Category: MidweekMessage

Midweek Message 06/16/2021

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #62

 

Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #62. I hope you and those you love are doing well.

 

Every once in a while it is good to look backwards (I don’t recommend it when cutting grass though, especially if you are “obsessed” with straight lines).  Okay, lasso me back into the corral (Diana is good at that with Ryan and me…mostly Ryan). 🙂  Seriously, it is good to look backwards from time to time.  I went back and looked at the very first MM I wrote. It was after the lockdown which asked us not to meet in person as a church body.  Here were my words: “Who’d a thunk it just a couple of weeks ago that meeting together would be our last time for who-knows-how-long?” My hope was that this MM would become a regular feature, be meaningful, informative, and a way to stay in touch. I feel it has accomplished its purpose. And I have honestly enjoyed writing it. For the longest time (what seemed like years) we were unable to meet in person, nor could I come to your house to visit, so this was one way to be “in your house” each week and you didn’t even have to make sure it was clean! That sounds like a win/win to me!! 🙂  This is now #62 and it is hard to believe that except for a week or two, this has come to your inbox. Long story short: I still hope you look forward to reading this and my attempt to communicate.

 

I have come to one conclusion though: doing the MM allows me the opportunity to expand on some things that we can only take a cursory swipe at on Sunday morning. For example…

  • This Saturday is Serving Owen County Together. I have been announcing this the past several weeks. We need helpers from 7-9 to help set up (you can leave after that if you want/need to). We need folks to help man the tents from 9-12 and 12-3. We also need helpers from 3-5 to help tear down everything. There is a break room with water and snacks if you need to go inside for a few minutes. Pass the word along for people to come and check it out, especially if you know people who need help. All items there are new, not used. Shoes, socks, furniture, clothing, food (That would make sense since who would want used food?), and feminine products.  I’m excited to be involved in this effort to serve our community. In fact, you will get to see my friendly (and good looking face…cough cough) as you drive in.  So…any help you can offer will be accepted.
  • This Sunday is officially the last day for the New Beginnings Pregnancy Resource Center’s “Change for Life” drive. If you took a baby bottle to fill, I’d like to remind you to return it. If you prefer, you can donate online.
  • I want to give a huge shout out to those who have been keeping our lawn cut at OVCF. Each week it has been looking really nice. At the end of the season we will include a big a thank you! There are still a few spots which need filled so your help would be appreciated.

 

This past Sunday, if you were here, you know we went back to serving communion by passing the trays. We will have some of the sealed cups in each tray for those who still want to use them. We have decided to NOT pass the offering plate. There will continue to be a basket on the back table for your offering. You can also donate online or put your offering in the mailbox by the east door.  Thank you, thank you, thank you for your consistent giving and generosity!!

 

In the first service I mentioned Ryan’s week at camp. I failed to at the second. Pastor Ryan and Hope, Linda St. John, Cassie Lehmann, Westin Linville and Macy Carlson are all faculty for Ryan’s Senior High week of Wilderness Camp. There are several young people from OVCF who are campers: Micah Nally, Hannah Pendleton, and Mollie Wainscott. You may want to pray for them!  (Makes you wonder who the “them” is, doesn’t it? Try both). I also heard we had a couple campers the previous week-Kalissa Hamlin and Tatum White.  Sorry I missed you both. You have permission to whip me with a wet noodle. 🙂

 

Each week we bring people to you to pray for.  Mike & Ryan Laws have been on our prayer list ever since I found out Ryan needed a kidney transplant. (He is now 15). Mike donated his kidney to his son. Mike texted me Saturday night and said Ryan is doing phenomenally and has started playing soccer. The plan at this point is to bring them to OVCF on the 5th Sunday in August to share their testimony of God’s goodness.

 

You will get this MM on Wednesday, June 16th. I will be out of the office that day since I was threatened with bodily harm if I wasn’t. (Just kidding. Jo is not a violent person).  We will be celebrating our 48th anniversary that day. We don’t have much planned since next week we, along with Tami, will be heading to Ohio to see Braden, our grandson, play some baseball (Wednesday and Thursday nights). I can say we will be stopping at Hilltop to visit the campers. I’m honored to have spent 48 years with my college sweetheart. I’d be lying if I said it was all peaches and cream or that I was the perfect husband (far from it). But I can testify to God’s grace and goodness in giving me the woman I needed.  Our first ever trip away where no one knew us was gifted to us by someone in the church in 2017. It will be two years this September since you blessed us with the trip to Alaska-what I consider an early anniversary gift. It was the trip of a lifetime. I am also not shy in saying I would go back in a heartbeat. 🙂  We dodged a bullet though since we initially thought about going in 2020, but went in 2019 instead. Whew! So this year we will take it easy. Visit the folks at camp. Find some place to eat (Jo’s one mandate). And enjoy the day together.

 

My words are not few and therefore my space is up. I changed the font so I will have room to include this message on one page. Miracles still happen! I succeeded. Have a great week.  I love you all.

 

Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 06/09/2021

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #61

Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #61. Thanks for allowing me into your inbox. I hope this edition is informative and educational and maybe even some fun.

For the past few weeks, here and from the pulpit, I have been telling you about a service opportunity for OVCF to be involved in.  That opportunity has been named Serving Owen County Together (SOCT) and it will take place on Saturday, June 19th, at the Owen Valley Middle and High School parking lot.  It is more than just a food give-away, unlike what was offered a number of months ago. 🙂  In cooperation with a group out of Indy called Servant’s Heart, SOCT will be offering food, shoes, clothing, female hygiene products, and other items.  The time is set for 9-3:00. Volunteer help is needed for set up from 7-9:00; manning the tents from 9-12/12-3; and tear down from 3-5:00. This is a partnership with multiple entities (food banks, clothing, churches, etc.) so it will take a lot of people to help pull this off.  Because of the number of organizations involved, it was decided to use an online sign up instead of each individual group using a sign-up sheet (like the church normally uses).  Here is the link for you to sign up:

https://www.signupgenius.com/go/owencountyevent

I know some of you don’t have a computer or tablet to sign up. Perhaps you can ask someone you know to sign your name when you would like to help.  The other option is to just show up and say, “Put me where I am needed most.”

I have said it before but I think it bears repeating: this is a great opportunity for OVCF to get back into serving our community. True, it is with others, but that makes it even better. Serving for the purpose of serving is one thing; serving to “get your name out” is something totally different. Let’s just serve to serve.  The pandemic put the kibosh on our Day of Service to the community. Perhaps that was good because it caused us to pause and reevaluate concerning our purpose and attitude.  I plan to help in some way. I hope to see many of you there. The church is also providing water and snacks for the volunteer table.  You need bring nothing but a servant’s heart.

Hey! Did you know there are some people who think that Hawaii is better than Spencer? Yeah, go figure. Wes Linville, Cassie Lehman’s fiancé, went with his family. Newlyweds, Alec and Caylan (Bray) Akerson, are spending their honeymoon there. Can you honestly believe they thought it was better to go to Hawaii for their honeymoon than stay in Spencer? 🙂  Here’s a funny tidbit: Jo used to watch Magnum P.I. faithfully (actually it was Tom Selleck) and at one point wanted to go to Hawaii. She changed her mind when I told her she had me (cough, cough), and she found out all the hours flying above the ocean.

He never asks publicly for us to do this but Pastor Ryan has two weeks of Wilderness Camp at Hilltop coming up. Senior High week starts this coming Sunday, June 13-18 and the Junior High week is June 27-July 2. He gives his all to these two weeks-before, during and after-and I know he would appreciate your prayers for the two weeks. We also have campers and many volunteers on staff from OVCF. Please pray for them, too! J

One last important thought that I wrote about and ask you to think about: The Bible says, “Love God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.”  My problem is two-fold: One, how do I do that? And two, how do I know if I have?

Paul David Tripp wrote, “We can know the true joys of human love only if love for God first rules our hearts.” (40 Days of Love-p.72)

You see, I know that to be true, but I’m not sure I practice it all that much. There is no question in my mind I am guilty of idolatry-of putting people, places, and things ahead of Jesus.  I know it, but changing it is something entirely different. If I don’t put Him first, I will seek to find the answer for my rest and comfort somewhere else or in someone else. Then I will be asking Jo, or another person, or my activity to do for me what only God can do: fill me and satisfy me.

Even as I write that, I am no closer to an answer to my questions: How do I do that? And how do I know if I have? I’d like to hear your thoughts if you have any.

Food for thought. Meanwhile, have a great rest of the week. Lord willing, I’ll see you Sunday or sooner.

 

Pastor Bill

 

 

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Midweek Message 06/02/2021

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #60

Hello and welcome to MM #60! I’m so glad you are reading this and allowing me to be part of your life, if only for a moment. 🙂

As I write this, Memorial Day 2021 is history.  Well, at least it is in our rearview mirror. The purpose of that holiday we celebrate each year should never be in our rearview mirror. I wrote the following on my blog Monday:

I have never served in the military. When I was in high school, registering for the draft was a law. When I was in college it was a law also. When I turned 18 on October 9, 1970 I was a freshman in college. But I was required to register so I hitched a ride from a school buddy and made my way to another town in Kentucky to do so. I was never called and to this day do not know what my number was. I was exempt because I was in a Bible college studying for the ministry.

I did not go to college to bypass the draft, even though I know of some who did. They really had no business being in that college because they had no desire to really be a pastor.  Without trying to be too judgmental, their lives showed it.

I did not know what Vietnam was all about. I was naive when it came to war and political things. Call me guarded. Call me shielded. Call me sheltered. I do know if I had been called on to defend the freedom of this country, I was willing to do so.

Others did it in my place. I am grateful.  I am beyond thankful for the men and women whom we honor today, those who made the ultimate sacrifice.  I keep thinking of those who want to destroy what we have; to take it and give it away to some lawless nation; to compromise the foundation of our great nation to satisfy their own whims; and as they do, compromise their own words to get what they want. Sacrifice does not do that. Sacrifice is no where close to the “what-I-can-get-out-of-it” mentality that dominates today’s thinking. As you consider today, think of it as more than a holiday (and in many cases) a day off work. Remember the sacrifice paid for your freedom. Here is a thought: did you worship yesterday at the place of your choice?  Try that in a socialist country.  I don’t think we are perfect and I certainly don’t worship the USA. I am not a Christian nationalist. But I am a grateful American whose Christian faith recognizes the God of all humanity as the One True God and as the One who has truly blessed us.

That is not meant to be a political post at all.  I am a registered voter but I am also not naïve enough to think that either party has it right.  I am a firm believer however, that there is only one solution to where our country finds itself right now: we are in desperate need of a revival-not a political one, but a spiritual one.

And by the way: if you would like to see the video again that I showed this past Sunday or would like to pass it along here is the link: Hillsdale.edu/tribute2021.  Copy and paste it into your browser.

This coming Sunday is our graduate recognition Sunday. We will be honoring 9 graduates (7 high school/2 college) at the beginning of the 10:45 service. What an achievement for all of them. Come out and give them your support.

The big announcement for this Sunday is the opening of a staffed nursery. As Ryan mentioned this past Sunday during our Q&A time, the nursery has been open, but really just for families to use if needed, with their own supervision. Beginning Sunday there will be volunteers in the nursery during the 10:45 adult worship only.  I can’t leave this topic without saying that more volunteers are needed. And for the purpose of safety, each worker must have a background check. (It is done at the church’s expense).  If you are interested please check with Ryan.

I know I’ve been a little “heavier” on the teaching this MM but I feel like somebody needs to read this: I finished reading a book on depression last week called Beauty in the Browns (an excellent book IMHO).  He tells the story of two of Lincoln’s most successful generals, Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman. They both suffered from depression. Grant was drummed out of the army in 1854 because of his depression (or more accurately, the drinking triggered by it). At the outset of the Civil War, Sherman declared the Union would need 250,000 men to quell the rebellion. The media called him mad and suffering from the strain of military duties, he resigned, returned home to Ohio, and spent the time contemplating suicide. Sherman survived thanks to his family and Grant with getting back to work-to lead the Union army to victory.  “Grant stood by me when I was crazy, and I stood by him when he was drunk,” Sherman said. “And now, sir, we stand by each other always.”  (p.156-157) Standing by each other is absolutely essential in the world we live in. Contrary to popular opinion, we need each other.  Let’s stand with each other, committed to helping and loving no matter what.

Have a great rest of the week. I love you all.

Pastor Bill

 

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Midweek Message 05/26/2021

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #59

 

Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #59!  I hope this edition of the MM finds you having a great week and enjoying God’s blessings.  We do serve an awesome (the only time I use that word) God.

 

As I write this I would bet my last dollar (if I was a betting man) that there are some awful tired, but somewhat emotional parents after this weekend. Since many of our high school grads this year attended OVHS, graduation was this past Saturday. That meant, for many, attending the graduation, setting up for a party, entertaining, and eating, until the last person leaves (finally) and you can crash (is that a sigh of relief I hear escaping your lips?).  Congratulations to all the graduates-high school, trade school, and college.

 

The biggest item on my agenda in this MM is to remind you what this Sunday is: the 5th Sunday Family day!  (I thought I’d give you a hint just in case you forgot).  This Sunday is the first of our new “experiment.”  When a month has a 5th Sunday, our plan is to have the young people who are normally in the youth programs join us in our worship.  We want them to see what “big people’s church” is like and not be afraid when it is time to move up. It will be worth it. We will have young people who are more aware of what happens in “big people’s church.”  We will most certainly have a greater appreciation for those who spend their Sunday mornings teaching our young people about Jesus. Let just go off on this side road for a moment. It is easy to forget that there are adults who give up their adult worship time to teach our young people.  It is almost like “out of sight, out of mind.”  I know we don’t intend to think or feel that way but it is easy to let it happen. Saying something this week turns into “Oh, I’ll tell him/her next week.” Or for those who don’t have children it sometimes doesn’t even cross their radar of the sacrifice some are making to teach the children.  Most don’t see it as a sacrifice, but as an honor, an act of worship in and of itself and the ministry God has called them to. It’s “work as worship” with a focus on discipleship. They are more focused on giving than getting something for themselves. Please make an effort to let them know how much you appreciate their time and willingness to teach our children.

 

As a side note: if you are concerned about the possibility of it being too crowded for you or if you are concerned about the “noise level” (which I will assume is going to be higher than normal), we do have the first service at 9:00.  I would welcome you coming then!

 

We have a special treat for you this Sunday also. Well…at least we hope so. We have had a video sent to us which is ideal for a church to remember the purpose behind the Memorial Day weekend. As I write this we are checking into the possibility of us showing it, not only in person, but also on the live stream. Both FB and YouTube have bots that will spot the use of a copyrighted song within a few stanzas and will then shut the site down, at least for that day. We then have to make an appeal for it be lifted. We are seeking permission to show the video and live stream it. At worst, we will show it in person and have to block its transmission via live stream. If that happens, please look on the church’s FB group or for next week’s MM. I will include the link to the video and you can watch it that way.  In fact, as I type this it just hit me: I’ll post the video anyway. Some of you may want to watch it again or even share it with someone you love or who needs to learn why we celebrate our freedom.

 

Do you remember reading in last week’s MM about the service opportunity we have as a church? No? Hmmmm…It is an Outreach Event which will take place at the OVMS/OVHS parking lot on Saturday, June 19th, from 9-3:00. Help will also be needed from 7-9:00 to set up and from 3-5:00 to tear down. There was a meeting last night to put more plans into place to make it something exceptional for the people of Owen County. It is a great opportunity for us to serve our community! I’ll be sharing more in next week’s MM.

 

If someone were to ask me to name my favorite Scripture I would say, “Psalm 37:5: Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will help you.” The greatest chapter in the Bible is Romans 8. Verses 28-29 challenge me to be conformed to the image of Christ no matter what the circumstances.  But verses 31-39 are what I would call the pinnacle, the highlight of the chapter. To know God is for me. To know God stands with me. But what can be greater, more refreshing, more satisfying than to know that nothing can separate me from God’s love?  I can’t think of anything.  To know that I will go through loss, heartache, and disappointment is one thing, but to know that nothing (read: N.O.T.H.I.N.G.) will separate me from the Father’s love is overwhelming.  Drive a nail through that truth today.

 

My space is up this week. Have a great rest of the week. See you Sunday!!

 

Pastor Bill

 

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Midweek Message 05/19/2021

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #58

 

Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #58.  Thanks for letting me come your way and into your inbox.  I hope this week has brought you good news and God’s blessings in ways you never even dreamed of.

 

After the school year we have had with all the COVID protocol, it is hard to believe graduation is upon us.  We have a fairly long list of both high school and college graduates. We have been asking for your help in giving us names of the graduates.  Here is a list of the ones we have. If we are missing anyone, it is important for you to get ahold of Diana at the church office (812-828-9840) or via email (secretary@ovcf.org) to let us know.  We plan to recognize all the graduates on Sunday, June 6th.  Well…here is the list:

  • Kristi Arnold (OVHS)
  • Colby Beckwith (OVHS)
  • Justin Chandler (Lighthouse Christian Academy, Hendersonville, TN)
  • Meilynn Dow (OVHS)
  • Grace Pendleton (OVHS)
  • Gracie Wainscott (Wainscott Academy) 🙂
  • Kahner Welch (OVHS)
  • Tiffany Frye (B.S. in Organizational Leadership from Indiana Tech)
  • Amanda Hutchison (Bachelor in Nursing from WGU)

 

Like I said, we have tried very hard not to exclude anyone. So please let us know if we have!

 

I thought I would let you in early on something OVCF is going to be involved in.  You might remember the food giveaway at the Middle School that had traffic backed up onto the highway. There is going to be another Outreach Event which will involve much more than food.  Clothing, feminine hygiene products, and shoes will be given away as well. An organization out of Indy by the name of Servant’s Heart is partnering with the Spencer community to make this possible. Aaron LaGrange, principal at OVMS, has been the one to spearhead it. It is scheduled for Saturday, June 19th from 9-3:00 at the OVMS and OVHS parking lots. We will not have to provide any items for the giveaway. What will be needed is people willing to “man” the tents where the items will be available. It will be split into shifts so no one is there all day (unless you want to be).  At this point they are talking about 7-9:00 for set up; 9-12:00 for the first shift; 12-3:00 for the second shift; and 3-5:00 for the tear down. There is another information/planning meeting scheduled for Tuesday, May 25th.  I will have more concrete plans for you after that meeting.  I just want to give you a heads up so you might consider where and when you can help.  For years we did the Day of Service (DoS) but due to COVID, and possibly it running its course, we have not had a DoS for two years.  This will be a great way for us to be involved in our community again! It is time for things to happen and for us to be actively involved in some way. Think about it…please.

 

Here is another friendly reminder about the 5th Sunday coming up, May 30th.  We will be inviting the young people to worship with us that morning. The nursery will be open for any who need it (but not “manned”). Ryan and I will be sharing the “preaching time” in order to just talk with you.  Look for a different approach that morning!  I think you will like it.  The Grand Opening for the nursery is planned for June 6th.  Your help is needed for that ministry.  Contact Ryan if you would like to help in the nursery rotation.

 

Ladies, don’t forget your hike this Saturday at MCSP. Plan to meet at Deer Run/Trail 9 at 1:00.  Please call Gail Kempe (765-346-0492) if you have any questions.

 

In my journey through the NT, I cracked open the book of Ephesians this week.  In 1:15-23 Paul prays a powerful prayer.  I’d like to break that prayer down a bit.

  1. He thanks God continually for them (the Ephesians).
  2. He prays for them to be given spiritual wisdom and insight so they may grow.
  3. He prays their hearts will be flooded with light (enlightened) so they can understand the hope they have been given.
  4. He prays they will understand the greatness of God’s power seen in raising Jesus from the dead and that He is seated at God’s right hand.
  5. He prays they will understand God’s authority in all creation, especially His church.

His concern is more than “God bless them” or “God be with them.” To run the race and finish well we have to go deeper.  It starts with praying for others and for yourself.  Let’s all make a commitment to do so.

 

Hope you have a great week. Love you all.

 

Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 05/12/2021

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #57

Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #57. Mother’s Day 2021 is now history.  Even though it was not an “all-out” Mother’s Day, it sure beats last year’s version.  Jo & I were watching a program Sunday afternoon that featured a  mother/daughter reunion. For almost two years they have only been able to see  each other through a window. This year they were finally able to hug and see each  other in person and play cards (mom always wins). It was a heart-warming story and  the mother was a winner in so many ways. Oh…I forgot to tell you she was a very  spry 105. And yes, you read that right-105. Let’s all try to remember that  Mother’s Day is not and should not be just one day out of the year. Like we say  about the “Christmas spirit” and the “Easter truth”- it should never run out. Try  it!

Do you remember from the last MM about me saying to stay tuned for a further  announcement and more clarification? No? That may mean you didn’t read it OR  you suffer from the “Disease of Forgetting.” Here it is! If you have been reading  the bulletin and listening to announcements (you know…that time when everyone  shuts down or goes to get a drink), you have heard of some events which will  happen in the very near future.

∙ On Sunday, May 30th, we will be having a Family Worship Sunday. At the  children’s ministry training and lunch at the end of February, involving the  youth in our adult worship was discussed. From the time they hit 3, until  they reach 7th grade, many young people are never exposed to adult worship.  For 9 years we unintentionally “silo” the children into their own worship and  program. It was suggested to include the children in the adult worship. May  30th will be our first opportunity to try this out. Ryan says, “Our goal is to  partner with parents and elevate them as the primary spiritual developer  in their kids’ lives.”

∙ On Sunday, June 6th, Pastor Ryan is hoping to open the Nursery as a staffed  nursery. Starting with when the pandemic shut things down, our Nursery has  been available to parents with nursery-aged children to use if needed, but it  has not been staffed. The plan is to open the Nursery on that first Sunday

in June with adult helpers in the Nursery. Our hope is that the Nursery will  be a place where you will feel comfortable leaving your child (if you are so  inclined) and know that he/she will be taken good care of. As in the  children’s department, every worker must fill out a background check and be  cleared to work with children. If you would like to help and be put in the

rotation, please let Pastor Ryan know. You may call the church office (812- 828-9840) or email him at youthpastor@ovcf.org.

There is another way you can help us. Every year we try to honor our high school  and college graduates. This has been a strange year in many ways and we have  tried our best to figure out who the graduates are, but there is always the fear of  forgetting someone. If you, or someone you know who is involved at OVCF is  graduating from high school or college, please let Diana know. We plan to honor  the graduates at the second service on June 6th. You can call her at the church  office (812-828-9840) or email her at secretary@ovcf.org.

We have a number of folks I would like you to pray for. Kim Paquette’s surgery to  remove two brain tumors was successful. They are waiting on pathology reports. Marcia Morris, Jeanna Srinivasan’s mother, had a knee replacement last week. Madi  Arnett is to have a knee replacement this coming Monday. Colby Beckwith is  recovering from his ACL surgery. Kathryn Anderson visits her Lyme doctor this  week and Becca, her mother, asked for prayer for her. And if you were listening to  the service Sunday-in person or online-I mentioned my friend’s son, Ryan Laws.  Ryan was given a kidney by his father a couple of weeks ago and the most recent  test showed a slight raising of the creatinine level. This could be a glitch or it  could be a sign of rejection. Please be praying for their family. Why not stop right  now (if you can) and say a prayer for all the folks mentioned.

Hey ladies! The Women’s Connection Ministry is sponsoring a hike at McCormick’s  Creek State Park on Saturday, May 22nd, at 1:00. Gail Kempe is the one in charge so  if you have any questions please contact her at 765-346-0492. Information is in  the bulletin this week and on the church Facebook group’s page.

I began reading this week in Psalm 19 and 20. Psalm 19:1 stood out to me: “The  heavens declare the glory of God and the sky above shows his handiwork.” Indiana weather  has remained constant-you can always depend on it being squirrely. Sunny and in  the 70s and two weeks later frost on the car windows. But what cannot be denied  is the creativity of God. The sun by day; the moon by night; the stars that light up  the sky; the greening of the Spring; the host of different flowers; and the species  of birds (Hint: over 35,000 of them); they all declare to us the creativity of a  creative God. Enjoy Him and His creation this week. I love you all.

Pastor Bill

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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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Midweek Message 04/28/2021

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #55

 

Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #55. It’s always nice to have you take the time to read and (hopefully) feel comfortable to interact if you want to.  I do hope this week has been a good one for you and you have been able to enjoy the sunshine.

 

I want to give a shout out to the Worship Team from this past Sunday and this coming Sunday.  Dick and Vicki Hogan, our Worship Team leaders, are on a well-earned vacation visiting some of the HGTV haunts and family. One is in Mississippi, and the other is in Waco, TX (Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Farms). Although I’m not very handy I do like watching Fixer Upper. Jo says I remind her of Chip. Hmmmmm. I guess whether that is a good thing would be determined by what you think of him. I think he is witty, funny, engaging, able to take ribbing, and a whole slew of other good qualities. 🙂  Anyway, thanks to the Worship Team for leading our worship. I’ll not mention names because they would want it that way.

 

I want to give you a giant thanks for your prayers for Mike and Ryan Laws. Mike, Trisha and Brittainy were part of our church fellowship for a very short time after I moved to Sandusky and became the pastor, before Mike took a job with the Dublin police (Ohio not Ireland). Ryan came along after they left (he is 15) and everything was going well when suddenly he just wasn’t feeling well. Long story short, April 21st (last Wednesday) Mike donated his kidney to his son. What a powerful act of love!  Mike is home and doing well. Ryan is to come home today (Wednesday) if all goes well. I read a text Mike sent me this past Sunday during prayer time and have put the text and a picture of them on the bulletin board in the hallway. I hope you will stop by and take a look.

 

Have you ever had one of those “this could have been a very bad thing but it has turned out to be a good thing” events?  I had one this past Friday that still blows me away when I think about it. Every year I have my bike serviced by Bicycle Garage Indy in Greenwood. That is where I bought the last two and so I tend to be faithful to where I bought something. This past Friday I took my bike to have two new tires put on it and to have a tune-up so that it is safe and ready for the summer riding season. I had an early appointment with the intention of taking Jo to lunch and hanging around Greenwood for a couple of hours so I could take it home with me when it was done. We were sitting at lunch when the store manager called me with bad news. I thought he was going to say it needed more than tires and a tune-up. Nope. I needed a whole new frame. There was a crack on the inside of the frame down by the rear shifters and derailleur. There would have been no way I would have ever seen that until the frame busted and sent me spiraling or worse. The frame is under warranty but my size is a detriment, as has been COVID. Bike makers are so far behind that if I ordered a bike today, it would not be available until the end of 2022. Fortunately, Trek had some frames available for warranty claims and hopefully, will get it to BGI so they can build me a bike soon.

 

How could that be good given how much I like to ride? If that frame had failed while coming down a hill; if that frame had failed while on 43 and cars coming up from behind me; if that frame had failed when I was all alone…well, I don’t even want to think about it. Jo says I told her after my last wreck (the one that broke my collarbone, three ribs, and split my helmet in three places) that if I had another wreck I was done. I think I was delusional and under the influence of medicine when she says I said that. 🙂  But the truth is I may very well have been done. I still shudder when I think about it. And I am immensely grateful to God for His watchful eye while I was riding and having me get it to the shop as soon as I did. I have always believed that God does not do evil or make His children suffer.  God’s goodness and protection overwhelm me.  {Note: I’m sorry honey. I’m not quite ready to retire the bike just yet. And I still think I was not myself when you said I said that}.

 

Have a great rest of the week. We have had some visitors recently which always perks people up. Have you taken the time to welcome them?  Love you all.

 

Pastor Bill

 

 

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Midweek Message 04/21/2021

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #54

 

Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #54. Being gone this past Sunday makes it seem like forever since I’ve seen you. While it is nice to take a break every once in a while and know that Ryan will do a good job, it is always nice to be back. I look forward to seeing you Sunday.

 

I heard and saw we had some visitors this past Sunday. I was excited to see that and was disappointed I wasn’t here to greet them. If you are reading this and you were one of the visitors, I’m coming for you! Just kidding. I do look forward to meeting you and welcoming you to OVCF if you come this Sunday. Meanwhile, I hope those of you who are regulars took the time to say Hi and welcomed them.

 

Yesterday (Monday) Jo and I got our second vaccine.  So far, other than a sore arm where she took the nail and pounded it in, I’m doing okay. So is Jo.  I have mentioned it before, but just in case you haven’t heard or read, I did have COVID around Christmas and then was fighting a battle with my digestive system. Several procedures and eventual surgery took care of that. I chose to have the shot because I want people to feel safe around me. I have never taken a flu shot and had to be “forced” to take the pneumonia shot and booster, so it is a big deal for me to get one. But if it is one more thing I can do to help people feel safe around me, I decided I would do it. Now…you have no excuse to hide from me! 🙂

 

Sunday morning Jo and I drove to Maryland Community Church in Terre Haute to meet some friends from the church I pastored in Terre Haute, then went out to eat. Lee and Rene were super people whom I loved dearly. They did a marvelous job adopting and raising a son with Asperger’s syndrome. Jeremy graduated Valedictorian of his class at Terre Haute North and then with a 4+ GPA from Kelley School of Business. He is working for a firm in Madison, WI and was also able to come to lunch with us. Lee is a 4 year colon cancer survivor and it was wonderful to see them and visit. While Scot, Maryland’s Senior Pastor did not preach, the Discipleship Pastor, Nick Strobel, did an admirable job speaking about Greed.  Using the story of Elisha, Naaman and Gehazi found in 2 Kings 5, he brought some good thoughts to the table. {Please take a moment and read the Scripture. I won’t have summarize it for you}.  After Naaman went on his way with Elisha’s blessing, Gehazi chased him down and lied about Elisha wanting his money. Here are the three points Nick brought out: (Main thoughts his; commentary mine)

  1. Greed starts small. It warps our purpose. God’s ultimate purpose was that Naaman know and acknowledge God as the only God. But Gehazi’s greed warped that. Man will always pursue what we think will save us. We will not pursue things because we think it’s dumb.
  2. Greed warps our Sin multiplies. Gehazi had to lie to Naaman to get what he wanted. God will never ask us to do something which is against His Word. N.E.V.E.R. When someone says or does something sinful or evil with the caveat of “God told me” you can pretty well guess He didn’t.
  3. Greed warps our understanding of salvation. God gave Gehazi what he wanted. The sin he chased became his death warrant. Greed can’t save. If you read the story, Naaman was healed of leprosy. Gehazi spent the rest of his life as a leper. Sad ending to what had been a promising future as the understudy/servant to Elisha.

 

Why did this mean so much to me? It never ceases to amaze me how God prepares one for something which is to come. Let me explain: last night (Monday) the Building Team met again to continue discussion about an addition. We know most of what we want and need. Greed says, “Aww, just go ahead and do it.” Wisdom and God’s leading says, “Nope. Follow me. Don’t get greedy and go outside my will and parameters.” The addition we would like to do is not flashy or over the top but we will not compromise our “debt free” approach by moving too fast. We have to find the line of moving by faith and believing by faith. I was pleased the folks present last night are of the same mindset. “Build as we have it.” Conventional thinking (cultural and religious) says, “Build it and people will come.” Wisdom says, “We will wait.” Waiting is hard but it is the way to go. Pray with us about this please.

 

You will be receiving this Wednesday. Today is the kidney transplant of Michael and Ryan Laws (old friends of ours from Ohio). Mike is giving his kidney to his teenage son. Would you please stop and pray for them? Thanks.

 

Today is also Administrative Professionals Day. It used to be called Secretary’s Day but that is one of those changes society has made. Ryan and I are honoring Diana by taking her to lunch (Mr. Hibachi). I can’t keep this a secret but have you let her know how much you appreciate her work for OVCF?  It’s never too late!!

 

Have a great week. I can’t wait to see you Sunday! Love you all.

 

Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 04/14/2021

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #53

Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #53!  I know I made your day showing up in your inbox since you were waiting with bated breath to see if I had decided the MM was done or would continue.  Surprise! And that is the correct word as many of you responded to my short survey last week. Thanks for taking the time to let me know you appreciated the MM. I’m glad you have enjoyed it and found it to be a good way to stay connected. That, after all, was the reason I started writing it to begin with.  A couple of you added that if it is a burden for me or Diana to do it then it would be okay to discontinue sending it.  I enjoy writing (as seen by my blogs and my journals) and like the discipline it takes to sit down and write.

As you get this edition of the MM, Jo and I will be heading toward Ohio (or may have already arrived depending on when you read it). Our grandson, Braden has his first ballgame on Thursday evening, but since Janna has him on Wednesday this week, we wanted to see him and take him out to eat after practice.  On Thursday morning we will be heading up to Sandusky so Jo can see her sister. Vicki has been in a nursing home with dementia for almost two years now and it has been since before COVID started that Jo has had a chance to see her. They were going to allow her 15 minutes for a visit but when Jo told them we would be driving 7 hours and haven’t seen her since February they signed her up for a “compassionate care” visit. 30 minutes. But that is better than nothing and sadly, we are not sure if she will even remember us. We would appreciate your prayers for the extra driving, but also the emotional toll it may take, especially on Jo. Seeing your sister going downhill is not a fun thing. Some of you know how that is. Our plan is to stay until Saturday so we can go out to eat Friday night with Janna and her friend, Mike. Ryan is preaching Sunday so we are planning on being elsewhere.

Some who don’t know our situation may wonder why I leave when Ryan preaches. It certainly isn’t because I don’t respect him. He has my highest respect. It isn’t because he does a terrible job. He doesn’t. He is a good communicator. I leave because it is “his day” not mine. If I am here, then people want to put their focus on why I’m not preaching. I also need some time away to stay fresh. Besides, I want you to miss me!!  🙂

Just a heads up: After next week’s sermon (the 25th) closes out the series on Ecclesiastes. I will be preaching an 8-week series called Eyes Wide Open. I’m going to look at how Jesus treated people: the leper, the centurion, the woman at the well, and others. We are going to see people through the eyes of Jesus, which I believe will be helpful as we come in contact with people from all walks of life. I am enamored by how Jesus related to the outcasts of society, the ones no one wanted to be around. One week we will look at how Jesus dealt with religious people (Pharisees) who thought they were always right. I think it is going to be an exciting series to do (it is one I have never done before) and I am looking to learn a lot.

Hey Ladies! Just a reminder, OVCF Connections Women’s Ministry has planned a Coffee and Chocolate event! Before the pandemic hit, the ladies had a couple of well attended gatherings. They are trying to get back on track and it sounds like this will be a great time to do just that. It is Saturday, April 24th from 2-4:00 in the church auditorium. Sally and Hope have worked hard to make this special. Please join them!

I am currently reading a book called After Doubt by A.J.Swoboda. If you follow any religious news at all, one of the biggest bombshells in recent years has been what are called “deconstructions.” In short, it is people (men and women) who turn their back on faith and all they have known and sometimes deny God exists and sometimes just walk away from faith. Because of people I read about, this has been a hard read, heart-breaking actually, to see how and why people do that. Two quotes stand out from the last page I read:

“People who tell me there is no God are like a six-year old saying there is no such thing as passionate love-they just haven’t experienced it.” (William Alfred-p.56)  Just because we don’t believe doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

And here is one for the ages: “We won’t be judged on whether we liked the Truth. We’ll be judged on whether we followed Him” (Swoboda-p.56) The Apostle Paul wrote “Let God be true, and every human being a liar.” [Rom.3:4] No matter what man may say; no matter how much they may “broker” their thoughts about who God is; they cannot change reality. God is God.  Faith is not based on our feelings, even though our culture wants us to base right and wrong on them. Truth is truth and cannot and will not be changed. He is Truth. Jesus said, “I am the Truth…” Nothing will make that go away.

Have a great week. I love you all.

Pastor Bill

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