MIDWEEK MESSAGE #65
Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #65. I hope you had a wonderful Independence Day weekend. After reading some rather disgusting news reports about the disrespect given to veterans, our country and its flag, I relish even more living in this free country. Stay tuned for an article at the end of this MM.
Meanwhile #1: This Saturday is the Serving Owen County Together event taking place at the OV Middle and High School. There is much going on and we could use your help in making it a good experience for so many who need it in Owen County.
Meanwhile #2: July 17th is a ROOTS RECONNECT event. Pastor Ryan has put together a great outing! He is inviting the whole family to participate in a kayaking, exploring and a picnic at Sugar Creek. Please see Ryan for more information.
Meanwhile #3: Back to School Expo is July 24th at the Fairgrounds from 9:30-12 pm. This is a group effort of the schools and the Owen County Chamber of Commerce. Each child will receive a backpack full of school supplies but children must be present. OVCF will be making a financial donation to the Chamber to assist with the purchase of school supplies. So if you have or know of a child who could benefit from the Expo, make sure they or their parents know…or bring them yourself.
Meanwhile #4: Some folks are wondering about what the progress is toward a new building. COVID caused us to put things on pause but thankfully many of you still continued giving to the Building Fund. We have met twice since things have opened back up and we have continued our talks. Monday, July 19th we have our next meeting. We are meeting with someone who has the ability to put together building design options based on what we have relayed to him so far. He will be making a presentation and will listen to our input for making improvements. This project is important to so many of you and we have not forgotten. Please keep one thing in mind though. No matter how eager we are for a new facility where we can worship as one body, we do not plan to go into debt for it. We believe that is God’s way and we intend on that being the way with this new addition.
Finally, no more “meanwhiles.” 🙂 I read this blog from Pastor James Emery White of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC. Here you go:
On the 4th of July, I’m always reminded of times I’ve traveled in countries where freedom is severely curtailed. Or where the people have been freshly freed from the chains of injustice, and the joy of their release was palpable.
I was in Johannesburg on the 10th anniversary of the end of apartheid.
I was in Korea when the border between North and South was electric with tension.
My most powerful memory came from Moscow, where I was teaching shortly after the fall of communism.
One night a group of us went to the famed Bolshoi Ballet. It was a long, wonderful evening, and after we took the subway back to where we were staying, the students said, “Come and let us celebrate.” The other two professors with me were as tired as I was, but the students were so intent on our joining them, that we went.
And then we found out what celebration meant to them.
They wanted to gather in the dining room and sing hymns and worship God. And we did, late into the night, with more passion and sincerity than I have ever experienced. It didn’t matter that we didn’t know how to sing in Russian—we worshiped God together.
But I went to bed puzzled. I had never seen such passion for spontaneous and heart-filled worship. I was curious as to why they were so ready and eager to offer God love and honor. I received my answer the following Sunday when I was invited to speak at a church in North Moscow. A former underground church that met in secret (as so many churches had been), they were now meeting openly in a schoolhouse. I had been asked to bring a message that Sunday morning.
I didn’t know that I was in for a bit of a wait.
The service lasted for nearly three hours. There were three sermons from three different speakers, with long periods of worship between each message.
I was to go last.
When it was over, I talked a bit with the pastor of the church. I was surprised at not only the length of the service, but the spirit and energy of the people. Throughout the entire three hours, they never let up. In spite of the length of time, they never seemed to tire. Even at the end, they didn’t seem to want to go home.
“In the States,” I said, “you’re doing well to go a single hour before every watch in the place starts beeping.” (This was before smart phones.) He didn’t get my weak attempt at humor, but he did say something that I will never forget.
“It was only a few years ago that we would have been put in prison for doing what we did today. We were never allowed to gather together as a community of faith and offer worship to God. And we are just so happy, and almost in a state of unbelief, that we can do this now – publicly, together – that we don’t want it to end. And not knowing what the future might hold for us here, we know that every week might just be our last. So we never want to stop. So we keep worshiping together, as long as we can.”
As I left, his words never left my mind. I thought to myself, “I will never think about worship the same again. I’ve been too casual about it, too laid back, taken it too much for granted. These people know what it’s about – really about – and because of that, they have been willing, and would be willing again, to suffer for it. To be imprisoned for it. To die for it. Because they’ve discovered that it holds that high of a yield for their life. It has that much meaning and payoff and significance. It matters that much.”
And it should matter that much to all of us. (end of article)
Have a great week. Love you all and can’t wait to see you here or in the air.