Second Thoughts: Too Busy for the Bible?

“Many Teenagers are recognizing that the Bible speaks to the complete human experience. No matter what age of human history you live in it speaks to their struggles, trials, and triumphs of life.”

In assembly this week, Mr. Frank read us a quote from a Barna Research study. According to Barna the number one reason for a decline in Bible reading among teens today is that “they are too busy with life’s responsibilities” to regularly read their Bible (“Over-Scheduled Teens”, Christian News Wire). This simple fact got me thinking. Are my Bible reading habits affected by the busyness of life? Do I prioritize “life’s responsibilities” over daily Bible study? Am I too busy to read the Bible?

“53% of teens say they wish they read the Bible more…sometimes they are stumped just to know how to go about doing that.”

Mr. Frank also read us a quote published by Christian News Wire regarding the dilemma for teens in Bible study: “As America’s teens head back to school and the lazy days of summer officially come to a close, new research released today suggests that the Bible reading suffers from teens when teens lead busy, overscheduled lives” (“Over-Scheduled Teens”). There is no doubt that in today’s world we live fast-paced, often hectically scheduled lives. The obligations of school, work, events, and activities quickly fill our days from morning to evening. But how do we make sure all the activities, and clutter of life does not overrun our time to drink in of God’s word?

“Read and Study the Bible in a regular, structured, planned method”

One Mr. Frank’s tips for Bible study suggests part of a practical solution. He told us to take advantage of any “down-time” we may have to do some deep Bible study. Truthfully, when I have a bit of unscheduled time I don’t always think of getting out my Bible first. But as I consider it, as Christians we should have God’s word at the forefront of our minds, and what better way to make productive use of our time then to spend it with God? So, in reflection of Mr. Frank’s comments, how can we make sure we aren’t “too busy to read the Bible”?


Want some tips for productive Bible Study? Check out Mr. Frank’s five methods of studying the Bible that he suggests to dig into God’s word!

  1. Read the Bible through – From cover to cover! Try Mr. Frank’s Bible Reading Plan to get started!
  2. Book Study – Discover the context! Ask: Who wrote it? To whom was it written? When was it written? Why was it written? Where do the events take place? Where was it written? What is the style?…etc
  3. Chapter Study – Understand the context, and study it verse by verse! (Try Heb. 11; 1 Cor. 13; Ps. 23; Eph. 6)
  4. Biographical study – Choose a character!
  5. Topical study – Grab a concordance! Or, try a Topical Bible

The Historic Town of Charleston

Living Education-Charlotte students had an exciting and educational trip to Charleston this past weekend (October 27-28 2018). On our way to Charleston, we visited the Walterboro Congregation in South Carolina where we were welcomed by Mr. Whitaker (a Pastor) and the brethren. Inspired by the sermonette and sermon, we spent time after church service fellowshipping and enjoying a delicious meal prepared by the Walterboro congregation with a southern hospitality.

Sunday morning (7:30 AM) we left for Charleston. Arriving at the National Park Service, we went aboard the “Carolina Belle” boat tour to Fort Sumter. As we crossed the chilly and breezy Charleston harbor, the boat captain explained to us the rich history of the Charleston observatories and other points of interest in the surrounding area. When we arrived at Fort Sumter, many of us were privileged to participate in the raising of the flag on the Fort. We also were able to view many canons and weapons of war which had been used at the fort during the Civil War. Our tour concluded with an orienteering game in which we participated as we walked through the beautiful and historic town of Charleston discovering landmark buildings.

Second Thoughts: A Story About Work

“When you’re working hard and productive you’re happy.” – Mr. Gaylyn Bonjour

The Mail Processing Department here at headquarters is a bit like the front lines. Walking into MPD, the smell of fresh paper immediately pervades the senses, as the sight of stacks of crisp new envelopes to be stuffed, the whir of the printer putting addresses onto new cards for the semi-annual or for some other letter or offer, and the mechanical clicking of “Millie” (the envelope stuffer) give the feeling of a busy and productive environment. More than that, there is a certain passionate focus and warmth which brings a certain awareness that here, God’s work continues on. MPD is the last stop for every piece of mail sent out to the world, a fact which requires serious dedication and unity in spirit to do the job properly (as is required of all those who are a part of the work of God).

“There is profit in all labor.”

As Mr. Bonjour emphasized, when a person diligently applies himself to his work, there is a certain peace of mind and sense of accomplishment which comes by no other means. Proverbs talks about diligence as being “a man’s precious possession” (12:27) and the man who has it will be blessed (10:4). Doing the work of God requires diligence, and hard work, and there is no exception for the Mail Processing Department. In the words of Darren Brinson, one of the team-members in MPD, “We get to be physical and active, we get to see the names of people subscribing, to interact with members across the world, its cool to be in a facet that touches so many different areas.” Understanding the importance of being diligent in the work, Darren adds: “Whatever area you find yourself in, whether it’s working at headquarters, or being in the field, or a donor, or whatever, there is something important in it, as long as you are a part of it, and have your heart in it.”

“We work together as a team no matter what.”

Those in MPD seem to understand the necessity for teamwork. Many of the tasks in the department have overlap between members of the team. All the members have a function, but they cannot accomplish what they are meant to do without the help of all the other members. “We are in this together,” speaks Donald Matherly on the importance of teamwork, “We have to be able to help one another, and pull other members up.” The body of Christ works in a similar way, as every part of the body has a purpose and a function, yet cannot exist separately from the other parts. God gives different members of the body various roles and talents “…for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:12-13). God is creating a family, perfecting and molding every piece to perfectly fit together for the fulfillment of His great purpose.

Second Thoughts: What does water skiing have to do with following God?

“Following God is like water skiing” – Mr. Phil Sena

If you have ever been water skiing, you understand the exhilarating feeling of being pulled up out the cold water from the abrupt, powerful tug of the speeding boat ahead of you.

With the spray from the wake hitting your face, the wind whipping against your legs, every muscle tightens to brace against the choppy water under your skis. You feel the urge to pull your arms back against the rope, but knowing that if you try to pull, you will fall, you lock your arms and tighten your already burning grip on the rope handle. You begin to settle into the pace, finding an even balance on the skis, using your knees as shock absorbers to the chop, when without warning, the boat suddenly turns, sending you flying out toward the rough edges of the wake. White knuckled, you allow the boat to pull you over the jagged water, and just when you think you might fall, you are outside the wake, skis skimming smoothly across the calm water. Celebrating this small victory, you relax your grip slightly, perhaps even let go with one hand to wave at the spotter. You would love to stay outside of the wave forever, but inevitably you will have to go back across the choppy water. You once again grasp the rope firmly with both hands to prepare for the quick turn of the boat, which sends you flying across the whitecaps to the other side of the wake.

“Keep your knees bent…be ready for anything, expect the unexpected”

When you ski, you must always keep your knees bent. It helps you absorb the shock of bouncing over the chop. As the water behind the boat is not smooth, similarly life is not always smooth sailing. In life you must learn to take things in stride, and be ready for anything that may come your way. Keeping your knees bent keeps you balanced, and in life being prepared for the unexpected does as well.

“Keep your hands on the rope…Stay tied to God”

The most fundamental way to stay above the water when skiing is to never let go of the rope. In life we can never let go of our relationship with God. We must hold on to Him tightly, for He is our lifeline. He is the One who leads us through the trials and tests that come in life, for if we let go, we will fall. When you are about to cross the wake while skiing, you must tighten your grip to make it across safely. Similarly, when experiencing a difficult trial in life, we must draw closer to God and He will see us through (2 Peter 2:9). As Mr. Phil Sena told the students in assembly, “Stay tied to God, and He will take you through anything that you go through in life.”

*Photos from the Living Youth Program, TX Teen Camp, 2017

Second Thoughts: Serving Connections


“When we are members of the God-family, and there are millions and billions of us, we will have connections with certain people because of the relationships we started in this life.” – Dr. Scott

Dr. Scott Winnail told us in this week’s assembly, “Look for opportunities to serve in the local congregation.” No matter the size of our congregation, taking the time to get to know the brethren, to learn what is going on in their lives, we will better understand their needs, thus shining light on the ways in which we can serve them. Serving others can be as simple as mowing an elderly person’s lawn, or reaching out to speak with someone new after services. We can begin to build relationships with each other through even seemingly insignificant actions of service.

“Some of the neatest relationships I’ve had with brethren have actually been made far better by visiting them in hospitals” – Dr. Scott

A man in the local Charlotte congregation was hospitalized several years ago after breaking his back. Dr. Scott made an effort to visit several times while the man was in the hospital. “Our relationship grew from that point,” Dr. Scott expressed thoughtfully, sharing that the connection he had made in those visits lead to the man coming to visit him and his family at home, going out together for dinners, assisting with projects at the man’s home, and even opening the doors for students from Living University to help him out in a variety of ways. While visiting someone in a hospital might seem like a small thing, one simple action with a heart of service can make a lasting impact.

“The relationships we build today…are relationships that will continue forward for eternity. So the friendships we begin to make, at this point in our lives, we’re going to have forever to build on, but starting them is really important.” – Dr. Scott

Dr. Scott reminded those of us attending the assembly that the connections we build today, sometimes through serving, have the potential to last forever. What are some simple ways we can reach out to others in our congregation to build lasting relationships?

Second Thoughts: To Be a Pioneer

“You are pioneers. You will be an example…” – Mr. Gerald Weston

When we begin working on something original, involve ourselves in a brand new project, venture into undiscovered or unknown territory, or even to step out of our comfort zone to be part of something bigger than ourselves, we become adventurers, inventors, pioneers. For the students in this first semester of the Living Education – Charlotte program, they have courageously stepped into the experience, accepting the task as pioneers in a new era of education in the church.


“We didn’t choose a time of entering this world…it was chosen for us.”


Pioneer: (n) “a person who is among those who first enter or settle a region, thus opening it for occupation and development by others.” (
While this may be the dictionary’s answer, what does it really mean to be a pioneer? What kind of responsibilities does pioneering require?


Addressing the fourteen, on-campus students of their involvement with the brand-new Living Education Program, Mr. Weston began, “I am going to explain to you the importance of your pioneering experience.” He continued by describing his experiences, and observations from his time at Ambassador College in the 1960’s. He related the lessons he learned there, to take care of others, of carefully following instructions and working within designated parameters, to carefully prioritize, and to dress professionally and modestly, in order to inspire the students to be mindful of how they conduct themselves as pioneers of the program.

“What we want to do here at Living Education is to be part of creating a culture of purity, honor and respect…a culture means more than one person.”

Mr. Weston encouraged the students to embrace and help establish good traditions at Living Education such as to enjoying Friday night dinners, building good habits of prayer and study into your daily routine, exemplifying of a high standard of living to your neighbors by keeping care of your property. To be an excellent pioneer means humbly embracing the role, developing a personal honor code, and understanding that a pioneer’s example continues far beyond the time they perform the part.



Books mentioned:
Dress for Success” John T. Malloy
When Character was King” Peggy Noonan

Second Thoughts: Christian Discipline by Making Your Bed?

From Left: Collin Winnail, Tressie McNair, Mr. Richard Ames, Francesca Rodino, Thomas White

Yesterday, the Living Education students had the opportunity and privilege to hear Mr. Richard Ames speak at our weekly assembly. He based the title for his speech “Make Your Bed and Practice Godly Discipline” from Admiral William H. McRaven’s #1 New York Times Bestseller, “Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World”. Mr. Ames expounded on McRaven’s first two principles, discussing how beginning each day with a task completed, and making your bed every morning demonstrates discipline in your life. He explained the relevance of these principles for the on-campus students, illustrating with personal examples the disciplinary benefit of implementing even such a simple task as making your bed into your daily routine.

Read more

Living Education-Charlotte Orientation Schedule

Today we welcome our new students!

If you’d like to review the Orientation Schedule, just check it out below…


HQ: Living Ed Students Meet & Greet

It’s hard to believe there are only a few days left until classes begin for 2018! As we kick off the new year, we will be welcoming 14 new students from all over the country to join us for the inauguration of our brand new Living Education – Charlotte Program. We are all very much looking forward to the opportunity to receive these wonderful young people into our Charlotte HQ community, excited to see what skills and talents they will bring and share with us as we move ahead.

We would like to give the new students a warm, Charlotte welcome and also give them a chance to meet the members of the Headquarters’ team from the outset. To give occasion for such an experience, we are inviting all the staff at Headquarters for a Meet and Greet Luncheon with the Living Education on-campus students. You will find the details provided below.

What: Living Education – Charlotte: Meet & Greet Luncheon

Where: Upstairs Staff Meeting Room – Living Church of God HQ building

When: Monday, August 13 @ 12:00-1:30pm

On the menu: Mouth-watering chili, and tasty green salad


Whether you plan to stop by for a bite to eat or not, it is our hope that all will join us for a few minutes to say a cordial hello to the new students and to give them a chance to get acquainted with the HQ team as well. We are so excited for this wonderful opportunity to begin the new year on a high note! Thank you for your support!

See you there!

Library: Au Courant with Science and Archaeology!

Last week’s TWNow (Episode 70) was hosted by Assistant Director of the Living Education program, Dr. Scott D. Winnail. The title was “Does God Hate Science?” and the panel guests were Mr. Gerald E. Weston and Mr. Wallace G. Smith. Hopefully you had a chance to view it, but if not, it is still available as the most current program; it will be moved to the archive after this week’s program airs live on Thursday.

Since the topic of science is currently “front-and-center,” you may be interested to learn that the Library carries a variety of scientific magazines that are available for perusal by the headquarters staff and the new on-campus Living Education students. This week we would like to highlight some of the scientific journals that grace our shelves. While some of these publications are subscriptions carried by the Library, others are faithfully and consistently donated by Mr. and Mrs. Ames, Mr. and Mrs. Davis, and others.

Some science titles include:
Astronomy, Discover, Popular Science, Science News Magazine, The Scientist, Scientific American, and Skeptical Inquirer.

In addition, we have an abundant collection of journals from one specific branch of science – archaeology.

Some archaeology titles include:
Ancient American (focusing on the Americas before 1400), Archaeology, Artifax (a quarterly journal on the Near East), Biblical Archaeology Review, and Kmt (a quarterly journal on ancient Egypt).

Be sure to visit the Library soon!