United Church of God

Home Office Weekly Update: April 27, 2023

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Home Office Weekly Update

April 27, 2023

From the Home Office . . .

Greetings brethren!

This has been another busy week with much happening in God’s work. With the upcoming coronation ceremony of King Charles III, we began running TV ads in the United States for the new five-episode Beyond Today TV series, “Joseph’s Birthright.” It focuses on Bible prophecies of modern-day Israel and the significance of the throne in England.

To support and draw attention to this timely series, 30-second television ads have been secured in 18 mid-west cities plus on The WORD Network. You can watch this TV ad and the complete Beyond Today series by clicking on the links on the UCG.org home page or going to ucg.org/tv.

As we move into the month of May, the General Conference of Elders’ annual meeting will be held in Cincinnati with ministers and their wives arriving from locations around the world—as well as connecting via the Web. Immediately following the meeting, the Council of Elders will meet for three days.

Upcoming Feasts

With springtime comes the end of the school year and Ambassador Bible College is winding to a close with graduation just a little over two weeks away on Sunday, May 14. And now we are eagerly looking forward to the Feast of Pentecost. We are now on Day 19, as we “count fifty” toward the Holy Day, to be observed on May 28.

Earlier this week the annual Feast Coordinators meeting was held online, with more than 30 participants. This coincided with registration for the Feast of Tabernacles, which began April 23. If you haven’t already registered and know where you plan to attend the Feast this year, please do so at feast.ucg.org.

For many, the Feast of Tabernacles is the “highlight” of God’s Holy Day plan. This is appropriate since it pictures the millennial reign of Christ and because creation itself looks forward to that time. The return of Jesus Christ and the establishing of His Kingdom on earth will bring lasting and true peace, harmony, love, joy and abundance to all peoples—all over the world. What a wonderful time to anticipate! The Feast is a time of rejoicing.

That is such a contrast as we see this world trending more and more toward evil, oppression, tribulation and woe. Mankind’s reign will at last be over and Christ will usher in the time of refreshing and restoration of all things (Acts 3:19-21).

Preparation for the feasts: physically and spiritually

As the Church makes plans to host 52 Feast of Tabernacles sites around the world, Church members prepare for the Feast throughout the year and save their festival tithe in order to go to one of the places chosen under God’s inspiration to observe the Feast (Deuteronomy 14). Saving our tithe and making the preparations to go are key physical elements to observe the Feast properly. More importantly, it emphasizes our spiritual preparation for the return of Jesus Christ which we, as true Christians, must exhibit in our everyday lives.

It’s not unlike our recent physical preparation we made for the Days of Unleavened Bread. Removing leaven from our homes and eating unleavened bread every day reminded us of the great lessons of repenting and removing sin from our lives and replacing it by “eating (daily) the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” Proper observance of the Days of Unleavened Bread requires both physical and spiritual elements.

So does proper, biblically based observance of the Feast of Tabernacles. We physically prepare, we physically go, we physically stay for the seven days of the Feast and the Eighth day—all at the place God chooses. We dwell in temporary dwellings as we come out of the world and picture the time when we will all be with Jesus Christ for eternity.

As we register for the Feast and make our housing and transportation plans, please keep in mind the Feast of Tabernacles begins at sunset on the 15th day of the seventh month of God’s calendar. That day is sunset on Friday, Sept. 29, this year.

Be found ready

The Feast begins that night, so proper observance of the Feast means that you are at the location of the Feast, checked in to your hotel, and ready for the first holy convocation of the Feast that begins that Friday night in most locations around the world. It is a time of rejoicing and praise as we gather together as His people—His called-out ones—from the world, symbolically picturing that we are prepared and ready for the return of Jesus Christ and His reign.

Christ warns us to be ready (Matthew 24:44) and not to be caught sleeping or late for His coming. The consequences of not being ready are poignantly illustrated by Christ in Matthew 25. Being ready and attending that very first holy convocation on opening night emphasizes the importance of being ready when Christ returns.

It is incumbent on all of us as we emerge from the Days of Unleavened Bread and look forward to the Feast of Pentecost (Firstfruits) and the Feast of Tabernacles season (including Trumpets and Atonement) that we carefully and diligently apply God’s way of life and truth in our lives. Our calling is to come out of this world, becoming more and more like Him. By the Holy Spirit our great God has given us the power to overcome, so let’s go forward in faith, led by His Spirit (Romans 8:14).

Have a productive day of preparation and meaningful and uplifting Sabbath day. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you, all over the world.

In Christ’s service,
Rick Shabi

The Path to Pentecost

We are just five weeks from observing The Day of Pentecost. To help you in your preparation for this important Holy Day, please join us in enhancing your study and preparation through our Beyond Today Daily video series: “The Path to Pentecost” presented by Darris McNeely.

This seven-part series of BT Dailies contains 10-minute videos to help you prepare:

  • Encounter in the Garden (9 min.)
  • The Road to Emmaus (11 min.)
  • Dealing with Doubt and Unbelief (8 min.)
  • In Galilee, By the Sea (10 min.)
  • The Great Commission (8 min.)
  • You Shall Receive Power (10 min.)
  • Out, Into the Streets! (12 min.)

Individual episodes are being featured on the UCG.org home page, or you can watch them all at: ucg.org/beyond-today/beyond-today-daily/the-path-to-pentecost.

—Peter Eddington, Operation Manager, Media and Communications Services

Ambassador Bible College Graduation Webcast

The Ambassador Bible College Class of 2023 is very excited for the upcoming Commencement Exercises on Sunday, May 14, at 11 a.m. While we are unfortunately at capacity in the hall, we will be webcasting the ceremony at this link: abc.ucg.org/webcast/graduation-2023.

We hope that you will consider joining us as we celebrate the students’ achievements, and we thank you for all of the support that you have given our students this year!