Volume 18, Number 1, Jan/Feb/Mar 2017 Issue 70
...The Presiding Patriarch
Presiding Patriarch Carl W. VunCannon, Jr.
As I sit in the comfort of my home, looking out the window at the gently falling rain, I am reminded of that which will benefit from the rain. The grass will grow and become green. The flowers will continue to grow and blossom and bloom, bringing beauty into my life. All things will be refreshed and made clean. All things will work together to provide for God's children the beauty of the earth and joy to our lives.
I am reminded of the chorus of a favorite hymn (Hymn 98, "O Lord, My God")
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee;
How great thou art, how great thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee
How great thou art, how great thou art!
God, in his greatness, continues to persuade us to follow him by allowing the Holy Ghost to refresh us continually, to support our desire to serve him and do his will, to share the beauty of his gospel, the eternal plan of salvation, and the promise of Zion.
It can be easy to be discouraged in our journey of life. The Lord has given us encouragement and counsel in latter-day revelation:"....My work will not be frustrated, and be assured you are among those chosen to bring to pass my kingdom in these last days" (D&C 151:5b). ".... Seek me in your quiet places and you shall have peace in your souls" (D&C 154:4b).
Then Presiding Patriarch, Elbert A. Smith, shared this counsel in 1940: "Great opportunities are before us, and great responsibilities. There are dangers that must be reckoned with. There are tasks too great for us to accomplish of ourselves. But remember the song that we often sing; 'Though the task be great that lies before us, we trust in one divinely strong.'" May we be worthy to receive his blessings. Onward to Zion!
... The Quorum of Twelve
Apostle Donald W. Burnett, President
The news today is full of many people who think this country should do this or that. We have no shortage of opinions as to what would solve all the country's problems. Basically, the world would have you think the solution to all our problems is to have few or no rules at all; just let everyone do anything they want to do, and do it the way they want to.
BUT THIS IS NOT WHAT OUR LORD SAYS.
From the Book of Mormon: "And there shall be no disputations among you, as there hath hitherto been; neither shall there be disputations among you concerning the points of my doctrine, as there hath hitherto been; For verily, verily I say unto you, He that hath the spirit of contention, is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger one with another;" (3 Nephi 5:29-30).
We are not to contend with the world even if we know they are not following the laws of God. We are to become a peculiar people, different from the rest of the world, in that we love our Lord and love all people as we love ourselves. We are to set an example for the rest of the world to aspire to. This we cannot do if we are contending with others.
We have been commanded in the Doctrine and Covenants, "Verily I say unto you, All among them who know their hearts are honest, and are broken, and their spirits contrite, and are willing to observe their covenants by sacrifice; yea every sacrifice which I, the Lord, shall command, they are all accepted of me," (D&C 94:2f).
The world will continue to debate and argue with each other over everything under the sun; but we are to follow the commandments of the Lord and be about the business of building Zion. Let us remember the Remnant Church's mission statement and continue "...to prepare and gather a righteous people for the building of the kingdom of God on earth, Zion."
...The Quorum of High Priests
High Priest David Van Fleet, President
The Conditions for Spiritual Blessings
As was reported from this desk in the last Hastening Times, the high priests have been
studying topics related to the administration of spiritual things, as these are their responsibility per Doctrine and Covenants, Section 104. When referring to the prerequisites for spiritual blessings and spiritual gifts, the Scriptures frequently cited point specifically to faith as the necessary condition. For example, Moroni 10:14 is often quoted: "And I would exhort you...that all these gifts...which are spiritual, never will be done away, even as long as the world shall stand, only according to the unbelief of the children of men.." Verses such as this one and Moroni 7:41-42 are very easy to understand and have been used to identify the requirement for these gifts as almost exclusively being faith.
It is important to note that the scriptures also indicate there are other qualifications that must be realized, and these should also be considered. In the Third Book of Nephi 4:1, we read that the keeper of the record (who was Nephi) was a just man who performed many miracles. The next verse reads, "And there was not any man who could do a miracle in the name of Jesus, save he were cleansed every whit from his iniquity." To be just means to be righteous, and to be cleansed also suggests one that is purified from sin. Righteousness is therefore also a requirement in order to dispense spiritual blessings. In Mormon 1:14, we read, "But wickedness did prevail upon the face of the whole land...and the work of miracles and of healing did cease, because of the iniquity of the people." Here the opposite condition, that of wickedness, is sufficient to prevent spiritual blessings from being received. A similar description can be found in D&C 38:3b, where the "powers of darkness...causeth silence to reign, and all eternity is pained,"
A continued reading beyond the first verse quoted above, Moroni 10:14, shows that while faith is mentioned first, the conditions of hope and charity are also listed. Perhaps the use of the term, faith, by the prophets at least occasionally implies an expanded definition of the term. Alma 16:217-218 speaks of "faith unto repentance," illustrating that faith is more than mere belief and that behavioral change is mandatory. D&C 70:3d describes generosity as another requirement for spiritual blessings. The saints enjoy the Lord's blessings in our worship now, but a comprehensive adjustment of our lives to conform to all of the Lord's commandments will enable the Spirit to be poured out in greater measure, and its gifts and fruits to bless the saints with wisdom, charity, and power. With these enabling strengths, the work of the kingdom can go forth with great success.
...The Quorum of Priests
Priest Keith Cruickshank, President
The Quorum of Priests met on November 19, 2016. We discussed how the Aaronic Moments were going and how to improve our home visits. We also talked about revising the Priest's Manual.
Upcoming events for the Quorum of Priests include meetings on the third Saturday of the month, except for February and June when we will not meet. All meetings will be held in the Conference Room of The Remnant Church Headquarters building at 10:00 a.m. Central Time. All who cannot attend, are able to call in. Call-in information will be included in the email meeting reminder. Please contact church headquarters to be added to the email list.
...The Missionary-In-Training Coordinator
Apostle Terry Patience, MIT Coordinator
It is time to begin a new year, and the MIT program is moving forward. I realized, during the events of 2016, that the teams needed some training on how to talk to the un-churched and those who are coming to the events from other denominations. I heard statements like, "I don't need to go to church," "I don't believe in God," "I'm already saved, and I know where I'm going," or, "There's no ultimate truth, so won't all churches get me to heaven?" The list is long. Because of this, I felt the need to prepare an in-depth course designed to discuss and put into practice the skills of discussing the answers to the questions the world is considering, as well as helping us understand what other churches believe and why. Hopefully, this will make us better missionaries. Writing the course material is now a major focus.
I am planning on making more weekend retreats available during 2017. Some were held in the Center Place and in Sperry, Oklahoma. If you would like to have an all-day class in your branch, let me know. We will put it on the calendar.
I also need your help by providing me with community activities with which we can tie MIT events. As I described in the last issue, we had three such events last year. These are a good way to greet people and let them know more about your branch and the gospel. The most difficult part of today's missionary work is finding people to listen to the gospel story, so we must keep up the effort. I'm planning on repeating the events from last year for just that reason.
If you are interested in becoming a Missionary-In-Training, let me know. I would especially like to have people who can stay in a place for a short visit and do the work! Nothing helps a person grow in the gospel like understanding what to share, planning when to share, and actually meeting the people. The world needs the message of Christ's church; it just doesn't always realize it.
...The Women's Council
Marci Damon, Chairperson
The members of the council would like to thank all the women for their support of the activities and programs that were presented in 2016. We hope that the programs and activities we present in 2017 will also be of benefit to the women of the church. Please be watchful of upcoming events on the website page as well as in The Hastening Times.
The council has information for the saints to read on the church's website. If you go to the Remnant Church home page and then click on the leadership tab, you will find the "Women's Council" option. If you click on "Women's Council," it will take you to our page where you will find our mission statement, links to the biographies of the council members, a description of our Prayer Warrior program, and links to our educational program. The Prayer Warrior program presents a monthly prayer request which we are asking the women specifically, but everyone can participate, to pray for during their daily prayers. The educational program includes articles about disaster preparedness. There will be three articles presented: "Disaster Preparedness Plan," "72-Hour Kit," and "Food and Water Storage." We encourage you to visit the website often; there is much information to be had.
In February, the women had a Prayer Brunch. We encouraged all women who could, to come and join in a time of fellowship and prayer. The council coordinated with women's leaders in the branches to have the women, as much as possible, gather together and pray at the same time over the same topics.
We also encourage the women to come participate in the Women's Reception at conference. At that time the council will be presenting a new program that will be starting in September. The council members are excited about this new endeavor and respectfully request all women who can to be present for this presentation.
Ardyce Nordeen, Media Outreach Coordinator
The Media Outreach Team is very active right now. Our Livestreaming Team has been stepping up to keep weekly services going out over the Internet. They are a diligent group and work behind the scenes to bring a special ministry. Moments With the Master, our daily devotional, is entering the third year of production. We are moving into the digital age with it, also, by offering an email version as a subscription option. So far, that hasn't been the favored choice, but as we move ahead, we expect to be able to reach more young people via their phones, tablets, and computers. Contact us if you know someone who would like to receive a daily page of encouragement and testimony online.
Our biggest news is the Remnant Church video, which is in production now on a daily basis. We have "borrowed" the Conference Room at the Headquarters Building, and have set up a video production studio. In this space, Jim VunCannon, Ardyce Nordeen, and Terry Patience are collaborating to complete this vital contribution to our outreach resources. Your prayers for all of these efforts are gratefully appreciated!
...The Music Director
Barbara Sherer, Music Director
As I write this article, I am wondering how many have tried using the "Hymn of the Month" for their personal worship or worship services. I would love to hear from you at conference. The "hymn of the month" thru June is given below. Pastors and music directors, please continue to encourage the membership to use this worship tool.
April: Hymn 532, "Join with Us in Sweet Accord"
May: Hymn 611, "Lift Up Your Voice"
June: Hymn 504, "Teach Us, O Lord, True Brotherhood"
Attention all music directors, interested musicians, and desirous song leaders. We have a meeting at conference just for you! Come join us for lunch on Friday. Hors d'oeuvre's and dessert will be available. If you have paid for a conference lunch, bring it to the meeting. Watch for more information at conference.
...The Religious Education Department
Beckie Hogan and Linda Burnett
With the new year and a return to regular routines, we are hopeful that your branch has started or is continuing the use of the church quarterlies for your Church School program. Pre-baptismal class material is also available if you have children who are approaching baptismal age.
If you do not have a catalog, please contact church headquarters. The catalog is online for ease of ordering.
Please contact us if you are in need of Vacation Church School materials or reunion materials for children.
We have a "listening notes" program available, which is in use for the children in the Center Place as part of a Church School incentive program. The "listening notes" is comprised of age-appropriate worksheets with an outline for the children to complete during the worship service. They receive points for turning in their papers at the end of the service (and in some branches a candy treat!) Incentive program points are accumulated and, while varying by branch, may result in the whole group having a party or recognition service with prizes for those who have attended Church School, worship services, turned in listening notes, and/or brought their scriptures to church. Please contact us if you would like to include some of these ideas or resources into your branch's Church School program.
Have a blessed and happy new year.