My recent trip to Charlotte

[EDIT: Before posting this, I want to point out that when I posted about Tim Tebow yesterday I had missed that we had a commentary out on the same subject! Go there and click through to Mr. Wakefield’s commentary if you have not. Don’t miss it!]

When you see that sign, you know you're in the right place!

I normally like to comment on my trips to Charlotte, but this one ended a bit differently since I flew into Columbus Friday and launched into a “regular” weekend without coming home first.  (Actually, a “regular plus” weekend, since it involved playing volleyball Saturday night and the use of muscles which had otherwise collected their gold watch and retired.)  Consequently, I am getting to my post-Charlotte-post a bit later than I planned.

It was a lovely trip, as usual! My thanks to the many of you out there praying continually for the Tomorrow’s World telecast–I appreciate it more than I can say. The first taping was titled “Your Incredible Future!” and offers our booklet Your Ultimate Destiny, and it went very well. I feel very passionately about the doctrine of man’s purpose and believe it really does have the potential to change lives, and I pray that people will request that booklet! The second taping was titled “Why Believe in God?” and offered The Real God: Proofs and Promises. This one I felt less comfortable about afterwards. I believe that the script and material I had was good, but I’m not entirely sure I really communicated it well. I cared so much about the topic and had done so much research, that I think my delivery fell a bit short of my hopes. I spoke with Mr. Ames the next day at lunch, and he made a comment or two that I really think will help me the next time I address this subject.

And yet hope springs eternal: The last time I felt this uncomfortable with one of my tapings was after “End Time Powers of the Middle East” which ended up producing a fantastic response from the audience and has become one of my favorites. In the end, it really is in God’s hands, after all!

The rest of my visit, before and after, was filled with reconnecting with the wonderful crew at headquarters and a few meetings. Tuesday, Mr. Meredith generously invited me to his weekly executive luncheon, as he often does with guests. Sitting there with Mr. Meredith, Mr. Ames, Dr. Winnail, Mr. Hernandez, Mr. Wakefield, and Dr. Germano as Mr. Meredith led the discussion of current events in the work and the Church and made decisions was a real treat. Mr. Meredith has shown symptoms of a bit of cold the day before (which he said was funny since he had just commented in his pre-fast video sermon about not having a cold in the last three years!) but was much better that day and ran the meeting like he always does. I had the chance to be in a meeting on Friday, as well, about Tomorrow’s World Special Presentation plans for 2012, in which Mr. Meredith wanted to share with some of us his goals and ideas for the next year’s campaigns. It was exciting to hear, and I appreciate the example he sets and the experience he brings having personally done so many live campaigns under Mr. Herbert W Armstrong.

I’ve said it before and will say it again: While Christ stubbornly refuses to run his Church with anything other than real, live human beings, what I see in Charlotte amongst those human beings He’s using is exactly what I pray that I would see — God’s government of love, both in structure and in attitude. These trips always encourage me in this way, and this one was no different. There are those out there who claim to practice “God’s government” when what they are doing, instead, is practicing carnal tyranny and self-glorification. Such individuals make a mockery of God’s real way of government and, in the end, bring misplaced disdain upon one of God’s gifts to His Church. Their fruit will be made more and more evident in its time, but until then I continue to be encouraged by what I see during my visits to Charlotte and the time I get to spend with the faithful folks who work there.

And so my thanks go out to those faithful folks! Thanks for making yet another trip a real pleasure and for setting such a great example! And thanks to the Tomorrow’s World crew for being so professional and for putting up with me for two more tapings! 🙂

10 thoughts on “My recent trip to Charlotte

  1. Michael O'Byrne

    Thank you for giving an insight into your trip to Charlotte and the earth-bound HQ of God’s work. It’s wonderful to hear how Dr. Merdith fulfills the great commission to which he was appointed and does so with such energy. I know you haven’t used those words, but what you have said and what I see it with my own eyes and hear with my own ears as I watch and listen to him deliver sermons and present the Tomorrow’s World programmes. He seems even more empowered since his stroke. Even the articles he writes for the Living Church News and the Tomorrow’s World programmes pulsate with power and energy. The brethren here in Ireland have recognized and acknowledged what I have just said. But this is not confined to Dr. Merdith. I have detected this happening for some time in all of the sermins, sermonettes, Tomorrow’s World programmes and articles in the two magazines. You have attributed this to the prayers of the brethren and you are right to do so because we are praying earnestly for what we are now seeing and hearing. I have no doubt that the Living Church of God is where the great work is being carried out and that the impact being made by all of the means of communication which God is using will increasingly bear fruit great as time goes on. You are in my own prayers daily as are all of the others who serve God so faithfully and I rejoice when I hear of the increasing numbers watching the Tomorrow’s World programme.

  2. John Wheeler (Johanan Rakkav)


    > In the end, it really is in God’s hands, after all!
    > While Christ stubbornly refuses to run his Church with anything other than real, live human beings…
    > There are those out there who claim to practice “God’s government” when what they are doing, instead, is practicing carnal tyranny and self-glorification. Such individuals make a mockery of God’s real way of government and, in the end, bring misplaced disdain upon one of God’s gifts to His Church. Their fruit will be made more and more evident in its time…

    To which I add three of my own quips:

    > God really does work with His human servants despite themselves, if necessary!
    > I often think that if God HAD raised up stones to be children to Abraham, they’d be doing a better job… 😉
    > And of course the classic quote: if God could use a donkey, He certainly can use you! 😀

    It’s wonderful to read such news. May God long continue the love-driven stability of His Work.

  3. Steven

    As far as I am concerned, if you want to use the ULTIMATE template for a telecast, you need to go back to the greatest TW program ever made. Back in 1999, Dr. Roderick C. Meredith put together a presentation titled “Insight into Christmas”. If you want to understand how to “attack” a subject in a powerful way, you have a look at that program!

    I still enjoy your work Mr. Smith, so just keep on doing what you are doing. Just remember, when we look in the right places, we are bound to continue to improve.

    P.s. Off topic – I still don’t know why you are an “Apple person”? I just bought a new top of the line DELL PC that will obliterate anything Apple has on the market. I don’t get it? Why continue to purchase inferior products? After all, the CIA, FBI, NASA and every other government agency and 95% of businesses use a PC. What other evidence does one need?

  4. Thanks, Steven, for your input and kind words. That was, indeed, a great telecast. The challenge is that in the second program I taped I was not trying to “attack” a subject, so I don’t think that template would have applied. Just as Paul strove to be “all things to all men” we strive for such variety in our broadcast, as well.

    As for your P.S., I will say: (1) Where in the world did you get the idea that I am an “Apple person”? I am typing this on my Windows 7-powered Samsung PC, and I have even done posts about my “pro-PC status” (see here and here). You seem to have a thing with jumping to conclusions… (2) Though I am a “PC Person” I do respect the quality of Apple products, and consequently I find your “obliterate anything Apple has on the market” comment to be funny. And (3) by citing the CIA, FBI, NASA, et al. to “prove” your point, you neglect an important truth: Computers are tools, and smart folks buy the tool that best fits their needs. Those you mentioned are number-crunching entities, and it is no wonder they would get PCs. But one could just as easily cite ILM, Pixar, etc. as “proof” that Macs are the most powerful at working with media. Choose your computer based on what you need to do with it, not based on what you see others using. Personally, in terms of hardware, I think the MacBook Pro is about the finest machine I’ve seen, and I would love to have a dead MacBook Pro carcass into which I could install Windows 7 — my own, beautiful Frankenstein’s monster. 🙂

  5. Steven

    The reason I referred to you as an “Apple person” is because I have noticed your constant mention of your “iPhone” device. Have you heard of Blackberry? It is a much more “Professional” product.

  6. Ah! Thanks, Steven, for clarifying. However, a number of those “PC people” you referenced happen to use iPhones, as well. Again, pick your tool based on your planned uses. I hope my previous explanation has disabused you of your assumption.

    I certainly have heard of Blackberry, by the way, and if they keep trying they might eventually have a phone as good as the iPhone, at least for what I want in a phone. (There is a reason that RIM has tried to imitate the iPhone instead of the other way around.) Until then, the iPhone it is. I was rooting for their tablet computer to be a good competitor for the iPad, though it ended up being a very poor product in comparison.

    Just because I am a PC guy doesn’t mean I should settle for an inferior product based on my needs. Again (again, again, again), choose your tool based on your need, not based on appearances — looking “professional” is not as important as meeting your needs.

  7. John Wheeler (Johanan Rakkav)

    Why “stop” with Mr. Meredith’s broadcast? Why not go a generation back and take one of Mr. Armstrong’s powerful broadcasts as a “template”?

    Take that with all the irony it’s meant to have (dump truck full of it now backing into your driveway, Mr. Smith 😉 ). As with computers, so with human personalities, form follows function. 🙂 Mr. Meredith values the different approaches the different broadcasters take, just as Mr. Armstrong valued the approaches the other broadcasters took in his day.

    “All things to all men” has to do with how we are sympathetic to the audience we approach. But even in the same genre – say, an “attack speech” – not everyone is going to use the same method to do this. We humans simply aren’t wired to be… well, anything but ourselves. There is Divine wisdom in this! A falsehood can be undercut as readily by Mr. Smith’s brand of ironic humor combined with intuitive logic as by Mr. Meredith’s moral rectitude coupled with a strong historical sense or by Mr. Armstrong’s data-oriented perception backed by strong value judgments. Some will respond to one or another approach better. Whatever gets the job done, we should use.

  8. You mentioned that on a previous occasion when you felt uncomfortable with your delivery of a broadcast, it brought in an unexpectedly large response. And now again, in this recent broadcast, you felt that your delivery fell a little bit short.

    Now, if by chance this second time you felt your delivery was less than your best you also get an very large response, consider that your deliver may actually be better on those occasions when you think it is flat.

    Just a bit of feedback. When I first saw your broadcast, I did not like your delivery. The script was fine, but you seemed to me to be forcing a false, exaggerated emotional emphasis. You weren’t just talking regular like one person talks to another, but you seemed to be trying to make a speech, and you did not sound sincere to my ears. Maybe that’s just me, but that was my impression. I suppose every listener reacts differently.

    But suppose others react the same way. It could be that by simply speaking to your audience in a normal voice without trying to put emotional emphasis in everything comes across as more natural and therefore more sincere.

    I have never met you, but I imagine if I were visiting your congregation and we engaged in some conversation, you would not be speaking in the tones you use in the broadcast. You would speak and sound like a regular person.

    Just my view, for what it is worth.

    One qualification. I have not been able to receive the broadcast on TV where I live for a while, so this is just my impression of your earlier broadcasts. You might be doing it differently today.

  9. Thanks, so much, for your feedback, Mr. Schaefer. I do think that the new program in question might have benefitted from that approach.

    Though, let me add that I don’t “work up” any sort of emotion for the telecast, and that what you see really is sincerely me. If it comes across oddly (and to some I’m sure it does), then it’s a good thing we have four presenters! 🙂 I’ve often said that I think one of the reasons God moved Mr. Meredith to use multiple presenters is to help us, like Paul, to be all things to all men, and all four of us seem to preach in accordance with our personalities. Sometimes I preach like I’m just talking to one person and sometimes like I’m talking to all 50,000 at once — I just try to be authentic and honest with how I really feel given the topic, time, and circumstance.

    Thanks, again!

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