Midweek Message 05/05/2021

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #56

 

Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #56. I’m so glad to have this chance to visit with you. I hope your week is going well. If not, then I hope today’s “Hump Day” (don’t cue in that stupid GEICO commercial) will start a change in your week. I have a lot of different “stuff” for you to think about in this edition of the MM. I’m hoping there is something for everyone.

This Sunday is Mother’s Day (MD)!  I’m looking forward to spending the day honoring the woman who has put up with me for almost 48 years (June 16).  Her MD present has already been bought and used several times. So I’m off the hook of trying to figure out what to get her. 🙂 I can tell you though that she is most certainly looking out for you all.  (This is a “tell on Bill confession”).  A couple of weeks ago we were in bed when she asked me what I was going to preach on for MD. Oops! I had developed my “Eyes Wide Open” series and forgot to leave a special one for MD. So I came to the office the next morning and immediately made some changes in my sermon schedule and inserted one on mothers…the one I will preach this Sunday. Whew! She sure saved me from a last minute, “Oh no!” then a frantic pace trying to write a sermon at the last minute. And she saved you from a half-baked prepared sermon.

I am so excited to be working with the elders (Wayne Akerson, Jeff Carlson, and David Robertson) of OVCF.  Some people have the mistaken idea, usually because of previous experience, that the church is “run” by the pastor or pastors. What he/they say goes. They wind up almost like a dictator. OVCF is not “run” that way. We would say Jesus is our Head and the elders and pastors work together. In previous MMs, I would tell you how the elders are praying for you.  Monday night in the elders meeting, I said it had been 6 months since we implemented praying for all of you. For those unaware of what I’m talking about: I divide up the directory (this time into 19 names) and “assign” the names to each one and we commit to praying for you during the month. Monday night I asked if they wanted to continue the prayer and unanimously they said, “Yes!” That got me stoked! These guys care so much about you that they make it a practice to pray for you specifically. You are that important to us!

Look for next week’s MM for an important message and clarification. That’s all I’m going to say about that. 🙂

Did you know we are doing something right?  It’s always nice to hear something like that isn’t it? This past Monday I copied two blog posts (not mine) and shared them with the elders. They were by Karl Vaters, the pastor of a small town church. Both posts were about online church. One was how important it was, but also how inadequate it was. The other was about tracking attendance. We were not the only ones who had to go virtual when the pandemic hit. But I’m happy to say that we are definitely doing some things right! A big tip of the hat goes to our “Sunday Morning Live” crew! No names lest I forget someone, but you know who you are. THANK YOU!! Every Sunday we report in the bulletin how many were in physical attendance and also virtual. Those two numbers (according to the post) are to be counted separately. Check one for us. The only one we can’t track is who watches it later.

But here is where you can help. One of the important items we need to do is to have an online presence. What that means is simply acknowledging someone signing in and then contacting them to see how we might help them or if we can pray for them. That’s it. If needs are expressed then funneling them to the right channel is important. I’m looking for a few folks who might like to do that. Not every week but how often will be dependent on how many offer to help. Would you like to be an online presence for OVCF? Please let me know.

Have you heard about the Nursery and the 5th Sunday?  Sorry. You will have to wait until next week to learn more. 🙂

I want to leave you this week with something special, something that spoke right to the core of my being. I wrote it for my Living in the Shadow blog. (I’d be honored if you would take the time to subscribe to receive it in your email and read my daily devotion blog). Well, here it is:

I was blown away by words from a devotion I read Tuesday morning. Rather than babble on, I thought I’d just print them here. The words are from Day 5 of 40 Days of Love by Paul David Tripp.

“Don’t be discouraged today. No matter how alone you feel, you’ve been blessed with the Father’s love.”

“I love the depiction of God’s tender care in Isaiah 42:3: ‘A bruised reed he will not break, a faintly burning wick he will not quench.’ What a beautiful word picture! Imagine walking through the bush and coming across a young tree with a bent and almost broken limb hanging at a rather grotesque angle. You spontaneously complete the job, ripping the limb completely off. Your heavenly Father would never, ever be that thoughtless. He wouldn’t think of breaking you the rest of the way. He comes to you in grace to comfort, strengthen, encourage, and restore. His love toward you is tender and faithful. He is near you when it seems no one else is. He will care for you when no one else does. He will heal your wounds when no one around you seems to see how wounded you are. He will never mock or take advantage of your weakness. He will not let you go unnoticed or disregarded. If you are his child, it is impossible for you to be alone and unloved because your heavenly Father is with you and reaches out to you in tender, restoring love.”

He ends with these words: “Yes, life can be very hard, people can be very cruel, and at times you are left alone, but you are never completely abandoned because your Father is with you in tender, restorative love.”  (Pages 18-19)  {End of devotion}

 

I want to leave those beautiful words with you today. I hope they will sustain you through the rest of this week, as well as for the long haul. It has become a cliché the past year but you are not in this alone (and I’m not talking about the pandemic. I’m talking about life). With God’s help you got this. You and He can handle anything.

 

And I’ll close by saying that I love you all and I look forward to seeing you soon.

 

Pastor Bill

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