Midweek Message 02/08/2023


Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #143! Animals are unpredictable in many ways. I cannot say enough how I hope Punxsutawney Phil is wrong this year. He supposedly is predicting 6 more weeks of winter. I vote for no more weeks of winter!  Anyone standing with me? J

Sunday was a special day for OVCF. On February 3, 2013 we were privileged to ordain Ryan East into the ministry. Pastor Ryan and Hope were already volunteering here at OVCF in the youth department, so as his heart for God and for youth became more and more evident, it seemed natural for him to move into this stage in his life. It was a big move to make though. He had a solid job with IUCU and 5 mouths to feed, but he and Hope were both willing to step out in faith and accept God’s call on their lives and our invitation to go full-time at OVCF. I have said it in the past and will continue saying it: calling Ryan to be part of the staff and leadership of OVCF is probably the best decision we have ever made. I’m glad there were some thoughtful people who foresaw his 10th anniversary and wanted to do something special to honor the occasion. I’m honored to call Pastor Ryan a friend, a comrade in arms serving OVCF together, and one I would trust with my life (he is a black belt in TKD). J  Thanks to the ladies who made Sunday a special day, and thanks to so many of you who helped in doing that.  It was also good to see some old friends come to share in the occasion. And thanks to the God who will forgive Hope for her little white lie to cover the truth of the occasion. J

Remember to pray for Jenny Hess this week. Jenny is our Educator of the Week and homeschools her two children: MiaRose and Meilynn. John and Jenny and the girls are newer to our church family, but many people here have known them for years.

I would like to ask for your prayers about something. I’m guessing many of you do not know that I have been asked recently by our new Owen County Sheriff, Ryan White, to be the chaplain for the OCSD. After speaking with him to get details, talking to Jo, the elders, and to Pastor Ryan and Diana (to get other opinions), I decided to accept that offer. While I feel somewhat unqualified in some areas, I also know there are some ways it is an extension of my ministry to people (counseling, helping those who may be grieving, etc). I did not take the decision lightly, and actually gave up one of my outside commitments to do this. Of course, no one knows how often I will be called upon to help in reaching hurting people with compassion, but when (not if) that time comes, I want to be available and ready.  Thanks for praying.

I share the above with you because I want you to know how much Pastor Ryan and I are trying to be involved in our community.

  • Did you know that Pastor Ryan visits the schools once a week to have lunch and visit with the students? He goes for no other specific purpose than to let them know he is willing to be where they are and to meet them on their turf.
  • Did you know that every month I read to the Kindergarten classes at PES, GES, and the three classes at SES? And did you know that Pastor Ryan reads every month to the two Kindergarten classes and to a Pre-K class at MCES? I’d like to get something like the   Real Men Read program into Owen County again with some reading help starting in September of ’23.
  • Did you know there are other areas we are involved in as well?

So…pray for us please! Pray we keep our priorities straight. And pray that we can touch lives with the love of Jesus without “preaching” to them.


To close out this issue of the MM, I’m going to borrow from a devotion I did on my “Living in the Shadow” blog on February 1:

I read a short blurb recently about how some years ago, 300 whales were found marooned on a beach.  Scientists speculated that the whales had been chasing sardines and became trapped in shallow water when the tide went out. By chasing little sardines, these gigantic creature were ultimately lead to their doom.

The application to us is easy to make. How many people do you and I know who are now or will get “beached” due to chasing little things? What makes it even worse is that it happens before we realize it.

I’m reminded of several Scriptures-both from the mouth of Jesus.

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” (Mt. 6:24)  {As an exercise, substitute another word for money-sports, fame, pleasure, people acceptance, etc. and see how it fits}

The other is found in the same chapter of Matthew: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Verse 33)

I’m sure you can add more Scripture. Like the book of Ecclesiastes. Like Matthew 22:37-38.

I will grant you that it is a daily battle. I know it is for me. To stay focused on that which is important-on WHO is important-on WHAT is important-is a titanic struggle of great magnitude. But it is one we must fight. To choose to chase sardines is a losing game. It only leads to “beached” lives. A dead end.

To choose to pursue God and His kingdom may not yield much fruit here on earth, but the reward is out of this world!

I love you all.

Pastor Bill





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