God for this door He has opened. It reminds me of what Jesus Christ said in Revelation 3:8: “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.” We intend to keep walking through the doors that Christ opens to us to preach the truth of God.
In addition, our Canadian office has reported: “There is some exciting news to share. At least two new records were set with the responses from this week’s Beyond Today television program. The program title was ‘Getting Control of Your Money.’ We set a new record for overall responses, 156—surpassing the previous record of 149 responses set in October 2008. We also set a new record for the number of Good News subscription requests from the Beyond Today Web site—23. This eclipses the previous record of 18 set in April 2007.”
And here is more good news from Media and Communication Services:
In July the United Church of God passed another major milestone when we printed our 7 millionth English-language booklet! To put this number in perspective, if all 7 million booklets (at our current size) were laid end to end, they would stretch more than 900 miles. If put into a single stack, it would reach almost 45 miles high. It would weigh more than 500 tons—500 tons of truth!
In most years we have printed or reprinted about 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. Our booklets play a crucial role in bringing people to greater understanding of the Bible and God’s plan and purpose for them.
Brethren, it is your generosity, prayers and support that are helping make this possible. Of course, we all know that the real credit goes to God the Father and to His Son, Jesus Christ, who lives and works in us as we yield our lives to Him. Jesus Christ was both human and divine, fully man and fully God. He was the uniquely born Son of God who preexisted as the Word with God (John 1:1-2).
As we move forward, doing the work of God, Satan is trying his best to divide us and prevent us from accomplishing that work. I can’t predict the future, but I can tell you this with absolute confidence and faith: Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church, and He will bring good out of all that is going on in the Church. He is fully aware of everything happening and what everyone is saying and doing. In fact, He is using our present distress to test our hearts and minds and find out what is deep inside each of us.
God reveals through David that He is always observing and testing us: “The Lord is in His holy temple, the Lord’s throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men. The Lord tests the righteous, but the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates” (Psalm 11:4-5).
God also hates those who do “violence” to the brethren by spreading lies and rumors. “These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, a lying tongue…a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren” (Proverbs 6:16-19). He also says, “I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings” (Jeremiah 17:10).
I would fear to be in the shoes of those who sow discord among brethren and are causing division among God’s people. God hates those sins. He will reveal, in His time and way, those who are the perpetrators of all this confusion and evil.
But, let me finish this letter to you on a very positive note. We all know, without a doubt, that this is God’s Church and that Jesus Christ is the Living Head and has authority over all things to the Church (Ephesians 1:22; Colossians 1:18). We can have total confidence in Jesus Christ to lead us through our present trials and bring good out of it all.
We all need to humble ourselves, repent of our own sins and mistakes and seek God’s forgiveness, as we forgive others. May God help us all to love Him above all else and to love each other more than we love ourselves.
Sincerely, in Christ’s service,
Dennis Luker, President
PS: I have received many e-mail messages and letters and apologize for not being able to respond to them all. Thank you for your understanding. LeeAnn and I deeply appreciate your concern and love and prayers. You are all also in our prayers daily.