MIDWEEK MESSAGE #67
Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #67. What a wonderful break in the weather we had this weekend and so far this week! We also have two young ladies at Hilltop this week-Charli Wood and Bella Madorin. I’m sure they are glad for the nice weather.
Speaking of camp, Hilltop is doing some wonderful things this year. After last year’s COVID-related shut down, it is so cool to see camp in full swing. Ryan and Mala Croft are the directors and they have done a marvelous job maneuvering through last year and seeing that this year goes well. Lots of good things are happening and many victories are being won. I’m not sure how many total campers OVCF has sent but I can guarantee it is better than last year! 🙂
Just wanted to let you know of a couple important upcoming events for Sunday morning. On August 1st, we will be hosting a group from Chi Alpha (CA). For the past two years we have supported Steve & Katie Averitt in their work with CA. Katie was an OV girl so we had a connection with her. However, they have decided to leave CA and put their influence for Jesus at work in the marketplace. They recommended someone to us who has been with CA and at IU for a while. Pastor Ryan, Diana and I met with Derek Britt for lunch on Monday, the 12th, and were impressed with him, his family’s commitment to Christ, and the ongoing work of CA at IU. Along with Derek and his family, there are two other families heavily involved with the ministry at IU. So we invited them to come and meet you (and you them) and to hear of their outreach at IU. I don’t work outside the church setting, and I don’t attend college, especially one as challenging as IU, so I am admire anyone who wants to share Jesus on a college campus. I sincerely hope you will desire to hear more and will come and support these three couples who are committed long-term to CA at IU.
If that isn’t enough, I have been telling you for over a month about Mike, Trisha and Ryan Laws coming on August 29th. Mike donated his kidney to Ryan just over 2 months ago and they allowed me to enter into their journey with them. They were part of the church in Sandusky, OH (where I pastored before moving here in 11/05) before they moved to Dublin, OH (not Ireland) where Mike joined the police force. He has been there 17 years. When they moved from Sandusky, Brooklyn, their daughter, was about a year old. So it was cool being able to renew a relationship which had not been active for 17 years. Brooklyn is heading off to West Virginia University as a freshman and Ryan is starting high school. That almost never happened when a mysterious kidney disease sabotaged his, and their life. 18 months later Mike gave his kidney to his son. They have a tremendous testimony to share of God’s faithfulness and goodness and we have an opportunity to hear it firsthand. That is also a 5th Sunday so the children will be with us that morning. What a fantastic opportunity for them to hear about God’s work in a teenager’s life!! I’m planning on going over there next week to be with them and to work on the plan for that morning (and yes, we might get to see our grandson while there), but I am already stoked about that morning.
Update for you: Monday the Building Team met with Josh Smith to further pursue what a new building will look like for us. He came with a 2-D computer drawing of what an addition could look like. After an hour and half, we dismissed but not before there was a palpable excitement growing with the team. We will continue tweaking the design and customize it for us and then we will fill you in on it. Josh will present a 3-D animated walk-through for us all to see. But please understand this is not going to be an overnight process. We will need to consult an architect, plans will have to be submitted to him and then the state, approval will have to be given, and then we can proceed with any physical work. As of this past Sunday, our Building Fund is just shy of $130k. That is good seed money! With the preliminary work which needs to be done, we will need to continue to raise funds. 🙂 We will go slowly, pray to make wise decisions, and follow God’s leading and plan for our future. At this point, we see us doing the addition in stages. I just wanted to keep you informed as to where we are in the dream.
One last thing related to that: it is easy to say, “Who am I? What can I do? What can I give? I hardly have enough to make ends meet let alone help financially.” While financial help is crucial (obviously) there is one thing you can do: PRAY. You will never hear me begging for money from the pulpit. I am not going to visit someone and shake their hand while the other is fishing for their wallet. That is not me at all! But I will beg you to pray for me. I will beg you to pray for the church leaders. I will beg you to pray for the youth program. I will beg you to pray for our outreach. I will beg you to pray for wisdom about our future. I will beg you to pray for the church’s commitment to the Gospel. And I will beg you to pray for our stand for the truth. Jesus used the gift of a widow (a widow’s mite) and compared it to the oversized and ostentatious gifts of the religious leaders to make a point: it is not how much a person gives but the size and focus of his/her heart which really matters. To use Jesus’ words: “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.” (Mark 12:43-44 NASB 2020). To quote Bob Goff: “Every unselfish act of love whispers God’s name.” (Quoted in Live in Grace-Walk in Love– p. 108). From the smallest to the biggest, if God is in it, there is no telling what He can do. I believe that with all my heart.
I have one last thing: among all the prayer requests we make weekly, I have two I‘d like to make. Many of you know I was struck by a hit-and-run driver in November of 2016 while riding my bike. I recovered fairly well, but the past two months have revealed there is a long-term residual issue from it. I see a doctor today for my hip and hopefully will receive a solution. The other: on June 3rd I was broadsided at the Junction intersection (hence the odd car with the Florida plates). I have an MRI on my surgically-repaired neck next Monday. Your prayers would be appreciated. Thanks.
Also, please keep praying for Pastor Ryan as he helps with his father during his illness.
I hope you are continuing to read the chapter in Mark ahead of time. This week please read Mark 4 in preparation for the sermon. See you then!
Have a great rest of the week. Remember you are loved.