If ever we, who compose the CHURCH OF GOD, need to WAKE UP it is now!!
Here we are, in the second month of this new decade of the 1960's. Time is flashing by, faster and faster. The really BIG work Christ is doing in and through His Church must be accomplished during this decade. In constantly greater measure God is blessing us, and the progress of His work. NEVER has so much been accomplished as last year.
Yet, in one way at least, you Brethren are letting down— unless I constantly remind and prod you on! The additional SPECIAL offerings, over and beyond tithes and regular offerings, for the building fund, are falling 'way down again—to about half the amount we are obligated to pay out.
We had the most profitable Ministers' Council in January we have ever had. The invisible presence of Christ in our midst was very definitely felt and experienced by all. We were all brought much closer to Christ our Head, with deep spiritual experience and clarity of understanding. Important and large plans were laid for the future, both during and following the main sessions.
One important program for the immediate future—the next two to five years: to build a number of smaller tabernacles, which will be designed also to serve as school class-rooms, at certain central locations to provide for district Festivals during days of unleavened bread at Passover time. Elementary and High Schools are to be established at each of these district centers.
The first one to be established will be at Portland, Oregon. We hope to have it ready to open a new school by September of 1962 definitely, and if possible by September of next year—1961. The plan is to purchase a few acres of ground a short distance outside the city limits, and the building will be designed first of all to provide school rooms, but also the auditorium—or tabernacle—for holding the spring festivals. We hope to use the same aluminized steel construction we have used at Big Sandy, Texas.
All the brethren from Seattle, Tacoma—and points north; and also from Eugene and Salem, and points south in Oregon, will meet at this central district center for the Passover and spring Festival of Unleavened Bread. The Portland Church will meet in this location every Sabbath. For the school, we will have a school bus which will pick up children at certain established points. Their parents will have to get them to these waiting points, established at locations most convenient for parents and students.
Then later, one at a time, we hope to establish similar centers at Denver, Chicago, and Pittsburgh. We plan the same kind of program for New York City, but it may be more practical there to rent halls or existing buildings. Thus, in a few years, we hope to be conducting full eight-day spring festivals not only at Big Sandy, Texas, but at Pasadena, Portland, Denver, Chicago, Pittsburgh, New York—and, later, perhaps St. Louis, Atlanta, and other district centers as God's Church grows. The full eight-day attendance at the spring Festival is not made compulsory in the Scriptures, but it is a most enjoyable and profitable thing for those who are able. At the big Tabernacle at Big Sandy, Texas, about half of those who come for the Passover and first Feast day are able to remain for the eight days. This makes the Festival highly worth while.
Just three or four days ago our New York overseas advertising agency called me long distance. At Elizabethville, Belgian Congo, in the very heart of Africa, we are broadcasting three nights a week—Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, at 10:00 P.M. There had never been any religious broadcasting in that very heart of deepest Africa before. Very few missionaries have ever gone in there. In effect, so far as most of the population is concerned, THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION HAD NEVER BEEN HEARD BEFORE—either Catholic or Protestant. When this was offered to us, about a year ago, I saw it was an opportunity to reach people with the TRUTH in a land where they had never been deceived or mixed up with counterfeit or perverted "Christianity".
The object of this telephone call was this: The big radio station there has decided to open up just three more half-hours a week to religious broadcasting—Sunday, Thursday and Friday—at the same time, 10:00 P.M. That is every night except Saturday. Billy Graham has gone there in person to try to get the Sunday night time. Theodore Epp, of the "Back to the Bible" broadcast, has gone there to try to get all three additional half hours. But the station was giving us first refusal, since we already are on three times a week. It is not too expensive—AND IT HAS BEEN VERY RESULTFUL, SO FAR! I took full advantage of the opportunity, and tied up the time—now SIX NIGHTS A WEEK—the ONLY program even purporting to preach the gospel in that whole vast area of central darkest Africa!!
Brethren, God is surely not only WITH us—He is doing great things through us, and with us. We are merely His instruments. It is not us—it is GOD who is doing it! How we should praise Him!!
Surely, dear Brethren, I should not have to remind you, or prod you on, every month, about the SPECIAL added offerings for the Building Fund. Our business office has to send out a check for $18,000 every month for the Tabernacle in Texas. About four more payments will pay IN FULL everything built so far—but then the Behlen Manufacturing Co. must once more send their big crews down there to finish the present Tabernacle. Additional conference and ministers' rooms must yet be completed, and the very large Mothers' room, children's play-room, and infants' crib room. Also we now have to build a smaller adjoining building for additional school rooms, and ministers' conference rooms. So the $18,000 per month payments will have to continue right on all this year, and into next year.
WE CAN NEVER LET UP, OR LET DOWN, IN OUR ZEAL AND EFFORTS AND SACRIFICE FOR GOD'S WORK! God is blessing this work beyond our fondest hopes. This Church and it's work—which is GOD'S WORK—is growing faster than any activity or organization I know of on earth.
Are you still DILIGENTLY seeking God every day? Do you go to a private place and PRAY EARNESTLY at least three times a day? Do you devote at least an hour a day to BIBLE STUDY, seeking to learn GOD'S WILL, and to LIVE IT? That is what we must all do! Is your heart and your life simply FILLED with JOY? Do you simply radiate smiles and JOY to others all day long? YOU WILL—if you seek God more earnestly—seek FIRST the Kingdom of God, and HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS—forsaking your own thoughts and ways. Your personal blessings will multiply. I know by experience!!
We must be a BELIEVING, and a PRAYING Church! Shall I now say, "God bless you"? He IS blessing you! I pray for you—and I NEED you to pray for me, personally—every day. Will you?