For the Feast of Trumpets, Bev and I were privileged to visit the Spokane, Washington, congregation and meet with our brethren. We have known so many over the years. The congregation was welcoming and vibrant. On the Sabbath, we attended the Kennewick, Washington, congregation which was equally lively.
In valuing and caring for our congregations, the apostle Paul thanked God for the precious brethren. He wrote about the Philippians: “Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now. And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns” (Philippians 1:3-6 Philippians 1:3-6 3 I thank my God on every remembrance of you,
4 Always in every prayer of my for you all making request with joy,
5 For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;
6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
American King James Version×, New Living Translation).
While in Spokane, we also attended the wedding of my niece and visited with Ukrainian Sabbath-keepers who we know well in our working with them in western Ukraine.
We are readying ourselves for travel to the Feast of Tabernacles. The Day of Atonement is two days hence.
Preaching the Gospel at the Feast of Tabernacles
“If someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it” (1 Peter 3:15 1 Peter 3:15But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
American King James Version×, NLT). While we may face times throughout the year where we are asked for “a reason for the hope within us,” the Feast of Tabernacles often represents a great opportunity to individually and collectively be a light unto the world (Matthew 5:14-16 Matthew 5:14-16 14 You are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it gives light to all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
American King James Version×). The apostle Peter encouraged us to always be prepared and ready to explain this hope within us. Our acts of kindness, family togetherness and rejoicing at the Feast—particularly in vacation spots that are typically in their off-season—are opportunities to advance the gospel in a very personal way.
To help make the most of this opportunity, the United Church of God prepares and distributes a national media release about the Feast, using appropriate language for a potential non-church audience. We use an outside resource, iREACH/PRNewswire, to distribute this media information, together with some limited distribution to news outlets in festival areas. This helps ensure that we’re speaking the same thing and have a unified message. You may find it helpful in talking to people outside the Church about our beliefs.
The release has already been picked up on a number of online news sites and journals (such as Yahoo) and various social media outlets, which add to the church’s online presence, as it includes a number of direct internet links to key church literature about the Feast. We expect this to increase in the days ahead.
The release is available online at https://www.ucg.org/members/news/christian-focus-of-ancient-biblical-festivals-to-be-emphasized-united-church-of-god .