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Just thought I’d share

This is an article from one of our local newspapers here.

Local visitation market feels absence of Jehovah’s Witnesses

Thousands of convention-goers, and their dollars, in Atlanta for international gathering

A hole in the Columbus visitation market will be felt this summer. That’s because Jehovah’s Witnesses have taken a detour elsewhere.

The religious group, which has been flocking to the city each July, instead this year is taking part in an International Convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses in downtown Atlanta. They met last weekend at the Georgia Dome and are scheduled to be there again July 18-20.
“One of things we are missing this year is going to be the Jehovah’s convention,” said Peter Bowden, president and chief executive officer of the Columbus Convention & Visitors Bureau. “It’s a pretty significant piece of business for Columbus … We’re all working to try to recover from that so the hospitality sector doesn’t feel the hit when we go to look at our demand and occupancy.”
Jehovah’s Witnesses have been coming to the area for years, filling up hotel rooms, eating and shopping locally, and tanking up vehicles while holding their convention over two weekends at the Columbus Civic Center.
“That’s why they like Columbus because the Civic Center is a perfect fit for them,” Bowden said.
A year ago, the group was here the weekend after the Fourth of July and the weekend after that. A CVB booking report estimated attendance at about 7,500 for each visit, with a local economic impact of just over $1.3 million per weekend.
Attempts to reach various Jehovah’s Witnesses halls in the Columbus area were unsuccessful. But Bowden said he expects the convention group to return in 2015.
“They reassured us they would be back,” he said. “We feel confident that they enjoy being in Columbus, so we look forward to getting them back next year.”
In fact, the Jehovah’s Witnesses have already booked space at the Columbus Civic Center over two weekends in early July, said Ross Horner, director of the South Commons facility. There also are two smaller gatherings between now and then — Oct. 25 this year and May 16 next year — that could bring up to 3,000 or so attendees.
“They’ve been great partners,” said Horner, who has dealt with the group in other cities. “The relationship that we have with the Jehovah’s Witnesses here is the best that I’ve seen.”
Unlike the city as a whole, Horner said the loss isn’t a major one financially for the center since the concession stands aren’t operating during the conventions. Typically, most of the facility’s profit comes from sales of beer, soft drinks, hotdogs, pizza and other food and refreshments.
Still, the center won’t receive the “cleansing” it typically receives each summer as the Jehovah’s Witnesses arrive for their meetings.
“I’ve never seen a group do it as intensely as they do here,” Horner said. “They’ll come in the day before they move in and bring 100-plus people and they will clean this building. They even scrub the outside bricks. Our guys love it.”
Send out your light and your truth. May these themselves lead me. May they bring me to your holy mountain.—Ps. 43:3

In his Word, God has preserved for the use of his people the very name he chose for himself. The Scriptures first mention “Jehovah God” in “a history of the heavens and the earth.” (Gen. 2:4) God’s name was miraculously inscribed several times on the stone tablets bearing the Ten Commandments. For instance, the first commandment began: “I am Jehovah your God.” (Ex. 20:1-17) God’s name lives on because the Sovereign Lord Jehovah has preserved his Word and his name despite all satanic efforts to eliminate them. (Ps. 73:28) In his Word, Jehovah has also preserved the truth. Though religious error abounds worldwide, how thankful we are that God has given us spiritual light and truth! Whereas the masses of mankind walk in darkness, we joyfully keep on walking in God-given spiritual light.—1 John 1:6, 7. w13 2/15 1:2, 3

I am longing to see you, that I may impart some spiritual gift to you in order for you to be made firm.—Rom. 1:11.

What is an especially vital way in which elders show personal interest in their brothers and add to the congregation’s joy? By taking the initiative to reach out to those who need encouragement. (Acts 20:28) When elders do so, they imitate spiritual shepherds of old. Note, for instance, what the faithful overseer Nehemiah did when he saw that some of his Jewish brothers had grown spiritually weak. The account states that he immediately rose up and encouraged them. (Neh. 4:14) Today, elders want to do the same. They ‘rise up’—take the initiative—to help fellow believers to be firm in faith. To give such personal encouragement, they visit their brothers and sisters in their homes if circumstances allow. During such shepherding visits, they want to “impart some spiritual gift” to them. w13 1/15 5:10

The path of the righteous ones is like the bright light that is getting lighter and lighter until the day is firmly established.—Prov. 4:18.

In the modern history of Jehovah’s people, there have been landmark conventions—events that marked major developments in theocratic activities or Scriptural understanding. The first major convention that the Bible Students held after World War I was in 1919 in Cedar Point, Ohio, U.S.A. That gathering, attended by some 7,000, was marked by the launching of a global preaching campaign. In 1922, during a nine-day convention at the same location, dramatic impetus was given to this activity by Joseph F. Rutherford, who told his attentive audience: “The world must know that Jehovah is God and that Jesus Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords. . . . Therefore advertise, advertise, advertise, the King and his kingdom.” Attendees, and indeed God’s people worldwide, joyfully embraced that exhortation. w12 9/15 5:6

Is it for nothing that Job has feared God?—Job 1:9.

When we hear that a brother is reaching out for some privilege of service, do we readily believe that his motives are pure, or do we suspect that he is driven by self-interest? If we have a tendency to be cynical, it is good to remember that the Devil questioned the motives of God’s faithful servant Job. (Job 1:10, 11) Rather than being suspicious of our brother, we would do well to consider why we are critical of him. Do we really have good reason for being that way? Or has our heart been poisoned by the unloving spirit so prevalent during these last days? (2 Tim. 3:1-4) Another reason why we might be critical of others is that we desire to make our own accomplishments more noticeable. In effect, we may be attempting to look taller by pushing others down. Or we may be trying to excuse our own failure to take positive action. Whether pride, envy, or insecurity is driving us, the result is destructive. w12 8/15 3:5, 6

One thing I have asked from Jehovah— … that I may dwell in the house of Jehovah all the days of my life.—Ps. 27:4.

Jesus revealed that rendering acceptable worship to Jehovah would no longer be contingent on having one grand structure that was blessed by God. (John 4:21-23) The apostle Paul indicated inHebrews chapters 8 to 10 that a great spiritual temple came into existence at Jesus’ baptism in 29 C.E., when he presented himself to do Jehovah’s will. (Heb. 10:10) This great spiritual temple is the arrangement Jehovah has made so that we, through our faith in Jesus’ ransom sacrifice, can approach God acceptably. How do we worship there? By praying “with true hearts in the full assurance of faith”; by declaring our hope publicly without wavering; and by considering, inciting, and encouraging fellow worshippers at our congregation meetings and during family worship. (Heb. 10:22-25) Appreciation for the arrangement of true worship fortifies us in these critical last days. w12 7/15 3:7

I was making greater progress in Judaism than many of my own age.—Gal. 1:14.

Before Paul’s conversion to Christianity, he had what seemed to be a promising future. He had studied Jewish law with one of the most famous teachers of his day. He had received authority from the Jewish high priest. (Acts 9:1, 2; 22:3; 26:10) Yet, all of that changed when Paul realized that Jehovah was no longer blessing the Jews as a nation. Paul recognized that a career in the Jewish system had no value from Jehovah’s point of view; it had no future. (Matt. 24:2) This former Pharisee went so far as to say that compared with his new, enlightened understanding of God’s purposes and the privilege of the Christian ministry, what he once thought was important he now considered to be “a lot of refuse.” Paul abandoned his pursuits in Judaism and dedicated the rest of his days on earth to preaching the good news.—Phil. 3:4-8, 15; Acts 9:15w12 6/15 3:10, 11


Artist: Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of PA

Stop storing up for yourselves treasures upon the earth.—Matt. 6:19.

Some religious leaders have preached that it is wrong to strive after success and that all effort to succeed should be stifled. Note, though, that Jesus was not condemning all such effort. Rather, he was exhorting his disciples to redirect their effort, admonishing them to store up imperishable “treasures in heaven.” (Matt. 6:20) Our foremost desire should be to strive to be a success as Jehovah would view it. Yes, Jesus’ words remind us that we have a choice as to what we will pursue. The fact is, though, that we will pursue what is in our heart, what is of value to us. If it is in our heart to please Jehovah, we can trust that he will see to it that we have the things we need. Referring to our material needs, Jesus assured us: “Keep on . . . seeking first the kingdom and his righteousness, and all these other things will be added to you.”—Matt. 6:31-33w1212/15 1:13, 15, 16

I am not alone, because the Father is with me.—John 16:32.

Jesus acknowledged that there would be problems during the time of his presence, but he said: “Do not be terrified.” (Luke 21:9) With him as our King and with the Creator of the universe backing us up, we have every reason for confidence. Note some expressions of the strong conviction of God’s servants. David said: “Jehovah is my strength and my shield. In him my heart has trusted, and I have been helped, so that my heart exults.” (Ps. 28:7) Paul expressed his unwavering confidence, saying: “In all these things we are coming off completely victorious through him that loved us.” (Rom. 8:37) What is evident in these expressions? Each reveals unwavering trust in Jehovah. Our developing similar confidence in God can give us the courage to face any of today’s adversities.—Ps. 46:1-3. w12 10/15 1:14, 15