WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD
PASADENA, CALIFORNIA 91123
HERBERT W. ARMSTRONG
President and Pastor
October 23, 1978
Dear Brethren and Co-Workers with Jesus Christ:
GREETINGS! Jesus Christ, the Head of God's Church, has been moving swiftly to RE-AWAKEN and set His Church back on the track, during the past five months. Then He completely started Ambassador College all over again -- throwing out the secularism and immorality that had crept in while Christ's Apostle was away taking Christ's Gospel Message into many countries over the world -- starting the college once again with only one Freshman class. But again, it is GOD'S COLLEGE!
Jesus Christ moved swiftly, too, to set the RADIO and TELEVISION programs back on GOD'S track, rapidly adding more and more stations.
Next came The PLAIN TRUTH -- rooting out the secularism, and making it once again GOD'S magazine -- and soon, hopefully, the finest magazine on earth, with multiplied circulation.
And now -- He has once again made God's Feast of Tabernacles truly GOD'S FESTIVAL -- the LARGEST ANNUAL CONVENTION OR CONCLAVE ON EARTH!
IT IS MONDAY NIGHT. I have been trying to unwind from preaching the final sermon of the qreatest Feast ever!
I ended it, at the Tucson site, with this inspired Scripture: "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His JUDGMENTS" (I was just ending the message on the Great White Throne Judgment) -- "and His ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been His counsellor? Or who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed unto Him again? For of Him and through Him, and to Him, are all things, to whom be GLORY FOR EVER. Amen" (Rom. 11:33-36).
The ecstasy -- the inspiration -- the gratitude -- the Praise to God for this year's wonderful Festival still holds me enthralled!
I have heard again and again -- from the three sites I attended (St. Petersburg, Big Sandy, and Tucson) people saying the Feast this year was as different from the past few years as day is from night!
The speakers were INSPIRED! They brought dynamic messages, thoroughly covering the MEANING and the PURPOSE of this and God's other Feasts. I have reports from all sites it was the same every- where. The whole ATMOSPHERE -- the spirit of the people -- was different -- it was the Spirit of God. God's Church was in need of a SPIRITUAL RE-AWAKENING -- and in this Feast of Tabernacles we have made a GOOD START toward a MORE SPIRITUAL, DEVOTED, DEEPLY DEDICATED CHURCH. We are shaking off the Laodicean lukewarmness that was beginning to drug us to sleep.
The sermons were more deeply spiritual -- bringing "meat in due season" -- bringing inspired messages of the now imminent KINGDOM OF GOD, and its rule over ALL NATIONS for the next thousand years. The ministers preached inspiringly, showing that their hearts were stirred, aroused, to the tremendous MEANING of this Festival. The audience atmosphere was equally re-awakened, inspiring, JOYOUS!
Truly, the living Jesus Christ is setting HIS CHURCH back on the track, in every phase of its great worldwide mission and work.
But, Brethren, this is ONLY A START! If we should rest on our oars now, or let down in our zeal and spiritual dedication, even this wonderful Festival would have been in vain!
We're OFF TO AN INSPIRED, AROUSED NEW START! Let's now INCREASE our dedication and deep devotion. GOD'S WORK is FAR FROM FINISHED! The race is not over! But we are now coming in on the HOME STRETCH!
Do not forget that Satan knows this better than we do. It means, to him, that his time is now short. He will AROUSE HIMSELF TO INTENSIFIED GREAT WRATH -- AGAINST GOD'S CHURCH -- knowing his time is now short. One speaker mentioned today, that while God's Wrath is against SIN, God has only LOVE for the sinner -- but, don't forget that Satan LOVES SIN, and HATES WITH WHITE-HOT HEAT GOD'S PEOPLE REDEEMED FROM SIN!
The road ahead WILL NOT BE EASY!
When I was a youth in high school I ran the mile, in track. I learned what a RACE really is. Starting out there is a struggle for good position among the other runners. Then it becomes very difficult -- one feels almost exhausted, until he gets his "second wind." It continues to be a struggle, but through the middle of the race he can keep going very well -- though it is not easy. But the REAL CHALLENGE is coming in on the HOME STRETCH. That's when the race becomes most difficult -- your strength almost gone -- now running on sheer DESPERATE DETERMINATION -- the competitor trying to surge ahead of you -- you simply have to put into it your last ounce of strength and DETERMINATION to not falter but instead to pick up speed, until you cross the tape. The Apostle Paul used such a race as a comparison to OUR RACE AGAINST SATAN coming in on the home stretch.
"Wherefore, seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross ..." (Heb. 12:1-2).
WHAT A LESSON FOR US, RIGHT NOW, in those two verses! Coming in on the home stretch, let us jettison -- cast off -- all excess weights that might slow us down -- or sins which would rob us of the patience to continue -- and, with our minds fastened on Jesus, remember that as HE came in on the "home stretch" of His earthly ministry, ENDURED THE CROSS. A runner in a mile race has to ENDURE exhaustion, pain, temptation to give up and quit, and PRESS ON. Jesus endured the cross and the shame of it before human eyes -- for at the FINISH LINE was JOY, and He did sit down with God on the heavenly throne. That PRIZE was worth running for!
We have THE SAME PRIZE awaiting us. We shall, when we win, sit down with Christ on His throne! Let us not give up, and HAVE RUN THUS FAR IN VAIN (see Phil. 2:16).
So, from here on in, let us fasten our eyes on JESUS CHRIST -- and on the ultimate GOAL, or finishing line. We are running for the GREATEST STAKES in the UNIVERSE! Remember God's way is LOVE -- the GIVING WAY, while Satan's way is "GETTING."
Let's rededicate our lives to GIVING of ourselves! ONLY ONE THING MATTERS from here on in! Lay aside the worldly interests, the pleasures of this life -- jettison all those off -- and keep our eyes on the ONE GOAL!
We broke records at the Feast in attendance, and in offerings, as well as in SPIRIT. But we have a ONE MILLION DOLLAR BANK LOAN due to be paid back TODAY! I thank and praise God He has made us able to pay it! But we are still about 1 1/2 million dollars behind in the year's budget -- and we are adding new radio and television stations every week -- and that INCREASES OUR EXPENDITURES, as well as the number of people reached with Christ's Gospel.
I am working diligently with The PLAIN TRUTH staff to make it the FINEST MAGAZINE published, and we want to expand our newsstand circulation, (now about 1 million in the U.S. alone -- total circulation now close to 3 million copies) -- and that all demands INCREASED EXPENDITURES. That's part of the EFFORT we all must make, coming in on the home stretch to WIN THIS RACE and the PRIZE of eternal salvation in the Kingdom of God!
I now have plans to make The GOOD NEWS into a full color magazine like The PLAIN TRUTH, and let the newsprint tabloid paper go back to the name "Worldwide News" -- with Church news, personal items, and things of personal interest -- and with The GOOD NFWS becoming a magazine filled with ARTICLES -- both devoted to Church interest, Bible teachings, and articles containing SPIRITUAL FOOD.
Wouldn't you like to see this new jump ahead? If each of us, as an individual, does his part, making sacrifices for the Work of God, you will see this Work of God leap ahead as never before! We must put on an EXTRA BURST OF SPEED COMING IN ON THE HOME STRETCH. For world conditions are now developing to bring on quickly THE GREAT TRIBULATION, and the END of this present evil world!
NOTHING is important now, but GOD'S WORK! Thank you, Brethren and Co-Workers, from the bottom of my heart. As WE are now getting back into the grace of God, He is RESTORING HIS BLESSING which was largely withdrawn during the past ten years! CHRIST will lavish on us HIS blessing, if WE begin to put Him FIRST in our lives!
With deep love, in Jesus' name,
Herbert W. Armstrong