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Sabbath Greetings - January 14th

From: Mr. David Schreiber, Pastor

Happy Sabbath Everyone!

I have been thinking lately of our calling and being "chosen". Jesus said...for many are called, but few chosen. (Matt:20:16 and Matt:22:14)

Do you remember going out to recess as a child and waiting for the team captains to "choose their team"? Some of us were chosen right away, some in the middle and some of us at the very end.

The Bible is full of examples where God is choosing:

He chose Jerusalem for His City.

He chose Zion for His dwelling place.

God chose Abram and gave him a new name.

God chose Israel to be His special treasure.

God chose David, taking him out of the sheepfolds.

God chose Moses and Aaron.

God chose rulers over His people.

God chose twelve from the disciples to be apostles.

The Lord said Paul was a chosen vessel unto me...

In the books of Romans, Paul says, Salute Rufus, chosen in the Lord...

AND,

God has "chosen" YOU!

This Sabbath, I hope you'll take some time to think about YOUR calling. Re-read these scriptures and apply them to your life. AND, think about HOW your life reflects being chosen as one of the elect of God.

In Jesus' final hours he told the disciples in John:15:16 You have not chosen me, but I have CHOSEN you, and ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever you shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

And in John:15:19 Jesus said: If you were of the world, the world would love his own: but because you are not of the world, but I have CHOSEN you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

We are reminded:

God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, (those counted as nothing at all) God has chosen, to be used to bring to nothing what the world considers important. (I Cor 1:27)

Matt:13:20 Except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: for the elect's sake, whom He has chosen, he has shortened the days...

Eph:1:4 (NLT) Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes.

Because of our calling - we should praise God for His wonderful plan and abundant mercy and grace that He has poured out on us who belong to Him. (Reference to Eph:1:6)

Paul reminded Timothy that he was chosen and should not get entangled with the ways of this world. Paul said he was willing to endure anything if it will bring salvation and eternal glory to those God has chosen.

And - James:2:5 Reminds us that God has chosen the poor in this world to be rich in faith because they are the ones who will inherit the Kingdom of God promised to those who love Him.

YOU are a chosen and blessed people.

Blessed are the people God has chosen. His eye is upon them that fear Him. (Psa:33:12, 18)

You are a chosen people, royal priests, a holy nation. God's very own possession. (I Peter 2:9)

Do you realize what a blessing it is to be chosen (Psa:65:4). It's awesome to know you are loved and chosen because God wanted you in His family.

In the end days -- John tells us that the wicked will go to war against the Lamb, the Lamb will defeat them because He is Lord of all lords and King of all kings. And His called and chosen and faithful ones will be with Him. (Rev 17: 14)

And finally --

You - the chosen of God,

Have an inspiring and uplifting Sabbath!

Yours in Christ's Service,

Dave

SERVICES
This Sabbath – January 14, 2012
Southern Minnesota – 11:00 AM at the Ellendale Community Center

La Crosse – 10:30 AM at the Senior Center
Cedar Rapids – 11:00 AM at the Hometown Inn and Suites

Next Sabbath – January 21, 2012
Southern Minnesota – 11:00 AM at the Ellendale Community Center
La Crosse – 10:30 AM at the Senior Center (Kingdom of God Seminar) Followed by a light lunch for members and guests
Cedar Rapids – 11:00 AM at the Hometown Inn and Suites

Memory Scripture for the week:

I Peter 2:9

You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

Upcoming Kingdom of God Seminars

The second round of Kingdom of God Seminars will be coming soon! The schedule for the seminars is as follows:

January 21 - La Crosse at 10:30 AM (Harry J. Olson Senior Citizen's Center) (Registered to date - 1)

January 28 - Cedar Rapids at 11:00 AM (Marion Public Library) (Registered to date - 5)

February 4 - Southern Minnesota at 11:00 AM (Ellendale Community Center) (Registered to date - 7)

We will follow a similar format as last time, with two seminar sessions with a short break between and a light lunch following the second session. Scheduled song leaders will welcome everyone, then will ask someone to lead an opening prayer to ask God's blessing on all that takes place, and then introduce the Presenter. After the second session, the song leader will lead a hymn and then ask someone to lead a closing prayer and a blessing on the light lunch.

Choir Practice

There will be choir practice after services today in the Southern Minnesota congregation. Practice will begin at 1:45 pm. Any questions, please see Bill & Gayle Baylor.

Save the Date of Saturday, February 25th for our 15th Annual Youth Day and Winter Social at Ironwood Springs Spring Christian Ranch

We will be having our annual winter social at Ironwood Springs on Saturday, February 25th. Sabbath Services (and Youth Day) will be at 3 PM - followed by dinner. The theme this year is Hawaiian. Plan to wear your brightest Hawaiian garb and feast on a Luau of brisket on a bun, salads, fruit and veggies and tropical desserts. Learn to hula and do the limbo. After sundown there will be tubing and sleigh rides for those interested. A Variety Show is being planned to begin around 8:00 PM. Please be thinking of how YOU can contribute your time and talents to help make this weekend a wonderful time of love and fellowship with your church family. If you'd like to help in anyway, please see Bill and Gayle Baylor. To participate in the Variety Show, please contact John or Carson Whynaucht or Bill & Gayle Baylor.

Food for the Winter Social on February 25th.

We have a request this year for brethren to please bring salads, veggie trays, chips and desserts for the meal. We have provided sign up sheets with the needed serving sizes and quantity needed for each congregation. In Cedar Rapids you may see Sarah Wickham regarding your sign up sheets. In La Crosse please see Peggy Yule, and those in Southern Minnesota may see Liz Myers. If you have any questions please feel free to see your designated sign-up attendant, Gayle Baylor or Liz Myers. Thank you and we are looking forward to the fellowship and fun!

Combined Service on the First Day of Unleavened Bread
We will be having one service on the First Day of Unleavened Bread (Saturday, April 7th) at 2:30 pm in the afternoon in the chapel at Ironwood Springs Christian Ranch near Stewartville, MN. I'd like to welcome and encourage those from all three church areas to attend. There will be no church service in Ellendale or in Cedar Rapids. However, there will be a morning service at 10:30 am in La Crosse for those who are unable to make the drive to Stewartville.

(We previously discussed having the Night To Be Observed at Ironwood Springs however we will NOT be organizing this as a church dinner. Families may want to begin thinking of brethren to invite to their homes or arrange for dinner with friends in a private dining room in local restaurants.)

Great Lakes Teen Weekend February 18-20, 2012 in Lansing Michigan

Come join us for fun, fellowship and learning at the Great Lakes Teen Weekend. This event will be held at the University Quality Inn, Lansing Michigan. We have negotiated a discounted rate of $69.95 per night which includes breakfast. Call 517-351-1440 when making reservations and mention "UCG" to take advantage of the discounted rate. The cost for the weekend is only $35 per person and includes all meals and activities. Activities include: seminars, dance, bowling and a day at the Michigan Athletic Club. For schedule and registration form, please visit: ucglansing.org For additional questions, please contact Amy Welch at 517-944-2093 or jeffamywelch@hotmail.com

Southern Minnesota Advisory Council

Next meeting of the board will be held on Wednesday, January 18th at 7 PM at the Austin Holiday Inn. If you have any item that you would like to add to the meeting agenda, please contact Mr. Ken Cafourek. Everyone is invited and welcome to attend.

Prayer Requests

From Daniel Porteous, pastor, Auckland, New Zealand:

Olive Ritson of Auckland, New Zealand, requests our prayers. Following a colonoscopy and other scans, cancer was discovered. The cancer has been found early and appears to be contained in one area.

Olive Ritson
64 Coulter Road
Henderson Valley
Waitakere 0614
NEW ZEALAND

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From Mark Mickelson, senior pastor, West Africa:

Our brethren in Congo have been able to return to assembling on the Sabbath after the violence that came in the wake of the recent presidential elections. No members or their property were injured or damaged. The political situation has not been resolved but the brethren have been protected in the midst of the unrest. In Nigeria, a general strike has been called because of the removal of fuel subsidies, and is directly affecting our members along with other Nigerian citizens. Nigeria is a wealthy country in terms of its resources but that wealth is held by a small group of political and economic leaders with almost no benefits being passed on to the citizens. The roads and infrastructure are barely maintained and electricity is limited. Those who control the production of electricity also control the sale of generators and the list of examples goes on and on. The police routinely collect bribes and payments even down to the point of those who travel on the highways. Below is a note from Dare Akinbo, our elder in Lagos:
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None of our members are physically injured but all are affected as they could not open shops or transact business. The situation is tense and people are really incensed! I normally use N5,500 to N6,000 to fill the bus, last Friday I used N12,200! Life has always been a struggle for most Nigerians. People make their living one day at a time and the recent protests under the direction of various civic and social leaders has seen the cities of Nigeria look like ghost towns from morning until evening and it is taking its toll on the citizens. Members of the church, like most all Nigerians, cannot leave their homes for their daily activities to make a living. There is no movement from 7:00 am until 6:00 pm. Markets are closed, street shops unopened, and the streets are generally deserted. Banks dare not open.
People are protesting against the embedded corruption in the government and the ongoing attempt to impoverish the nation by deregulating the downstream petroleum sector where we buy fuel at the same rate as the USA, despite our being part of an oil producing nation. Raising the price of fuel to almost three times its current price will further distress the living conditions here. 80% of the church live in the cities, with over 75% of these in the lower income bracket. No member is in the higher income bracket and of the 20% in the rural communities, almost all live on less than $2 a day. This strike will affect most those in the lower income bracket, and that is the church members.

Please help us pray for our leaders to make decisions that will ease our plight and that the situation will not degenerate into violence with loss of life and property as has begun to happen in some areas.

Sincerely,
Oludare Akinbo

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From Paul Kieffer, regional pastor, German and Dutch speaking areas:

Esmerelda Agbezudor, teenage daughter of Darmstadt members Martin and Audrey Agbezudor, has returned home after 8 weeks of care in the hospital in Wiesbaden (with two weeks in intensive care) and a rehabilitation clinic in Frankfurt. The doctors are amazed at her recovery. According to the doctors who first treated her in the intensive care unit, she was one day from dying when she first arrived for treatment. Now she can speak fairly normally again, although talking takes extra effort and tires her because the opening from the tracheotomy (performed while she was in intensive care) has not been closed and she loses air through that opening. However, she can eat normally and has regained her strength to the point where she can return to her apprenticeship on a half-day basis. The tracheotomy will be closed surgically in the next two weeks, and Esmerelda will be under observation a couple of days later this month at a special sleep clinic because her breathing at night is abnormal. She has received dozens of cards from around the world and even a couple small presents which encouraged her very much. She and her parents thank everyone for their prayers, support and love.
Your prayers for our members, and for all of those who struggle to just live day to day in environments such as this, are appreciated. The problems will not be resolved in this life, but God does intervene for His people and for those on whom He chooses to show His mercy.

Letter from the President
Greetings from the home office,

Attached is an announcement from President Dennis Luker to our ministry and membership. It has the support of the Council of Elders.

Please share it with our membership.

Thank you very much,

President's Office.

Beyond Today
Below and attached is the February 2012 Beyond Today airing schedule for your congregation's bulletin. It also includes the subject synopsis for each week. Please feel free to pass it along to your local member e-mail list. If you are outside of a Beyond Today television viewing airing area, please encourage our members to view the programs online at www.beyondtoday.tv.

And, as recently announced, we are on the Word Network globally via satellite now! Initial responses have been very encouraging.

All the best,

Peter Eddington

Operation Manager

Media and Communications Services

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The Work of God in Zambia Moves Forward! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

After our visit with the brethren in Isoka, as was reported in the last eNews, Wilson and Dorothy Nkhoma and my wife and I drove the twelve hours back to Lusaka. There we enjoyed a Bible Study in a school room on Monday, January 2. We began by discussing the importance of watching world events and prophecy, and then the remainder of the study discussed reasons sometimes our prayers go unanswered and the importance of pleasing our Father and Jesus Christ.

Mufulira brethren riding the UCG bus.

January 3 we began our journey into the Mumbwa area along the bumpy dirt roads and trails characterized by many pools of water in the ruts and potholes from the rain. This made for a slow go of it much of the time. Of course in the bush there are no direction signs anywhere so we were led with the help of Armstrong Maninga with our first stop at his home in Kasumpa. We were able to talk with Mr. Maninga and his wife, Mary, regarding the theft of his oxen, which were taken from them during a critical time when fields needed preparation. They were very kind to provide us some chicken for lunch. Our next stop up the road was at Willard and Precious Katapya's home where a few gathered for some words of encouragement from Romans:8:28 and we discussed how Job was tested and in the end God restored to him more than he had before. They also had an ox taken from them as well because they decided to remain with the United Church of God.

Mafumbwe visitors

Still in the Mumbwa area in Nalubanda North at the home of Maxwell Kasakabantu, thirty brethren gathered for a Bible Study in his house. Armstrong Maninga translated into Tongan. Afterward we enjoyed chicken, nshima (their staple food made from maize) and white beans. We left as the sun was going down and made it to Mumbwa Town to stay at a guest house for the night. Guest houses with varying quality of facilities are located throughout Zambia for travelers.

The next day we traveled to Mapoko, and there they cleared out the kitchen for a Bible Study on, "What Does Studying the Bible Do for You?" There were twenty-three in attendance. Not all of the thirty-three that normally attend services were able to be there. We learned there is still a need for English and Tongan bibles in the Mumbwa area, and we got a count of those who need a Bible so Mr. Nkhoma can provide them.

With this rigorous trip to Mumbwa, it was very evident why Mr. Nkhoma needs the UCG vehicle he has been provided. His Toyota was so covered with mud after our trek into the remote bush areas!

The last leg of our visit took us to Kitwe and the home of our elder, Derrick Pringle, and his wife, Cherry. The church is located in Mufulira which is a four-and-a-half-hour drive north of Lusaka in the Copper Belt area of Zambia. The Sabbath for Mr. and Mrs. Pringle begins early in the morning, picking up nearly all the brethren in the Church bus to take them to Sabbath services. After the bus is fully loaded, Mr. Pringle takes it to the Mufulira Basic School and unloads, and then he must go and get another full load of brethren.

Girls Quartet in Mufulira

During the Sabbath service one special treat was having three men join us for the first time from Mufumbre, which is over 400 kilometers (about 300 miles) away. How they came into the church is a tremendous story in itself. Also, four of the teens sang for the special music portion of the service. During the sermon Samuel Bwalya translated into Bemba. Fifty-seven happy brethren enjoyed the services and a social afterwards. After enjoying buns and jam and juice, everyone was delivered by bus back to their respective areas.

All in all, we had the opportunity to see and visit about 230 of our brethren in Zambia. One thing that is clear about the work in Zambia is that they are moving forward!

This time, as the last, I was impressed with the extreme dedication of the our brethren, and Joan and I were inspired by them to redouble our efforts to give more of ourselves to serve God in the portion of the ministry which has be entrusted to us. We realize more than ever that God has blessed us with much, and that He requires much more of us.

-- Jim and Joan Tuck

Church Areas Contact Information
Dave Schreiber, Pastor - Home 507-377-8151; Cell 507-473-5387
Cedar Rapids, IA: Bud Holub, Deacon - Home 319-465-6556
Southern Minnesota: Ron Peterson Elder - Home 507-387-5797; Cell 507-720-2458

La Crosse, WI: Bob Happel, Elder - Home 608-526-2191; Cell 608-386-6161