Category: MidweekMessage

Midweek Message 06/22/2022

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #112

 

Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #112. I am so grateful you allow me into your world each week. I don’t ever want to take that lightly or waste your time.

 

As you know by now, my surgery is history.  See the end of this MM for some thoughts on that whole thing. I’m definitely not moving as fast I normally do but I simply pray each day brings improvement. I have to remember not to overdo it.

 

Father’s Day 2022 is history! You already knew I was excited about the special Father’s Day event we were having. I can honestly say I loved it and relished hearing some of the men speak. I heard chuckles, laughter, and applause, and have heard from a few of you who totally appreciated it. I can’t take any credit for it other than pulling it together. The real “heroes” of the morning were the men who put themselves out there and spoke. My thanks to Will Schneider, Daniel Hamlin, Rob Anderson, Mike Edwards, Bruce Fisher, Tony Courson, Jim Markland, and Bruce Davis.  Three other men also made contributions to the morning: Brad Brinson, Mike Basey, and Dave Keith.  I have several stories to tell:

  • Some of our folks forgot about the time change. One of them told me she was ready to just turn around and leave when Jeff encouraged her to stay and helped her and her son find a seat. After it was over she told me that and said, “I am so glad I stayed” and got a little teary-eyed.
  • Another came up after me and said, “Thank you! It was so good and I just wanted to tell (name removed by me) to just keep on talking another hour.” Hmmm. How come no one tells me that? ☺
  • “Each man was real and it was so good to hear stories from different perspectives.”

 

Long story short: thank you men for taking part and thanks to many of you who took the time to thank them and to say a few words to me which I could pass along.

 

REMEMBER: WE ARE BACK TO TWO SERVICES THIS SUNDAY!  9:00 AND 10:45

 

This next part is something I held off from sharing in last week’s MM. In fact, I had it written and included, but then decided to hold off. In last week’s MM I gave you a list of upcoming sermon series: “7 Cancers” and “8 Cures,” as well as a series focusing on what the church is all about.  November and December seem to carry their own focus.

 

What you don’t know is that I have been giving 2023 some serious thought.  What I am about to say might interest you, blow your mind, or completely turn you off (I hope not). In thinking of 2023, I am considering the theme of “Victory.”  I can hardly believe I am telling you what I am about to tell you. From April 18th to June 2nd, I did a series of blogs on my “Shadow” blog on the book of Revelation. I took a chapter a day to blog about, except when I read Revelation 2-3 (the 7 churches). I am considering starting 2023 by preaching through Revelation- not on interpreting it, i.e. “this means this” and “that refers to that” and “this is a sign of the times” (I’ll leave that to the scholars), but on the main thoughts from each chapter.  What is strange, at least as you look at it from man’s viewpoint, is that a brand new book came out last week that piqued my interest. It is called “Blessed” by Nancy Guthrie. I trust the publishing company she uses but know nothing of her. But after reading the first 5 chapters, she takes the absolute same approach I did in my blog and plan to for the series. Anyway, here is where you come in at. I’d like to know your thoughts on that. I realize this is June and that is January, but it is running through my head now and when you get old you have to “put things on the table” when you think of them.  ☺  My desire is to preach the Bible, and to avoid a book or some subject because it is difficult or “scary,” is not doing so. However, at the same time, I do want to preach what you might be interested in (I’ll hold off on preaching through Leviticus), so please feel free to put in your .02 worth.  You may email or text me if you want.  And just to put a further perspective on it: I have NEVER in almost 50 of being a pastor, preached on Revelation. In fact, except for sermons on the 7 churches in chapters 2-3, one from chapter 4 on worship, and maybe one on heaven from chapter 22, I have not preached a sermon on or from Revelation. To put it bluntly, I have avoided it like the plague. No more! So, again, let me hear your thoughts.

 

Please let me remind you again to pray for Pastor Ryan, Hope and the other faculty and campers who are at High School Wilderness Week at Hilltop. Temps are to be close to the mid ‘90s. In fact, Tami thought it was funny because her weather app showed a sun with a cactus on it. ☺ I think that means it is supposed to be really, really hot and that means they will really need covering with our prayers.

 

Just one last thought before I go:  I wrote the following the morning of June 20th for my “Shadow” blog. I hope it helps you.

Surgery was a success so the doc says. It is 6 days in and in my mind the jury is still out. I know part of it is being a man. You know…I want healed yesterday. I want to feel better yesterday. I want to be able to ride my bike yesterday. But with him having to do more than he thought, this is to be expected.

Except in my mind.

I had visions of my last back surgery. The removal of a bone fragment on a nerve brought instant relief!! Maybe too instant.  Not this time. It is going to take some time for my spine and legs to function normally.

That reminds me of today’s verse from Proverbs which I highlighted: “A man’s steps are ordained by the Lord; how then can a person understand his way?” (20:24 NASB2020)

Exactly! I have in my mind the way things ought to go or to be. God has something different in mind. The reality is that He will reveal His ways and His thoughts when it is His time. And only His. Not mine.

The lesson about my back (Heal me yesterday!) is mine. The lesson from the Book and from the Father is God’s timing is right and true and will prevail. My steps are ordered by Him and I cannot know His way or timing.  So are yours. Walk in His steps.  Love you much.

Pastor Bill

 

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Midweek Message 06/15/2022

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #111

Hello! Welcome to Midweek Message #111. It has been a couple of weeks since I wrote a MM.
I hope you missed me.  If not, please don’t tell me. I’m not sure my ego could handle that.
Whether you missed me or not, I’d like to let you know why I was AWOL when it came to the
MM.

The first week of missing was Memorial Day weekend was busy and with the church office
being closed on Monday (Memorial Day), I knew Tuesday would be a big catch up day. I
normally tend to write the MM on Monday and Tuesday; Diana proofs it on Tuesday; we make
improvements to it; then it gets published on various platforms and sent to you on Wednesday.
That is our goal. Knowing the week would be short put a crimp in my plans. I decided to take a
break for both of us.

The second week Jo, Tami, and I went to Ohio to see Braden play ball and to visit Janna. Every
time we have visited this Spring, except for once, it has rained and the games have been called
off. The one time we were able to watch him play it was so cold my face froze off. One time we
went they rescheduled a game for that Thursday and then no umpires showed up. (Face palm)
The next day was the regularly scheduled game and…you guessed it…rained out. Our thinking
this trip was it is June and surely they will play. NOPE! We dropped him off for his game and the
coach stopped me to say the game had been cancelled by the league, only they failed to tell
him. The other team? Yes. So he said they were going to practice until 7:00 or the rain came. It
rained like cats ‘n dogs for about 30 minutes so we made our way back to wait.

So here I am three weeks later. Knowing the “zoo” of a week I have coming up, I decided to
start this on Saturday, hopefully having it ready for Diana and I to make corrections on Monday.
We have a staff meeting on Monday morning and with Ryan having been gone to Wilderness
Camp all last week, I know it will be a lot of catch up. So the staff meeting will be busy.

Plus, many of you will remember about a month ago I told you why I was having to sit a lot
during my sermons. By the time you get this, I will have had my back surgery yesterday
(Tuesday) morning. This will be more extensive that the one I had in 2017 but much like it.
Instead of one vertebrae to be drilled, there will be three. I have some spurs closing off the
nerve routes and he will be opening up the space so the nerves will not have that pressure.
That is the simplified version. Please don’t ask about the medical version.   I may or may not
stay overnight depending on how I do with the surgery and recovery. It had been scheduled for
11:30 but a cancellation of the previous one moved me up to 8:00. I’m okay with that! I would
appreciate your prayers for my recovery and for Jo’s patience with (whom she says) is a very
poor patient. 

Enough of that! I am super excited about Father’s Day Sunday. The Mother’s Day special
program was so well-liked and appreciated (many of you told me), that I decided to see if I
could get some men to talk about their hero from the Bible. One caveat: it had to be someone
other than Jesus. I asked a total of 15 men and 9 of them said they would. 9 men! I was super excited to have that many. I did have to change the way it will be done. My original thought
was to have it similar to the ladies by having them sit on chairs and share their thoughts. But
the stage isn’t big enough and I also know you want to go to lunch that day! So, each man will
speak about 3 minutes to give their hero and why. You will need to be here or watch online to
see who the men are.

*****ONE VERY IMPORTANT ITEM TO REMEMBER: there is only one service on Father’s Day at
10:00***** The nursery will be available and children’s programs will meet at 10:00, too.

I started a new series this past Sunday called 7 Cancers. Sunday’s sermon, “Whatever Became
of Sin,” was a prelude to that series. The series really gets underway on the June 26 th . Here is
the list of sermons for that series:

    • The “Queen” of Cancer
    •  The Green-Eyed Cancer
    •  The Explosive Cancer
    •  The Lazy Cancer
    •  The “Gotta Have It” Cancer
    •  The Respectable Cancer
    •  The Hidden Cancer

 

Lord willing, unless He changes things or something comes up, that series will take us to August
14 th . My plan at this point is to follow that up with a series I’m calling 8 CURES. I figure we
would look at the cancer and then at the cure. Immediately following that series I might be
doing one on “What is the Church All About?” That is not the title of the series but it is the
contact point of what I am considering. November and December are months which are pretty
typical in their focus. Look for next week’s MM for a special request I will have.

I’d like to remind you to pray for Pastor Ryan and his faculty for the Senior High Wilderness
Week at Hilltop camp. It starts this coming Sunday.

One more item before I close this MM. June 25 th is the date for the Serving Owen County
Together (SOCT) event. SOCT is a joint effort of many in OC and some outside organizations to
meet the needs of citizens of OC and surrounding areas. There is a shoe tent, clothing tent,
game tent, diapers and toiletries, furniture and other items. Volunteer help is needed. You can
sign up on the sheet at the information table. We really need your help! There are 4 separate
time slots: 7-9 (Set up). 9-12:00. 12-3:00. 3-5 (Tear down). Even if you can’t stay for the whole
time slot, any help would be appreciated.

Well, my space is up. I have babbled on some, I’m sure, but what else does a preacher do who
hasn’t had a chance to be in contact for a couple of weeks?  But just know I love you.
Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 05/25/2022

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #110

 

Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #110.  I hope your week is going well.

Well…for most school is out. Graduation has taken place. Summer jobs have begun. Monday, Memorial Day, is considered the official start of the summer hoopla. Pools will be opened. Summer trips will begin. Sports teams will continue in earnest. I can remember thoroughly looking forward to Memorial Day because our school had just dismissed for the summer and I wouldn’t have to see the inside of another school until after Labor Day (unless you had to take summer school). Now, keep in mind that was in the ‘60s when school was very different. There were no such things as Fall and Spring breaks; lengthy Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks; or some of the other breaks there are today.  So this will be a tad different MM. As of this writing, I will be taking a break from writing the MM next week due to Memorial Day. The focus of this MM will be Memorial Day but first, a few reminders:

  • This coming Sunday is our 5th Sunday Family Worship. Except for the nursery and Pre-K class (during second service only), the young people will be in with the adults during the worship service.  An added bonus is the youth worship team will be leading our worship at both services. We will have both services: one at 9:00 and the other at 10:45.
  • Just a heads up for you! Father’s Day, June 19th, will be a special day. We will only be having one service that day at 10:00. I think you are going to love this service!
  • Remember to pray for Pastor Ryan, his family and all the faculty and campers during the weeks of June 5th and June 19th as he leads the Wilderness weeks at Hilltop Camp.

 

Now, regarding Memorial Day, I hope you will find this inspiring.  First, the following article was sent to me several years ago by my Uncle Bob, a 32 year Air Force veteran, now living in Texas.

“Richard, my husband, never really talked a lot about his time in Vietnam other than he had been shot by a sniper. However, he had a rather grainy 8×10 black and white photo he had taken at a USO show of Ann-Margaret, with Bob Hope in the background. Ann was doing a book signing at a local bookstore and Richard wanted to see if she would sign his treasured photo. He arrived at 12:00 for the 7:30 signing and was told she would only sign her book, and no memorabilia would be allowed. Richard was disappointed but wanted to show her the photo anyway and let her know how much it meant to lonely GI’s so far from home for her to come. As 2nd in line it was soon his turn. She signed her book and then he took out the photo to show her with many shouts from employees that she would not sign it. She took one look at the photo, tears welled up in her eyes and she said, “This is one of my gentlemen from Vietnam and I most certainly will sign his photo. With that she pulled Richard across the table and planted a big kiss on him. She then made quite a to do about the bravery of the young men she met over the years, how much she admired them, and how much she appreciated them. There weren’t many dry eyes among those close enough to hear. She then posed for pictures and acted as if he was the only one there. Later at dinner, Richard was very quiet. When I asked if he’d like to talk about it, my big strong husband broke down in tears. “That’s the first time anyone ever thanked me for my time in the Army.” Richard, like many others, came home to people who spit on him and shouted ugly things at him. That night was a turning point for him. He walked a little straighter and, for the first time in years, was proud to have been a Vet. I’ll never forget Ann-Margaret for her graciousness and how much that small act of kindness meant to my husband.” {Story was edited by me to fit this MM}

One more story:

One day a poor boy, who was selling goods door to door to pay his way through school, found he had only one thin dime left and he was hungry. He decided he would ask for a meal at the next house. However, he lost his nerve when a lovely young woman opened the door. Instead of a meal he asked for a drink of water. She thought he looked hungry, so she brought him a large glass of milk. He drank it slowly and then asked, “How much do I owe you?” “You don’t owe me anything. Mother has taught us never to accept pay for a kindness.” He said, “Then I thank you from my heart.”

As Howard Kelly left the house, he not only felt stronger physically, but his faith in God and man was strong also. He had been ready to give up and quit.

Years later, that young woman became critically ill. The local doctors were baffled so they finally sent her to the big city, where they called in specialists to study her rare disease. Dr. Howard Kelly was called in for a consultation. When he heard the name of the town she came from, a strange light filled his eyes. He immediately rose and went down the hall to the hospital room. He recognized her at once and determined to save her life. From that day, he gave special attention to the cause.

After a long struggle, the battle was won. Dr. Kelly requested the business office to pass the final bill to him for approval. He looked at it, then wrote something on the edge and the bill was sent to her room. She feared to open it but finally looked and read these words…”Paid in full with one glass of milk.” (signed) Dr. Howard Kelly {edited by me for space}

My words:

Two things to remember this Memorial Day. Say thanks for and to the men and women (dead and alive) who have served our country to preserve its freedom. Two, remember the Christ who has paid our debt IN FULL!

I am grateful to the men and women who have and are serving. I am grateful to God for the gift of His Son. And I am grateful for you.

Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 05/18/2022

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #109

Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #109. Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to read this (and I am assuming you are).  J

This past Sunday was such a full day. We played a video put together by one of our young men, college student Travis Floyd, who graduated from OV in 2020. He, like thousands across our country, was unable to have a graduation ceremony due to that word we don’t like to use. So playing all instruments but the clarinet and flute, he put together a video of “Pomp and Circumstance.” Travis has a great future ahead of him in the musical field. We then honored our high school and college graduates. Some were unable to attend due to other commitments, but we had a total of 12 graduates. I think that stands as our highest at one time since I came in 2005. To top it off we asked Logan Cain to come to the front so we could pray for him, his family and several others who are close to him. Logan leaves this coming Sunday for Marine boot camp and we like to pray for any of our young people before they leave.  Be praying for Logan as he heads off to boot camp and then returns to Missouri for specialized training to be an MP. His ultimate goal is to be in law enforcement.  Be praying for all of our high school and college graduates as they head off to school, or in the case of one, his already secured job in sales.  Personally, I pray for them to have the strength to stand against the prevailing culture and to concentrate on their studies, all while keeping Jesus first. After our full morning, we had a full afternoon-our Day of Service. We had only 6 residents needing help but our volunteers really put in a lot of work for them.  We had a total of 19 volunteers, not counting Jo and me. It was hot and sweaty work but no one complained.  J  I deeply appreciate all the help you gave.

Just want to give you a heads up. Father’s Day is coming and it will be similar, but different to our Mother’s Day special program. I will simply say that I have been blown away, but oh so proud, of the men who have stepped forward to say, “Yes, I will take part.” I’ll leave it at that and let you speculate about FD. One word I have to start sharing: there will only be one service that day as well. 10:00. Got that? J  I’m sure you will hear it more as the time draws closer. I just know you are going to enjoy it.

I’d like to ask you for some special prayer. The month of June is going to be a whirlwind, especially for Pastor Ryan. Every summer he gets deeply involved with Hilltop Christian Camp by leading the two Wilderness weeks they have for Jr High and Sr High students. June 5-10 is the Jr High week. He has 29 campers! That is capacity. June 19-24 is the High school week. As of this MM, there are 21 campers signed up to attend. He throws himself into preparing for each week; gives himself totally while there; and comes home “pleasingly exhausted” knowing lives were touched for Jesus in spite of his fatigue. His wife, Hope, is right there with him through all the prep work and during the week overseeing the meals, etc. Several others from OVCF are also helping this year. At the risk/fear of forgetting someone, I will withhold names right now until I know all of them. Pastor Ryan does not do this alone, but I know the amount of time he puts into it. Meanwhile, he has other responsibilities he maintains. So please pray extra for him over the next month or so.

It has been awhile since I said a word of thanks to all the teachers and helpers of our preschool-6th grade programs on Sunday mornings. Every Sunday morning they take part in a rotation to teach our children age-appropriate lessons. They do a phenomenal job, the fruit of which can be seen in the number of students who are coming. During this past month or two we have had 40-50 children in the youth department! It is a challenging but very rewarding time with the children. Also, a BIG thanks to our nursery and check-in volunteers! The nursery has been bursting at the seams as well.  Every Sunday MJ Ramsay and Kori Wainscott “man” (or is that “woman?”) the check-in desk where parents sign their child in securely. Each week our youth worship team (Emily Wyatt, Gracie and Mollie Wainscott, and Micah Nally) lead them in worship. Each week Jo Grandi and Cara King makes sure lessons are ready for each teacher.  So to all of you who take this responsibility to heart: THANK YOU!

And speaking of the youth worship team: May 29th is our next 5th Sunday Family Worship service. The youth, except for the nursery and preschool class, will be in with the adults. The youth worship team will once again be leading our worship that morning. I’m excited! J

I’d like to leave you with something I read this week and then wrote a devotion about on my “Shadow” blog. https://livingintheshadow.ovcf.org/ Monday morning I read Revelation 12. I am slowly working my way through each chapter in Revelation and taking a “de-prophecying” approach to it. I’m not at all trying to interpret the prophecy, but to look for nuggets I can take and learn from. The opening scenario of chapter 12 confused me somewhat, although I pretty much know who the woman, the dragon, the child and the angel are. In fact, that is pretty simple. What stopped me in my tracks was verses 10-11. {Please read them}. It is easy to feel defeated these days. Things we thought were sacred and would never change…have. Things we thought would never happen…do. But rather than be discouraged, this is the time followers of Christ can stand strong! Satan is a defeated enemy. First, by the power of the cross and the resurrection. His days are numbered. Second, he can also be defeated by those of us who follow Christ. Verse 11 says, “They overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.” That is, of course, speaking of the early martyrs, but it is also speaking to us. Ephesians 6 tells us our “battle is not against flesh and blood,” and then we are given the armor to wear to win the battle.  Don’t give up and don’t give in!! I just wanted to leave you with those words of encouragement this week. No matter what you are facing or will face, you are not alone.

I love you all and look forward to seeing you sometime this week.

Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 05/11/2022

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #108

 

Welcome to Midweek Message #108. It’s always good to “chat” with you this way since I can’t see everyone in person all the time. I hope you are having a good week so far.

Mother’s Day 2022 is history. Mother’s Day is not. According to someone close to me (I will withhold her name), every day is Mother’s Day. J  Honestly, I can’t disagree. I think we can all agree with the old adage: “A man’s work is from sun to sun but a mother’s work is never done.” The challenge for us men is to not allow just one day of the year be a special day. Find your lady’s love language and meet it. I do want to say that I thought the Mother’s Day special program went very well. So did some of you since you let me know. Thanks for the kind words you spoke or texted. But I seriously CANNOT take any credit. The ladies involved did a super job and I owe them a huge debt of thanks. Sorry ladies, I can’t take all of you out for a meal. J  So here is my tribute: Thanks to Becca Anderson and Jill Curry (both of whom were unable to be here so they did theirs via video), Tami Grandi, Heather Keith, Stephanie Nally, Erin Pendleton, and Kris Samick. Your willingness to sit in front of the audience was deeply appreciated.  I also owe a debt of thanks to Amy Hamlin, Janet Jones, and Cara King who helped by their suggestions. As I mentioned, I had so many different suggestions I could not have possibly done one sermon on the names submitted.  So the ladies saved my bacon for sure! Again, thanks to all the ladies who took part and to you for showing your support.

That, of course, has led to another issue. What about the men? As I put together the Mother’s Day program, I began to think about Father’s Day next month (June 19th). Could I get some men to do this? I put it aside because I wasn’t quite sure and really wanted different men to participate. But then…but then…I had a few ladies who said they really enjoyed the Mother’s Day program and wondered if I would do the same for Father’s Day.  *insert face here of Kevin from Home Alone when he puts after shave on his face*  So I made a list of men to contact and this past Monday night began to reach out to 14 men.  We shall see…  I may have a coup on my hands since many of them are stronger than me, and all of them younger than me. J J

ONE MORE TIME!!!

This Sunday, the 15th, is a big day for OVCF.  Please let me keep you updated ONE MORE TIME  on what is going on this week.

  • Graduate Recognition Day. During the 10:45 service we will be honoring our 2022 high school and college graduates. Here is the list of high school graduates in alphabetical order: Kaedence Beckwith (OVHS), Logan Cain (OVHS), Luke Hamlin (Lighthouse Christian Academy), Cayden Paquette (OVHS), Gavin Truesdel (OVHS), Mollie Wainscott (Seven Oaks Classical School), Olivia Wainscott (OVHS), and Zoe Wainscott (OVHS). The list of college graduates is: Robert Herrington (U of I), Eli Markland (IU), Mandy Samick (ISU), and Anthony St. John (Purdue).
  • Day of Service. We will be meeting here for a light lunch about 12:15 or so and then heading out to help some older folks in our community who need help with gutters and landscaping. We have only had 5 folks who have responded so it may not take as long as we thought. But nonetheless, we will serve and we will need your help. And as I said in last week’s MM, if you are unable to work but do have time to chat with the folks that would be great! We need some who will do that.
  • Logan Cain prayer send off. Logan leaves the 22nd for Marine boot camp so we will be praying for him. Pastor Ryan will be gone that Sunday so our prayer for Logan has been moved to this Sunday so Ryan can participate.
  • Last ROOTS for the summer. That speaks for itself.

 

The question I asked the men for Father’s Day is the same one I asked the ladies. My question was “Who (woman/man) in the Bible, is a hero to you?” Stephanie Nally brought up a very valid point as she prefaced her talk about Esther when she mentioned what a real hero is.  My take: The real heroes are the men and women of the military who serve our country. The men and women in law enforcement, who lay their lives on the line every day. And I particularly liked what Stephanie said about the Superheroes of comic books and the silver screen. Again my take: They are not real heroes, except in our imagination. Real heroes don’t go into phone booths to change clothes in order to jump tall buildings in a single bound. Real heroes don’t have indestructible shields that return when thrown. Real heroes don’t have flying suits giving them superhuman qualities. Real heroes breathe like you and me. Real heroes don’t say, “Hulk smash!” They struggle with maintaining order in their lives. They struggle with making decisions which can literally change a life.  They struggle with paying bills, going to work, fixing meals, and the list goes on. Make sure you let your “hero” know how much you appreciate them.

And just a short reminder: May 29th is a 5th Sunday. The youth will be with us that morning. Nursery and pre-K will meet. The youth worship band will do our worship music that morning.  More complete information will be forthcoming in the next MM.

Thanks again for supporting the Mother’s Day special presentation. I so appreciate the “allowance factor” of being able to do something different from time to time and watching you adjust. I have loved that from Day 1 about OVCF.  Father’s Day is another one. I have already had some men respond with a Yes. One Service. More info later. I love you all.

Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 05/04/2022

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #107

 

Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #107.  Thanks for taking the time out of your busy day to read this issue of the MM.

May is going to be a busy month for various reasons. Graduation and grad parties. Family trips to visit relatives. The rather mundane things like cutting grass and the yard work which needs done. (Sorry I had to mention that fact of life). But the biggest event, especially if you ask a certain sector of our population, is Mother’s Day this coming Sunday. Moms see it as a day to honor them with a nice, quiet day of dining out or of a home-cooked meal (Jo opts for dining out since my cooking skills leave much to be desired) J , relaxing and doing whatever they want to do. Oh…is that every day of the week?  I forgot! Just kidding ladies. I know you work hard inside and outside the home.

All that to say, I’d like to remind you about this coming Mother’s Day at OVCF. As I mentioned in last week’s MM, this Sunday will be totally different from what we normally do. I’m not going to reiterate everything for you but here are the highlights:

  • One service at 10:00. Please pass the word along to your family and friends.
  • It will probably be a bit crowded. The chairs have been moved and other adjustments have been made, but I still suspect it will be “fun,” I mean, crowded.
  • The nursery and children’s programs will still meet. I am deeply indebted to the teachers who would love to be in with the adults but view their responsibility of the children with the utmost importance. Thank you, thank you, thank you for doing that!
  • Come prepared to be blessed in a totally different way. For one, you won’t have to listen to me preach. (No comment needed). Plus, you will get to hear some really good insights from some ladies.
  • And remember, it will be live streamed as it is every week.

I honestly do look forward to seeing you Sunday.

 

May 15th is going to be a jam-packed day for sure!  Here is why:

  • It is Graduate Recognition Day. We will be honoring our high school and college graduates. We have a total of 13 graduating! Pastor Ryan and Diana do a great job of preparing and planning for this special day and I look forward to being an observer that morning as our graduates are honored.
  • We will also be praying for one of our graduates, Logan Cain, who will be heading off to Marine Boot Camp on the 22nd after the morning worship. Pastor Ryan will be gone that Sunday and I really wanted him to pray for Logan before he left since Logan has been an active part of ROOTS and Pastor Ryan has influenced him in his walk with Christ. We lift up every one of our military personnel and since Logan is heading off to start his career, I can think of no better thing to do than to pray over him.
  • That is also our Day of Service. As I have said in previous MMs, I was approached and asked if the church might be willing to help out some of the older folks in our community who are unable to clean their gutters and their flowerbeds. After asking around, the answer was “Yes.” May 15th was the best day since graduation and summer break is quickly around the corner. The plan is to offer a meal after the 2nd worship service, pray, then send folks out to help. Our plan is to work from 1:30-3:30. With many hands, we should be able to finish on time and do a great job. Here is a challenge for some of you who are unable to climb ladders or to do yard work: We sure could use some folks-male or female-who would be willing to visit with the folks we are helping. No skill is required…just a willingness to talk/visit with them. Please sign up this week using the sign-up sheet at the info table or by calling the church office. We need to have a head count for the meal and also to see how many we have working.

 

Whew! That is a lot of stuff in one day! But at the end of the day there will be a feeling of satisfaction of honoring people and helping others who aren’t able to do for themselves.

 

The past couple of days during my Encounter Time have been eye-opening. I am currently working slowly through…(drumroll please)…Revelation. Say what? Yeah, I know, such an odd thing to do. I have written devotions on my Living in the Shadow blog (https://livingintheshadow.ovcf.org/) about chapters 1 – 3. I focused on each church in chapters 2 & 3. Monday and Tuesday of this week I have been in chapters 4 & 5.  This might sound like self-promotion (and I hope it’s not seen that way) but I’d like to ask you to read the May 2nd and 3rd blog. They are both about worship. Pay particular attention to the May 3rd blog because you will find links to two fantastic worship songs-one we sing and I absolutely love to sing. Better yet, take the time to stop right now and read those two chapters in Revelation, paying particular attention to chapter 5.  It will make your spirit soar. And you will also see why those two songs came into play.

 

One last thing before I go: I mentioned in last week’s MM about a survey I was putting together and would like your input. It is short and painless (honest). Diana will include a separate link in the email which accompanies this MM. Thanks for taking the time to read and take the short survey (2 questions).

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfb9hFOVTWyp0HBvyGe__eQAqkYubG2x4JuxLuvtyZhwN5xfg/viewform

Have a great rest of the week. Hope to see you Mother’s Day! Love you all.

 

Pastor Bill

 

 

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Midweek Message 04/28/2022

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #106

Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #106. It is so good to be able to communicate with
you in this way! I hope your week is going well.

Let’s talk about Mother’s Day. As I mentioned in last week’s MM, this is in the category of “I
NEED YOUR HELP.” Mother’s Day is only a week and a half away and as we have published in
the bulletin and in last week’s MM some things will be different.

  • There will only be one service that day at 10:00. So make appropriate plans to either be
    here early or plan to watch it via live stream. Of course, I’m hoping you will be able to be
    here in person.
  • The service will be different that morning. I will not be preaching (no comments needed
    from the peanut gallery).   I have mentioned this in years past that I sometimes feel
    awkward preaching on MD. For years, I stood and preached as though I knew exactly
    what to say and how to make things better, as if I understood women. I got wiser as I
    got older and so there are times I have tried to mix it up a bit. This year I sent a text to
    10-12 women asking them who their hero was among the ladies in the Bible. I then
    thought about using the answers as my preaching points. But after receiving answers
    from all the ladies and seeing how varied they were, I changed my other mind. I thought
    it would be interesting to hear from the ladies themselves. Some declined for various
    reasons. Two are going to be out of town and offered to do a video. A couple said yes
    but there were some who hesitated. When I offered a different approach, they said,
    “Count me in.” So the different approach it is. But…you will have to wait until that
    morning to see what it will be.
  • It will be crowded. Of that, I am pretty sure. AND THIS IS WHERE YOUR HELP IS
    NEEDED! I talked to Pastor Ryan and Diana to get their feedback and then asked the
    elders their thoughts about having one service. Some adjustments will be made to
    accommodate more seating but please come prepared for it to be a tad bit crowded.
    Keep telling yourself it will be only for one week. The youth programs and nursery will
    still be active.
  • If you are concerned about it being too crowded for your comfort, then I encourage you
    to watch it via live stream. But…I do hope you will come.

 

Let’s talk about Graduate Recognition Day.

  • First, the date is May 15th . We will honor our graduates at the 10:45 service.
  • Every year we honor our high school and college graduates and every year the staff
    comes up with a list. We then ask you to make sure your child is included. We are asking
    the same thing this year. We have a ton of graduates this year and want to make sure
    we do not leave anyone out. You can help us out by contacting Pastor Ryan or Diana
    with the name of your son/daughter if they are graduating. WE DON’T WANT TO
    FORGET ANYONE!
  • Please make every effort to be here so we can honor your student.

 

Let’s talk about the Day of Service. In MM #104 I began to highlight the upcoming Day of Service. Here are some particulars for you to know.

First, the date is May 15th . Yeah, that will be a busy day. (That is also the last day of
ROOTS for the summer).
 The plan is to offer a light lunch here after the second service (about 12:30 or so), pray,
then head out to serve from about 1:30 (or sooner) to 3:30.
 We have a sign-up sheet on the information table. Please let us know if you can help so
we can count on you, plus have enough food.
 What will we be doing? We have received a request from the Lewis-Worman
Homeowners Assoc. to help some of their residents with light work like cleaning gutters
and raking flower beds. The Chamber of Commerce is providing all the garbage bags and
gloves and pails to hook onto the ladders. We will need to bring ladders and rakes. Even
if you are unable to help, if you want to provide any of those items just put your name
on it and we will get it back to you.
 If you are unable to do physical work, you can still help!! We would love to have folks
who will chat with the homeowners while we work. Many of them are by themselves
and would love for someone to chat with. Doing that is far more important than you
know.

In next week’s MM you will find a link to do a real short survey (like 2 or 3 questions). It is from
me and I’m seeking your input. Just giving you a heads up on that.
Jo has always told me, “Bill, when you are done, stop talking.” Do you think she knows me? She
is referring to my preaching-encouraging me to not ramble on and repeat myself. So, I am going
to take her advice on this week’s MM. But I won’t leave until I tell you I love you and hope you
have a fantastic rest of the week.

Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 04/20/2022

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #105

Hello! Welcome to Midweek Message #105! Thanks for “tuning in” to the MM this week. I hope your week is going well.

As I begin to write this it is Monday morning, or what is affectionately called the “day after.” As a young pastor I was always warned about the dangers of the “day after Easter.” Not just the day after, but the week after. There were several factors which came into play in that thought.

  • First, the “high” from the Resurrection Day service. It is no secret that the two most attended Sundays are Christmas and Easter, with Easter being the biggest since it is always on Sunday. It used to be Easter was the highlight of the “fashion” Sundays. It seemed like every woman or young female broke out an Easter dress and every man and young male broke out a suit and tie. It used to be I always wore a tie so that was nothing new to me. But the biggest “high” comes from the attendance. Churches all across the nation see a major spike in their attendance, more often doubling or tripling the norm. Every pastor knows the next Sunday will bring a significant drop in that area. Me? I realize it is what it is and just relish getting to see so many people at one time. (I just wish I could remember everyone’s name I met yesterday). J
  • Second, the “back to the grind” which comes on Monday. After a weekend of remembering the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, reality hits when we turn the alarm clock off.
  • Third, exhaustion. So much is put into getting ready for the Resurrection Day service that exhaustion is often the result. That explains why so many pastors take off Monday and sometimes even Tuesday…to recover! In our case, all the logistics of making sure we haven’t forgotten anything to take to Abram Farm, plus the extra work required just finally catches up to us. This just might be the first Sunday in my 47+ years of ministry that I changed my Easter sermon at the last minute. I did a major rewrite on Saturday and so that weighed on me as well.
  • Fourth, wanting everything to go well. It is always a challenge to have our service “away from home.”  The set up. The venue. The effort people put in. The different presentation. The audience. So many factors.

 

But here is what I want to say to all of that. Even though I was exhausted Sunday afternoon, I would do it all again in a heartbeat.  So many people showed up early to help set up we were actually done in 30-40 minutes. Zach Hogan provided his sound system and some members of the worship team helped him set up so that went much quicker than anticipated. We had people volunteer to help in various capacities, like making sure people had bulletins/music sheets and the pre-filled communion elements. Some were unofficial greeters. I saw so many people just walking around and welcoming others. Pastor Ryan ran the soundboard that Zach gave him a crash course on. Joe Pavich ran the live stream. The worship team sounded good. Tiffany Kropack offered to do family pictures (even though it was freezing cold outside).  And so many of you helped in the cleanup and by taking a moment to carry your chair to where they could be put away. The only glitch was the guy who was to speak, who choked on his communion, burned this throat with the juice, and then sounded hoarse the whole time. Oh yeah…that would be me. J  Yikes! A HUGE THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO HELPED BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER THE SERVICE. It went well thanks to you and God’s blessing.

Let’s switch gears now for another “I NEED YOUR HELP” plea. Mother’s Day (MD) is right around the corner- 3 Sundays to be exact. Occasionally in the past I have asked different women in the church to participate on MD. This one will be even more different. I sent out a text to 10 women who had not participated before with a question: “What woman in the Bible would be your hero?” Every one of them responded, some with two or more different names. I then asked them if they would be willing to present “why they chose that person” to the church on MD. Most of them agreed with 2 saying they would be gone and would be willing to do a video. My plan is to present the morning as an informal panel-type sit-in-a-chair time which will allow the women to relax and to feel as though they are not up there alone. After speaking with the staff and elders, it was agreed upon to have just one service that morning. That service will be at 10:00. Here is where your help is needed. I suspect with it being MD it will be a bit crowded.  Please come prepared for that. Keep in mind that families will be coming and will want to sit together so if you can leave seats for families or could possibly move over a chair or two, please take the initiative to do so. We will still have our children’s programs as we normally do. And remember: it will be crowded but it will only be for one week. If you are concerned about it, please keep in mind you can watch the live stream. Thanks ahead of time for your help.

I mentioned in last week’s MM about the opportunity to help some elderly residents who are unable to do some physical work needed around their homes. That date is May 15th. The church will provide a light lunch and then we will plan to go to work from 1:30-3:30. Sign-up sheets will be on the info table for you to indicate your help. If you can’t do physical work, we have a need for those who like to talk. J  I’ll give more details in next week’s MM.

I want to close by saying, thanks again for making our Resurrection Day celebration at Abram Farm so special.  If you happen to know or see Bill and Suzie Abram around town, would you please tell them, “Thanks.” And if you are so inclined, please drop them a note of thanks. They have been very gracious to us in letting us use the venue.

One more thing (famous preacher line): I failed to mention that the size of the Abram Farm venue is just shy of what we are hoping to see as a reality for us in the near future.

Have a great rest of the week. I love you all and look forward to seeing you as we wrap up the series on Truth Decay by talking about “Eternity is Still Eternity.”

Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 04/13/2022

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #104

Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #104.  What a meaningful week this is. Sunday was Palm Sunday which historically “introduces” what is called Holy Week. The week begins with Palm Sunday, peaks with the crucifixion (called Good Friday), then culminates with the Resurrection on the first day of the week. I am trying hard during my Encounter Time this week to really become more aware of the meaning and power of this week. I’d like to encourage you to do the same.

Speaking of Resurrection Sunday, I sincerely hope you are planning on joining us at Abram Farm for the one service at 10:00. Our current building is not big enough for us to meet as one church family so it is nice to have Abram Farm as our “go to.” Bill and Suzie Abram have been so kind in allowing us to use the venue every year (except during COVID). I told Pastor Ryan just this past Sunday that I know having it there requires a lot of extra effort on the part of many people, but it is so good to have everyone together worshiping the Risen Savior and King.

With that being said, we could really use your help this Sunday. Due to a wedding on Saturday evening, the venue is not available until Sunday morning at 7:00. There is plenty of equipment which will need taken to the venue and unloaded. We could also use your help setting up chairs and tables and making the venue as inviting as possible. If you can be there at 7:00 that would be most appreciated. And, as the saying goes, “many hands make light work.”  In the past we have had so many people help that everything has been ready to go within about an hour to an hour and a half. That allows folks to help, go home and get ready to return to celebrate the Resurrection with their families. And trust me when I say that it is a very welcome sight to see things ready to go so quickly.

Just a couple more items to bring to your attention (again):

  • Parking is limited so if you would consider parking at the church lot, you can either carpool with someone you know or we can shuttle you to and from the venue.
  • When you arrive be sure to enter and pick up a bulletin/song sheet and your own communion (we are using the pre-filled ones for convenience).
  • Join in the worship with all your heart. Come prepared to worship and sing and celebrate.
  • Consider helping after the service is over by carrying your chair(s) to the storage area. I know some will be in a hurry because of family obligations and that is okay. But if you can stay to help, it will go quickly.
  • Every year we have taken the offering and given it away to missions (except that which is designated). We divide it equally and will do the same this year. Please see below for a further announcement about the Easter offering.

 

Further announcement concerning Easter offering. IDES (International Disaster Emergency Service) is trying to assist displaced refugees from Ukraine in Poland, Moldova, and Romania. They have people on the ground who are trying to provide shelter, food and other essential supplies on a daily basis. They are in need of clothing, bedding, medications, and much more. One of their most immediate needs are funds to make this ministry possible. Some of our offering will be sent to IDES to help with that effort.  The elders met this past Monday and decided to include IDES in our Easter mission giving. I am extremely grateful to the elders (Wayne Akerson, Jeff Carlson, David Robertson) for taking this extra step in helping others minister where we are unable to. And thanks to you for your generosity.

From the archives to today:  In 2009 OVCF was having a tough year. The flood of ’08 had displaced us to the Middle School and then after 4-5 months we had to go back to the Sports Complex. Several issues came into play in 2009 that took an emotional toll on us. But in the Fall of 2009 we took an unprecedented step of taking our eyes off ourselves and focusing on our community. We had our first Day of Service. We changed oil and did minor car maintenance for people in our community and we also dispersed and performed different acts of service (raking leaves, taking out air conditioners, etc.). It was a fun day. We moved into our current building in 2010 so we took a break while we moved in. The beginning of 2011 saw us get rocked financially but God was so good that in two years we were able to pay cash to do a drastic remodel to this facility.  As a thank you to God’s goodness, we decided to restart the Day of Service. Over the next 5 years we had two per year-one in the Fall and one in the Spring. COVID hit and we had to put that on a hiatus.  We have been asked to help in the community in a very limited capacity and I’m thinking it is a great way to begin serving again. The Lewis-Worman Homeowners Assoc. has some folks who are simply unable to do some maintenance on their residences. Gutters need cleaned. Flower beds need raked and prepared. Simple things. We plan for this Day of Service to be on May 15th from 1:30-3:30. We will plan a light lunch here (provided), pray, then head out. It is all located in one area of town so there won’t be any traveling. The Owen County Chamber of Commerce is providing trash bags and gloves. We will need to bring ladders, rakes, etc. for light yard work. A sign-up sheet will be on the info table for you to sign if you would like to help. If you are unable to do any work, why not plan to maybe come and just visit with some of the folks if they come outside to watch? You never know what lives you may touch.

After this coming Sunday (Alive is Still Alive), I will have one week left in my Truth Decay series. The final sermon will be Eternity is Still Eternity. I’m going to do a short series called Snapshots (the short books of the NT: Philemon, 2 John, 3 John, and Jude). Sandwiched in there is Mother’s Day. I can’t wait until that day and I honestly believe you will be excited about it as well. Something totally different.

Well…this MM has included a ton of information for you to digest. I hope you have a fantastic rest of the week. I love you all and look forward to celebrating Resurrection Sunday with you.

Pastor Bill

 

 

 

 

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Midweek Message 04/06/2022

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #103

Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #103. Jo and I took off for Ohio Sunday after the 2nd worship service to spend time with our family, for her to visit her sister on Monday in the nursing home and for us to watch Braden play ball on Monday and Tuesday night. I will be back in Wednesday afternoon, Lord willing, in plenty of time to teach my “66” class.  Since I will have next week to remind you of the Resurrection Sunday “list,” I thought I would share a very meaningful post from my friend, Zee, whose family had to evacuate from Ukraine.  I think we can all relate to her thoughts:

// Silence & Emmanuel //

What does silence mean to me right now?

I used to love silence because most of the time it meant calm comfort, where I don’t have to speak to be understood.

In the last month, however, the silence started scaring me.

When there were no air raid sirens at night when we were still in Kyiv, I used to wake up and lie awake, waiting for the siren and thinking about my husband.

When there was no news from our friends and relatives – even for a short while – my mind kept coming up with worst-case scenarios.

When Sam wouldn’t message me after his shift – oh, those silences were the worst in general. The first time it happened, I lay in my makeshift “bed” on the floor, listening to my kids as they slept, and thinking “Is he dead? Will I survive without him? Was it just a phone malfunction? Am I a widow?” (Turned out a few hours later that he just was tired and fell asleep.)

Even now, when we are in a safe place, I keep reading messages and prayer requests from my friends “My parents haven’t sent me any messages for two days,” “My friend was in a military battle and I haven’t heard anything from him,” “There is a boy who miraculously escaped from Mariupol, but he hasn’t heard anything from his other relatives…”

All of these messages are about silence.

Lack of information.

Lack of connection when you ask and nothing happens.

This week, the Lenten reflections were focused on another phrase of Jesus on the cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

If anything, this was appropriate. I think this cry is heard throughout Ukraine – and throughout the world, as Ukrainians are forced to move far away from home to stay alive and to save their families.

“Why have You forsaken us?”

And yet… did He?

I think this phrase, more than anything else, speaks volumes to support those who are crying out right now. It tells a story of God who knows exactly what’s it like to wonder where is God in all of this?

Even Jesus felt forsaken.

And yet, at the same time, a short time later, Jesus says “Father. Into Your hands, I commit my spirit.”

I have read a comment on my friend’s Facebook wall about faith and logic being like two hands – you technically can do everything one-handed, but when you have two – it’s much easier.

During these days of war and horrible stories and explosions and evacuations and anxiety, my faith has been sustaining me. If anything, it was what I could hold on to.

My faith isn’t in “God is with me, therefore everything will be great.”

Rather, it is “God is with me. Whatever happens.”

As we approach Good Friday, remember that the same baby who was born on Christmas – the same Emmanuel “God with us” – is the same person who is “God with us” even in our darkest of days.

Even when it feels like we’re crying out and we hear silence as an answer.

Even when it feels like we cannot take any more pain.

Even when it feels like we are forsaken.

We’re not.

“God with us.”

Emmanuel.

 

Have a great week. See you Sunday if not sooner! Love you all.

Pastor Bill

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