Monthly letter archive

Christian Biblical Church of God

Post Office Box 1442

Hollister, California 95024-1442


Fred R. Coulter, Minister

November 3, 2004

Dear Brethren,

Two weeks before the Feast of Tabernacles, as I was watching the tropical storm report on the Weather Channel about hurricane Ivan, I saw that it was heading straight for Gulf Shores, and the eye of the storm was going to go right up Highway 59. I knew immediately that we had to keep the Feast someplace else. First, I called Dolores, who had gone to the Feast early, and told her that she needed to get out of there as soon as possible and fly to Texas to Chad and Rachelle’s for a week until we knew what was going to happen. So she packed up, and the next morning as she was leaving, she was told that an evacuation was mandatory. Well, she made it safely out on the last flight from Mobile, Alabama to Waco, Texas.

For the Feast in Gulf Shores/Foley, Dolores and I were going to stay at The Caribe, located in Orange Beach on Perdido Creek and the inner coastal waterway. She had found a beautiful first-floor condominium, which was an ideal place to stay. But, she was there only two days before she had to leave. Later, we got the report that the storm surge from Ivan at that location was tremendous. Thirty-foot waves wiped out everything along Perdido Creek. Undoubtedly The Caribe sustained great damage, and in all probability the first floor where we would have been staying was completely destroyed, including the condominium.

As many of you know, Highway 59 is the highway that we use to drive from Gulf Shores to Foley. Hurricane Ivan, "the terrible," devastated the entire Gulf Shores/Foley, Alabama area. The eye of the hurricane, with winds up to 105 mph, went north, straight up Highway 59, nearly destroying everything in its path. On the coast in Gulf Shores, the destruction was so great and widespread that it was nearly a month before some people were allowed to go back to their homes, or what was left of them. Later, we found out that the Civic Center building we had rented for the Feast of Tabernacles meetings was taken over by FEMA for a month.

After first calling Dolores to tell her to leave, I called Carl Franklin, and he told me that the building he had rented for the Feast in Dunedin, Florida—near Tampa Bay—would be able to hold up to 100 people. It was located at the Toronto Blue Jays spring training facility in an area "supposedly" safe from hurricanes. So we made arrangements to hold the Feast there. I immediately mailed out a letter to all the brethren who were affected by the hurricane and informed them of the change. We also posted the information on our website.

On Sunday before Atonement, Dolores left Chad and Rachelle’s and flew to Tampa Bay, Florida, where Wayne and Sylvia Stenhouse met her at the airport. She was able to secure a condominium in the same complex where Wayne and the Canadian brethren were located. On Wednesday before Atonement I arrived.

Then on Friday, we were confronted with another hurricane—Jeanne. Packing winds up to 105 mph, it was headed straight for us and right at Tampa Bay. They were reporting that the airports were closing in Orlando and other areas in eastern Florida. The damage from hurricane Jeanne on Florida’s east coast was tremendous. I did not know how hard it would hit our area or if the damage would be so great that I might not be able to fly out of Tampa Bay to go to Goshen, Indiana for the first part of the Feast. After our experience with Ivan the week before, I decided to get out of there immediately and fly to Goshen. It was a good thing I did because later I learned that even though the Tampa Bay airport opened again on Monday, many Tuesday flights were still cancelled, and most others were greatly delayed because of the effects of hurricane Jeanne.

Everyone made it through without personal harm. Most of the brethren were able to make the switch and come to Dunedin, with others going to Goshen or Houston, Texas. As it turned out, God blessed us with a great Feast with 93 in attendance. While it was not quite the best Feast ever, the situation made us truly appreciate the Feasts of God all that much more. Also, because many brethren could not drive the extra 300 miles to Dunedin, and with the closure of the major east-west freeway, Highway 10, we added a mini Feast in Houston, Texas. Frank Penny hosted it with 35 in attendance.

This experience surely shows us that we need to be prepared for anything. Because we were chased by the hurricanes from one place to another, we joked that when "a hurricane persecutes you in one city, flee to another, and if a second hurricane chases you there, flee to yet another city." However, in spite of every obstacle, we were able to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.

From all reports, God certainly protected the brethren and their properties. No one had any serious damage to his or her home. While homes next to theirs suffered great damage, their homes were spared. Furthermore, none of the brethren were injured—in spite of the fact that four hurricanes hit Florida before the Feast. What a living testimony that God fulfills His promises! It was evident that in these times of trouble all the brethren claimed the promises of God’s protection. God heard and answered their prayers as He promised in Psalm 91: "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty [through your special personal relationship with God the Father and Jesus Christ]. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.

"A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.

"Because he [the one who is faithfully trusting in God] hath set his love [with all his heart, soul, mind and strength] upon Me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation" (Psa. 91:1-16, KJV).

This also confirms another promise of God that regardless of the apparent circumstances all things will work out for good: "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose, because those whom He did foreknow, He also predestinated to be conformed to the image of His own Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren" (Rom. 8:28-29).

We Have Been Extremely Busy Since the Feast: I have been delayed in getting this letter out to you because we have been extremely busy, and I just did not have the time to write this letter sooner. Since returning from the Feast of Tabernacles, we have been going full blast trying to catch up on mailing out the book The Day Jesus the Christ Died. We have had a tremendous response to our free book ad on our websites, sending out nearly all 9,000 of the first printing. In fact, over one weekend alone we received over 900 requests. Except for that one surge, we have been averaging between 40-90 requests per day; but on occasions it has gone up to 100. Since we have less than 1,000 copies of this book left, we have been busy making the final preparations to finalize the next printing. It will be five weeks after finalization until we receive the second printing of 7,000.

In addition to this, we have had to finish the details for the second printing of The New Testament, which will be a run of 5,000. At this time we have only 5 or 6 left of the first printing of 5,000, and they will probably be gone tomorrow. The second printing will be coming just in time, as it is scheduled to be shipped on November 2. We should receive these books no later than November 9.

Finally, in Australia, the church office had to be moved because of various circumstances. Making preparations for the move consumed a great deal of time because many details had to be attended to. While we have not yet finalized the exact location for the new office, we have everything in motion to accomplish it. Our new postal box is: CBCG, Australia; GPO 1574; Sydney 2001. With all the preparations virtually done, the transition should be rather smooth with no interruption in service to the brethren.

The Day Jesus the Christ Died: As I already mentioned, we have ordered a second printing of 7,000 of this book. A careful analysis of this book shows that it truly preaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Through this book we are proclaiming the cross of Christ, as did the apostle Paul: "And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with superiority of speech or wisdom, in proclaiming the testimony of God to you. For I decided not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. And I was in weakness and in fear and in much trembling when I was with you; and my message and my preaching was not in persuasive words of humanwisdom; rather, it was in demonstration of the Spirit and of power" (I Cor. 2:1-4).

This book presents the whole truth about the passion, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ—directly from the New Testament. It teaches repentance and forgiveness of sins through the blood of Jesus Christ. It shows true reasons why Jesus had to die for the sins of the world and the exact timing of His death, burial and resurrection. As you know, this book is not only for brethren, but it was designed to reach new people who want to know the truth. It will answer their questions and show them that they no longer have to be stuck with the traditional doctrines of this world’s corrupt Christianity. On the other hand, to those who will not receive the truth, this book is a witness against them. Of the thousands of new people who have received this book, only one has written that he did not agree with it. Most of the letters and e-mails we have received show that it has been well received.

Website Activity: The effect that this book and the New Testament book have had on those who have read them is that many, many more people are coming back to our website for additional study material and are downloading the sermons and printed material. During the month of September we had a record month for the number of pages viewed—78,783. To give you the complete picture, I am including Ron Cary’s report of the website activity for the month. As you will see, we are having a greater and greater impact in preaching the Gospel through the Internet. Not only are we reaching the brethren that use the website, but we are reaching multiple thousands of new people—nearly 6,000 new people have received The Day Jesus the Christ Died, and an additional 1900 have received The Harmony of the Gospels.

As I mentioned in a recent sermon, a good Internet website is far better than radio or television because everything on the website is up and running and available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week—worldwide. Therefore, in any country in the world, those who have access to the Internet and who are searching for the truth of God will be able find it. They will be able to study God’s word in-depth any time of the day or night! They will not have to sit before a radio or television at a specific time to listen to a broadcast. They can go to their computers and log on to the website and spend as much time as they desire in gathering material and sermons to download to their computers for further study. They can order books and other literature by e-mail. Furthermore, thousands of people can be reached at a minimum of cost—pennies per person—when compared to the hundreds or thousands of dollars for radio or television. This means that we can spend God’s sacred tithes and offerings to produce high quality books and materials to put into their hands instead of paying the high costs of radio and television production. The enclosed website report tells the whole story.

The New Testament: Again God has blessed us with a wonderful tool to teach the complete truth of the New Testament. This New Testament may well prove to be one of the most important books published by a church of God in our time. We have had a tremendous response to The New Testament, not only from the brethren in CBCG but also from brethren who attend other churches of God. Even a number of ministers from the other churches of God have received it and use it in their preaching.

There are also a great number of people not belonging to any of the churches of God who are deeply interested in the whole truth of God. They have been in other churches and are tired of the lies and traditions of men being preached from the pulpits in the name of Jesus Christ. Many brethren know such people. Because of their interest in God, the truth and the Word of God, brethren have given them copies of The New Testament. They have received them very well and are happy to begin to understand the truth of God. In fact, some have even quit Sunday keeping and have begun to keep the Sabbath. What we have learned from this is that The New Testament can also be a great evangelistic tool for the brethren to use to reach those outside the Church.

Remember that God always has a remnant in the world that He is calling and working with. As we know, not only are we to feed the flock of God, but we are to preach the Gospel to the world. We are doing both through the Internet and our website. We are doing as God commands: "Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days" (Ecc. 11:1, KJV).

God also promised that His word would prosper wherever it goes: "Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth [as contained in His Word]: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it" (Isa. 55:6-11, KJV).

Brethren, we should be greatly inspired and encouraged to see how God is blessing and prospering what we are doing together. It is a joint effort. Not only are we reaching new people through the Internet on our website but also the brethren are taking it upon themselves individually to reach out to other brethren and new people with The New Testament and The Day Jesus the Christ Died. This is a great thing! God intended for all of us to reach out to the world. This is how the church will grow. I am sure that in the future the fruit of these efforts will result in many people repenting and coming to Jesus Christ and seeking the salvation of God.

Once again brethren, thank you for all your efforts, your love and prayers and continued support with your tithes and offerings. We can see all these things working together and prospering toward that which God desires. May God the Father and Jesus Christ be with you in everything and bless you with His love and grace.

With love in Christ Jesus,

Fred R. Coulter