Thursday, December 19, 2019

Letter to our Friends - December 17, 2019

Michael C. Garrett
Pastor and Overseer

Dear Friends:

Greetings from Central Florida.

We are continuing to reach people, not only within the “’ lost sheep of Israel,’” but also all around the world!

In this letter, I will mention a way in which we at the Owensboro Church of Jesus Christ has been doing that.

Dimash In New York

Our posted “documented” trip to go see the famous singer Dimash Quadaibergen at his one-and-only ARNAU TOUR at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on December 10th, 2019 is doing very well! As of this morning, 47k people on our YouTube channel have viewed it! And, in just four days we’ve added 645 new ‘subscribers’ to our OCOJC website.

Do You Have An Idol?

Friends, I feel compelled by God’s Spirit to warn you of any idolatry in the Church. Surely one of the greatest sins in the whole of the Bible is the sin of idolatry. Idolatry is when we violate the first of the Ten Commandments – “’ You shall have no other gods before Me’” – Exodus 20:3. It is indeed when we put something or someone before – in our lives – the living God Almighty and Jesus Christ – and it is a root to breaking the Second Commandment as well as the others.

Friends, the Church of God – the Body of Christ – should never promote an “I,” “me” or a “my” message. Many ministers in this world have fed into the cultural idolatry of the people in order to attract more people into the church. This is indeed something that displeases God Almighty and Jesus Christ! (See cf. Ezekiel 44:10, 12). Many appear to use God when they need Him. I myself am gravely concerned with this “celebrity culture” which has been allowed to permeate into the churches of God, detracting us from Jesus Christ and His Word, His Truth, and His ultimate Plan! It’s possible – if not careful - to undermine the glorious gospel of Christ by focusing too much on “celebrity culture” and even the things we do in church.

Does becoming a worshiper of the One true GOD mean that we no longer have to contend with the grave issue of idolatry!? No, it’s just as prevalent today as ever!

Just as our forefathers, we are very capable of importing false gods – even celebrities – and giving them glory, instead of God Almighty and Jesus Christ – who rightly deserve all glory. A great example of idolatry can be found for us in Exodus 32.

The Prophet Amos was sent to the Kingdom of Israel during the reign of King Jeroboam II. Amos told the people that they were self-righteous and becoming complacent. They were beginning to pride themselves on being religious. They would sing hymns, keep the festivals, and would assure each other that God truly was with them. Yet, it was only an outward show. The whole nation had become complacent, greedy and selfish. Amos told the Israelites that they were no better than idol worshipers. Just making religious-sounding noises. Amos could well have been writing to our great nation who has indeed turned their back – as a whole – on God. And, of course, he was! But, he could have well been writing to spiritual Israel – the children of God today. And, of course, he is!

One of the worst episodes of idolatry for the Kingdom of Israel happened just a few weeks after God – known now as our Savior Jesus Christ – thundered to them His Ten Commandments at the foot of Mount Sinai. Aaron was left in charge as Moses had gone up the mountain for additional information – and was gone more than a month.

You can read about this moment of weakness by Aaron in Exodus 32:1-24!

Friends, once we start this path of compromising, becoming crowd-pleasers – and even in not wanting to offend a worldly religion for the prospect of gain – instead of pleasing God, events can oftentimes move faster than we can control. And, suddenly, we have found ourselves being cursed.

The Apostle Paul referred to this golden calf incident in warning the Corinthian Church against idolatry –
“And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, ‘The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.’” – 1 Corinthians 10:7.
This form of idolatry, brought on by a lack of faith, of frustration, of impatience, and compromise, indeed can afflict us all. Even though most of us would never deliberately fashion an idol, we could find that an idol – even in the form of a celebrity – can creep upon us. Satan our enemy places the glittering, appealing idols before us, just as he placed them before the first-century Church of God.

Our Lord Jesus Christ foresaw this end-time. He knew what troubles we as Christians would face and He gave this WARNING:
’ But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, AND CARES OF THIS LIFE, and that Day [the Day of the Lord] come on you unexpected. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth’” – Luke 21:34-35.
Here is God warning the children of God – don’t get too materially-minded, or even too “celebrity” minded! Watch that you do not forget God!

Examine yourself. Have you imbibed the spirit of this world!?

The angel (or messenger) from God warns all within the churches of God – it’s prophetic about certain church people in the end-time!:
’ These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword [that being Jesus Christ!]: ‘I know your works [I know what you’ve gone through], and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is [which is here on the earth]. And you hold fast to My name [‘you’ve not denied My name’], …’
But then Verse 14 – Jesus said, ‘I acknowledge, I understand you’re in a tough spot. You’re in a tough place to be called Christian, however…
“…’ I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, …’” - Revelation 2:12, 13.
It’s the concept of covetousness or greediness.

The Apostle Paul – under a great inspiration of the Spirit of God – says:
“Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry” – Colossians 3:5.
It says in Revelation 2:16 – “’ Repent, or else I will come to you quickly [an end-time prophecy] and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.’” – thus says the eternal Jesus Christ! You need to think about this folks! Verse 17 – “’ He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit [is attempting to say] to the churches. …’” – and to the individual.

The Church of God – the descendants which have flowed from the Worldwide Church of God – has often called the very core of right doctrine and of sound belief the “trunk of the tree.” Yet, if instead of clinging fast to the “trunk of the tree” as we so often have been admonished to do, we begin to chip off bits of the tree and begin making it look the way we want it, or compromising to the people of the world, we are making a terrible mistake! What we begin to get when we do that is an idol. Even though we think we still know God and His will, we have figured out our own way to do His will and please Him – the way that suits us.

God calls it idolatry! That is why John firmly WARNS the Church of God “Keep yourselves from idols” – 1 John 5:21.

The Second Commandment of the Eternal was not meant for another time or another age. It was given to save us TODAY from making mistakes that could keep us out of God’s Kingdom.

World News Items

Running rampant in the American news media is the impeachment process against the President of the United States, Donald Trump. It’s continuing forward at the same time that a trade deal involving Canada and Mexico is also moving forward (See: ‘US Attorney Durham objects to IG findings on Russia probe origins in stunning statement’ as well as ‘FISA report drops: 7 takeaways from DOJ watchdog's Russia probe review’). Friends the bias and hypocrisy in the American media and the politicians are sickening – to say the least.

NATIONAL repentance is needed. God’s living Word – the Bible – surely shows that the power of the United States (one who has the strongest military) will fall according to Daniel 11:39. Isaiah indicates that hypocrisy and or acting ungodly will be a major part of this great fall. Now, while political hypocrisy is indeed a problem all around the world, in the past decade the bluntness of hypocrisy in America is becoming ever more obvious!

While this nation probably will not repent, you can. Do not wait until it’s too late (cf. Acts 17:30; Zephaniah 2:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 5:3).

Various calls for the reorganization of Europe are going out. Many hope France will leave the European Union (EU) (See: ‘FREXIT – Is France Hurling toward Exiting the EU?’). Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban wants Europe to embrace his type of ‘Christianity’ (See: ‘Hungarian PM Says Only Solution to World's Problems Is Return to Christianity (Orban)’). A recent survey finds that about half of those in Italy are indeed looking for a “strongman” type of leader (See: ‘Von der Leyen in Ethiopia calls for EU 'unity' with Africa’ along with ‘Half of Italians want 'strongman' in power, survey shows’).

The Bible, itself, is crystal clear that EUROPE will indeed reorganize and unit and turn to a powerful leader/dictator once again (Revelation 17:12-13), and will also be connected to a “celebrity” Mother Church of the city with seven hills (Revelation 17:1-9, 18) for a short time (Revelation 17:16-17). Indeed, some version of what Prime Minister Orban has proposed will happen – yet Jesus Christ and His army will later destroy it (Revelation 17:14).

In New Zealand, a volcano that erupted killed several people (See: ‘New Zealand volcano: Five dead and eight missing after eruption’ along with ‘Up to 13 feared dead in volcanic eruption off New Zealand’). All those affected are in our prayers!

Suggested Sabbath Services

Here is a suggested Holy Day service for this week for our scattered brethren and friends:

* 2-3 hymns.
* Opening prayer.
* Sermonette (if you choose). The one suggested for this week is: Become Selfless by Carl McNair.
* Announcements (if any) and one hymn.
* Sermon: The one suggested for this week is: Repent For Salvation by Michael C. Garrett. (an additional article entitled Repent For Salvation is also available). Additional sermons are available at
* Final hymn.
* Closing prayer.


Concluding Comments

Friends, again idolatry. Idolatry is most dangerous when it is practiced in the name of Almighty God and Jesus Christ! Also, idolatry is an offense against the glory of God, because it seeks self-glorification other than Almighty God. Let us NEVER dare think that idolatry is something petty in the eyes of the Eternal.

In truth, God does not want to be represented by things or people. Christians are NOT to defile themselves with idols.

Friends, let us think for a moment – if money, material possessions, sex, self-importance, sports, music, family, or fun, or any combination of these are capturing your interest, your time, talents and energies MORE than anything else, it becomes the god you serve and worship.

Each of us MUST make certain that our time, talents, interests and enthusiasm are wrapped up in God the Father and Jesus Christ – and for Their glory – in our personal Savior Jesus Christ, and in the great purpose of God and Christ in the Work of the Eternal MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE!

Our personal weakness may not be so obvious – to ourselves, at least. But Satan has many devices – many means of getting every single child of God distracted from the great goal of the Kingdom of God.

There are some who are obsessed with money or making it. Or their desire to be important. Some idolize celebrities.

But remember – God is not the God of your life IF He has to step down occasionally to allow another “god” to reign. There is no place in God’s Plan for a second “god” in your life.
’ But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, …’” – Matthew 6:33.
“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” – Romans 8:5-6.
Indeed, LOOK TO JESUS! Look to Jesus, not any celebrity! LOOK TO JESUS!

Minister Michael C. Garrett writes:
“Galatians 5:19 - “Now the works of the flesh are evident …” - their obvious, they’re plain to see! It’s not a mystery. It’s not hard to figure out who is living the life patterned after Jesus Christ and who is living a life which is inspired by Satan the devil! It’s not a difficult thing to figure out! “…which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20) idolatry, …” – and once again, I probably said this before, but can you make an idol out of a man’s name!?”
(God’s Children are of the Light!).
And I ask and pray that all of you remain close to God the Father and Jesus Christ through prayer, through Bible study, through meditation. And through listening to messages which talk about the Word of God. And, I beg all of you, please examine yourselves – are you worshiping a man or are you worshiping Jesus Christ!? Your eternal life – your eternal fate – hangs in the balance of that decision.

With love and gratitude, in Jesus' Name,
Leonard V. Johnson

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