From Clyde Kilough: Lots of things are happening in the Media area. Here are two you’ll want to be aware of.
New e-magazine. If you saw the In Accord posted Oct. 24, you heard about the plans for a December launch of our new online e-magazine.
One of the major goals of this new publication is to provide an engagement tool for more direct interaction with people who visit the Life, Hope & Truth website. The number of visitors is steadily rising; but when they come to us, it is important to have ways to connect with them on a more personal basis. One example of a tool to reach out to them and provide something more than what they get just on the website is the weekly LHT newsletter, which comes out every Friday to email subscribers. Such email publications helps us build two-way communication, rather than just one-way. Having a magazine that comes to subscribers on a regular basis will be an even better vehicle.
So, we have been working hard to prepare for a mid-December publication date of the inaugural January-February 2014 issue. We will begin with six issues a year and see what develops over time.
Our editorial goal, of course, is to preach the gospel of the coming Kingdom of God. Mark 1:14-15 offers the best model I know of for an outline of the tone and content of our message: “Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.’”
Of these four broad areas upon which He built His message, the first two elements are based on giving knowledge:
• “The time is fulfilled”—understand prophecies and the times in which we live.
• “The kingdom of God is at hand”—focus on the future and explaining God’s plan.
The last two elements are also based on giving knowledge, but they also include calls to action:
• “Repent”—change your life!
• “Believe in the gospel”—challenge hearers to believe and live the truth of the gospel.
We will always aim for a balance of content to cover those areas. In each issue we will have regular features, including two editorials, a regular news feature that analyzes world trends and a regular series titled “Christ Versus Christianity” (which takes commonly held religious beliefs and shows how Christ taught something entirely different).
Other articles in the first issue include:
• Two focusing on one aspect of the coming Kingdom of God: one titled “Neither Shall They Learn War Anymore”; and the other, “World Peace: How It Will Come.”
• “Why Am I Suffering?”
• “Seven Keys to Better Relationships.”
• “Change Your Life in 2014.”
• “Bible Software: Tools to Maximize Your Study.”
• “You Can’t Handle the Truth!”
We want it to be meaty, relevant, practical, encouraging and challenging—and we wanted to capture that sense in the title of the magazine.
One thing we have found over the years is that naming things—whether it’s an educational institution, a website or even the name of our organization—is challenging. Many of you have gone through the same experience just trying to come up with a name for your baby!
Naming a magazine is a bit more complicated though, because (unlike when you’re naming a baby) you have to factor in other issues such as: Is the name available, or has it already been claimed by someone else on the Internet? How can you capture, in only one to three words, what you want your magazine to represent?
We also wanted it to have a basis in biblical principle. So we went through a long process of name selection here, brainstorming and analyzing literally hundreds of ideas.
Of course, the simple option would have been to just call it Life, Hope and Truth magazine; and there were considerable advantages to that option. But what can work well in one format doesn’t in another. While it’s great as a web name, it’s not easy to lay it out well on a magazine cover, and it’s especially complicated when you consider how it translates into other languages. In Spanish and French it’s even longer, and to make it work well on the covers of those versions was going to present some problems.
There was another option, though: a single word that appears in a number of scriptures and basically captures what is required to understand and apply the Word of God.
In 1 Kings 3:9 Solomon asked, “Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil.” Proverbs 28:7 says, “Whoever keeps the law is a discerning son.”
Prophetically, a time is coming, described in Ezekiel 44:23, when “they shall teach My people the difference between the holy and the unholy, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.” Malachi 3:18 also talks of the time when “you shall again discern between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.”
Jesus said to the multitudes in Luke 12:54-56, “Whenever you see a cloud rising out of the west, immediately you say, ‘A shower is coming’; and so it is. And when you see the south wind blow, you say, ‘There will be hot weather’; and there is. Hypocrites! You can discern the face of the sky and of the earth, but how is it you do not discern this time?”
Part of our job is to help people discern the signs of the times and discern between good and evil. For those with whom God is working, if their minds are being opened, what is happening? Paul described it this way: “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually dis¬cerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14).
Discernment is really at the heart of the matter—scripturally, one has to discern between good and evil, the signs of the times, the law of God—and that requires spiritual thought. So, as we kept looking at that word popping out in those verses, it grew on us and we began to think it would actually be a great name for the magazine title: DISCERN: A Magazine of Life, Hope & Truth.
Here is a photo of the first cover, showing a little child in a military uniform, looking out of the darkness of war toward the light and highlighting the article “Neither Shall They Learn War Anymore.”
One subtlety we like is that “discern” is a verb, not a noun. The noun, “discernment,” is actually quite good too, but the verb carries with it a call for action on the part of the reader. “Discern” implies you will have choices to make. You will have to judge.
We are excited about it and looking forward to putting it in your hands. Although the main delivery system will be via the Internet, we are going to send a print copy of this first edition to every member household. Then, as we do for One Accord, we will ask you to sign up if you want a print copy from then on—otherwise an electronic version will be delivered to you via email.
You’ll be hearing more about it as time goes by; and of course, the first issue is also the first step toward what we hope and believe will, in time, be something that grows in its reach and impact. We know that with God’s blessing it will. He is the One who opens doors, opens minds and opens the truth; and He is the One who gets all the glory and credit for any of our successes.
FI Online—new class begins. Mark your calendars for Wednesday, Nov. 6, when the next series of FI Online classes begins! David Johnson will be teaching this year’s class on the book of Acts. You will find these classes, recorded this year at Foundation Institute, a wonderful and thought-provoking insight into the history of the early Church. We are also using some new software that will make the presentation of these classes much more appealing.
Please remember that advance registration is required to access either the live Wednesday night classes or the archives. If you registered for last year’s class, there is no need to reregister for this one. You will just need to have the password you used. If you are new to FI Online, though, the registration section outlines the reasons for and advantages provided by registering. Please go to foundationinstitute.org/online for all the information.
2013 WINTER FAMILY WEEKEND IN LOUISVILLE
From Mark Winner: Registration is now open for the Winter Family Weekend in Louisville, Kentucky. Please encourage members who might be planning to attend to go online at members.cogwa.org/wfw and register as soon as possible. This is also the link that will give them continually updated information pertaining to the event. They should also make their housing reservation at https://resweb.passkey.com/go/FAMWKND2013 if they wish to receive the Church’s discounted rate. Please email Mark Winner if you have any questions.
SUMMARY OF AUGUST AND SEPTEMBER PCD ACTIVITY
From Cecil Maranville: With the holy days occurring as they did, we did not publish a report for PCD activity for the month of August. Therefore, I am combining the reports on August and September here. We wrote 53 responses in August and 31 in September.
Question topics included:
• Animal sacrifices in the Kingdom: Why? And how long will they will continue?
• What is the identity of the beast and its image? And what is the meaning of a mark in the right hand or forehead?
• At the time of the Flood, did Noah and his family wait in the ark for the rain to start? Had it ever rained before the Flood? Or was the earth was watered by a mist?
• What are some Bible study recommendations for an engaged couple?
• A Burundi minister wants a COGWA representative to come to Burundi and teach.
• God’s foreknowledge vs. freedom of choice: Did God know in advance that some angels would rebel? Did He know in advance that humans were “doomed to fail”?
• What is the present location of the Ark of the Covenant?
• From a person (obviously of Roman Catholic affiliation) who believes that Mary escaped corruption in the grave: Do “all people conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit” similarly escape corruption after death?
• Who found the first Bible? When and where?
• What does Buddhism teach about the meaning of life?
• From someone who “feels like” God is working with her: Does one have to be a Church member in order to have “a calling from God”?
• Personal counsel: Someone who is depressed, separated from spouse and involved with another person seeks advice.
• Personal counsel: The parents of an adult child struggling with substance abuse ask whether they contributed to his problems by the way they reared him.
• Personal counsel: A sensitive individual, deeply troubled and stressed by serious problems his neighbor is having, seeks advice about how to help.
• Does cremation interfere with God’s ability to resurrect the dead?
• Philippians 3:2 tells us to avoid dogs. What is meant by “dogs,” and how does this apply today?
• Is it scriptural for a woman to donate her eggs?
• From a reader in the U.K.: Why did God create the EU? Does He hate mankind that much?
• Personal counsel: An engaged individual asks if it is all right to have sex with his fiancée, explaining as justification that they belong to similar, but different faiths.
• Who is “he who now restrains” in 2 Thessalonians 2:7?
• From a Church of God teen: Does the Bible indicate God will lead everyone to “that perfect person” for marriage?
• A reader from Africa asks to become a member of COGWA in America, as well as an American citizen.
• In light of COGWA’s doctrine about military service, can Church members hold government jobs, such as “police, fireman, EMT or politician”?
• Personal counsel: A person deeply troubled by guilt over past sins seeks advice on being freed.
• A reader takes us to task for claiming in our article on predestination that everyone would be saved—even though that is not what the article says!
• Another reader sharply criticizes us for denying not only that the Holy Spirit is a person, but also that the Holy Spirit is a woman.
• Why is a resurrection necessary if you are already in heaven?
• Personal counsel: A reader believes the Sabbath should be observed, but wishes to attend a Sunday-keeping Church with his fiancée to keep the peace. He asks if he would be keeping the Sabbath properly simply by staying home and resting.
• A reader asks about converting others. How can you prove God’s existence to friends without using the Bible?
• Personal counsel: Convicted that speaking in tongues does not prove one has the Holy Spirit but surrounded by family members who believe the opposite, a reader seeks advice on how to handle the situation.
• Is it acceptable for women to ever wear pants?
• How can a person obtain the Holy Spirit “without measure”? And how he can know that he has it?
• What color (race) were the Israelites, and what chapter of the Bible best describes “the lost race”?
• Did God make blacks first and then whites from blacks or vice versa? (The person made no mention of Asians.)