Resources for the members of the United Church of God

Update from Ministerial and Member Services: September 10, 2020

You are here

Update from Ministerial and Member Services

September 10, 2020

God’s Annual Fall Holy Days

The upcoming Feast of Trumpets pictures the return of Jesus Christ to this earth and the resurrection to life of the saints of God, at the sound of the last trumpet. We are now in a period of time that allows preparation for those called now to become firstfruits. We have been given God’s Holy Spirit to guide us, to inspire us, and to change us into true disciples of Jesus Christ. Right now is a time to draw closer to the very stature of Christ (Ephesians 4:13 Ephesians 4:13Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:
American King James Version×
) and to become more like Him and more like our Father in heaven. We are continually being tested and are given many opportunities to choose wisely as we draw ever closer to the return of our Savior.

Now is a time to yield to God’s Holy Spirit, to humble ourselves and to anticipate the return of Jesus Christ as King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Revelation 17:14 Revelation 17:14These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
American King James Version×
). It is a tremendous blessing to be called of God now and to be given understanding of His glorious plan of salvation for all humankind, pictured in the observance of God’s annual Holy Days. The Feast of Trumpets pictures Christ’s return to the earth to establish God’s Kingdom and government at the onset of the peaceful millennial reign of Jesus Christ, pictured by the observance of the seven-day Feast of Tabernacles. The Eighth Day festival pictures the Great White Throne Judgment period and an amazing, eternal future ahead of us!

The Day of Atonement pictures the binding of Satan and Christ’s atonement for our sins. It is a day that we are to be afflicted through fasting, realizing our need to humble ourselves and draw near to God in repentance and faith.

God commands us to assemble on these days and this command is not something to take lightly (Hebrews 10:25 Hebrews 10:25Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as you see the day approaching.
American King James Version×
). We are hopeful that as many Church areas as possible will be able to provide at least one service for our members to physically assemble together on the Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement. Of course we will have webcast services, as well, for those who need them.

Some of our churches on the west coast of the United States are just now getting back to physical services this Sabbath for the first time since March. I know they are very excited to be back before the Feast of Trumpets!

Let us all rejoice in keeping these annual Holy Days, looking to their ultimate fulfillment and the glorious future God has in store for all of us!

Recent Ordination

Dan and Linda Baker

On September 5, 2020, Dan Baker was ordained into the ministry. He and his wife, Linda, serve the Mansfield, Ohio, congregation.

Recommended Sermons

A few weeks ago, I asked for your recommendations of sermons you personally found inspiring, motivating, instructional and helpful. Several of you responded. Please continue to send me suggestions in the future, and from time to time I will share your recommendations.

One sermon that was recommended, I believe, will especially help us as we approach these fall Holy Days, and especially the Day of Atonement. It was given during the 2019 Passover season by Gary Petty, titled, “Have a Foot-Washing Attitude”: https://www.ucg.org/sermons/have-a-foot-washing-attitude

Humility is one of the most important characteristics God would have us develop. The Passover season and Day of Atonement have many parallels. Please consider your attitude this Holy Day season. Does your attitude—in all things—reflect true humility? If it does, I believe you will have a truly wonderful Holy Day season! God takes special notice and blesses the humble, the contrite, those who tremble at His word (Isaiah 66:2 Isaiah 66:2For all those things has my hand made, and all those things have been, said the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembles at my word.
American King James Version×
). We go up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles to learn to fear God properly (Deuteronomy 14:23 Deuteronomy 14:23And you shall eat before the LORD your God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of your corn, of your wine, and of your oil, and the firstborn of your herds and of your flocks; that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always.
American King James Version×
). God is gracious, loving and quick to forgive those with a humble, contrite, repentant attitude and approach.

One of our members sent this note to me with a recommendation: “Mr. Brian Shaw has three sermons that are connected to leadership and submission. Each sermon is good but the last of that series is very thought provoking.” I believe you will find this sermon particularly helpful, as well: https://www.ucg.org/sermons/the-nature-of-godly-submission-part-2

Another member recommended this sermon by Rick Shabi that you should find comforting during these stressful times: https://www.ucg.org/sermons/in-times-of-uncertainty-and-change

Wishing you all a very spiritual, inspiring and peaceful Sabbath!