Category: MidweekMessage

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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Midweek Message 03/30/2022

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #102

Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #102! Thanks for letting me “invade” your world in this way. As I write this, it sounds like we might be able to say “Spring has sprung.” I sure am hoping so. J  In any case, I hope your week has been going well for you.

My first order of business is to refer you to last week’s MM. I know you print all of them out and save them for historical significance (Ahem!), but JUST. IN. CASE. YOU. DON’T, I’d like to go over the Resurrection Sunday items and also make an important clarification. In last week’s MM here is what I said:

“For the past couple of weeks we have been announcing our Resurrection Sunday service will be at Abram Farm. For those “veterans” you already know a lot of work is needed to help get things ready. For you “newbies” here is a list of what we need to do.  All of this has to be done on Sunday morning since we cannot get into Abram Farm until 7:00 due to a wedding on Saturday night.

  • Thanks to Zach Hogan providing the sound for us (as he did at our celebration outside this past Fall), we are spared having to cart all our sound equipment over. But there is still a need to take equipment from here to there. We also need help unloading the equipment from his trailer and bringing it into the building.
  • The biggest need will be setting up chairs and some tables and we need all the help we can get in setting them up. In the past, due to the help we have had in that particular area it has taken us about 1-1½ hours or so to set up.  That also allows for us to make adjustments if needed.
  • Because of a different traffic pattern entering the building we need some greeters who will show people where to enter and once inside to hand out bulletins, song sheets, and communion elements (we will be using the pre-filled ones).
  • There is minimum parking available so we will need help with making sure all parking spots are filled. You may ask, “How can I help?” The biggest way is to consider parking at the church parking lot and carpool with others. This has worked well for us in the past and we anticipate it will again. Thanks for your help. {See note below please}
  • Perhaps the hardest part is the tear down. I know folks are eager to leave for family things, but if we have everyone’s cooperation immediately, that makes things go quickly and also stops us from having to come back later in the day. The chairs and tables need put away, communion tubs and clipboards collected, and help with the equipment being taken back out to the trailer and vehicles for transport. I’d like to ask you to maybe consider giving an extra 10-15 minutes if possible to help with the teardown. As it has been said, “Many hands make light work.”

There is also one more item you need to be aware of. Having our service there hinders us from having any children’s programs. We can offer a place for a nursery although, unless someone or some folks want to step up, the nursery will not be staffed.” (End of MM#101 thought)

CLARIFICATION: In the past, due to the lack of space at Abram Farm, we have not had a staffed nursery. In fact, we give all our teachers and helpers the week off and tell them to enjoy the worship with their families.  This year is no exception despite what it sounds like by my words. There will be a space (south end of building) for you to take your child if you feel a need to allow them to move around, to rock them to sleep, or to play. There will be no one staffing the nursery so you will be responsible for staying with your child. That will be absolutely essential since we will have no way to sign in/out your child. I do apologize if I gave anyone the idea that we would have a staffed nursery.  I completely and fully agree that we have the best teachers and helpers on the planet and they deserve a week off to worship with their family.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Jim Jones would like to meet with the SAFETY TEAM this Sunday at 10:15 in the library to discuss the whole parking situation so it will work smoothly. Please make plans to be there.

NOTE: As in years past, all our offering on Resurrection Sunday will be given to missions we support, unless designated.

I have been enjoying preaching this series on Truth Decay. It has challenged me in my study and also in my personal beliefs and faith. I am not looking for you to comment on the yay or nay of the series, but I do sincerely hope it has challenged and encouraged you as well.  The rest of the series is as follows:

  • April 2- Sin is Still Sin
  • April 9- The Cross is Still the Cross
  • April 16- Alive is Still Alive
  • April 23- Eternity is Still Eternity

 

The series following will be entitled Snapshots. I plan to take a few of the shorter books in the NT (Philemon, 2 John, 3 John, and Jude) and do a short series on them. The one hitch will be on Mother’s Day when I will interrupt the series for a sermon fitting the day.  J

Just a word which has been on my heart lately before I close.  Over the past 2 weeks I chose to reread two fiction books I had at home. They were both books which deeply impacted me, first back in 1995 (Wisdom Hunter) and 1999 (Betrayal) by Randall Arthur. Randy became a friend through the books, correspondence and then personal visits. I read them every once in a while simply to remind me of who I need to be and what I need to be as a pastor. Randy wrote something in each book he signed for me: “Above all else, never lose your heart for God.” That has been burning in my heart the past two or three weeks. I think that is what led me to read them again. I would say the same to you: never lose your heart for God. If you feel it waning, run back to Him and ask Him to give you a fresh heart.  I love you all.

 

Pastor Bill

 

 

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Midweek Message 03/23/2022

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #101

Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #101. I’m guessing many are saying, “UGH!” after having been on Spring Break last week. I’ve talked to several who have said it was hard for them to get back to work or to school after being out for a week. Even those who stayed around here seemed to have enjoyed their time of relaxation. Long story short, I hope your week back to normal hasn’t been too bad.  J

I wanted to pass something on to you that I heard this past Sunday. But first, a little backstory to fill you on why this is so important. This past weekend (Friday and Saturday) a funeral visitation and service took place for a relative of one of our folks. Because it was Friday (my day off) I am ashamed to admit that I “spaced it” and simply forgot about the visitation on Friday night. When I realized I had forgotten the visitation I was mortified and was beating myself up a little bit. I lost some sleep over it as well because I wasn’t there for the folks who lost a loved one. Sunday morning I apologized to the couple for my failure to attend. I say this carefully: I was never so relieved after I heard what they had to say. They were quick to forgive and say it was no big deal (which I was grateful for) but it was what they said next that had me beyond thankful.  They said it was no problem because several others had shown they cared. They received a card of sympathy from the Care Team Ministry. When they got to the visitation there were flowers from the church which showed them we cared and were thinking of them. Then on Saturday, one of the elders went to the visitation which took place before the funeral service. And while they were grateful for my words, they made sure to tell me I “wasn’t needed” because several others made them feel special. People stepped up to the plate in a big way!  I want to give a big shout out to the Remembrance Care Team for doing what the whole Care Team Ministry is designed to do: reach out to those in our church family. And thanks to the elder who made his way on a Saturday morning to visit and offer his condolences.  {Sidebar: while I am thrilled they stepped forward, I’m going to try not to let that happen again on my part.}

I also know of other Care Teams which are preparing to be ready whenever the need arrives. I know the Safety Team has been actively making sure all our medical supplies are in stock and up-to-date. They have also been actively watching and being alert on Sunday mornings, which I deeply appreciate. I don’t want to ever think something will happen, but I am also not naïve in this day and age. The New Baby Care Team has also been stocking up in order to help new mothers transition well. The Wellness Care Team recently delivered food/medicine to one of our families. I’m excited to see the teams meeting and setting some goals to meet the needs of our folks.

For the past couple of weeks we have been announcing our Resurrection Sunday service will be at Abram Farm. For those “veterans” you already know a lot of work is needed to help get things ready. For you “newbies” here is a list of what we need to do.  All of this has to be done on Sunday morning since we cannot get into Abram Farm until 7:00 AM due to a wedding on Saturday night.

  • Thanks to Zach Hogan providing the sound for us (as he did at our celebration outside this past Fall), we are spared having to cart all our sound equipment over. But there is still a need to take equipment from here to there. We also need help unloading the equipment from his trailer and bringing it into the building.
  • The biggest need will be setting up chairs and some tables and we need all the help we can get! In the past, due to the help we have had in that particular area it has taken us about 1-1/2 hours or so to set up.  That also allows for us to make adjustments if needed.
  • Because of a different traffic pattern entering the building we need some greeters who will show people where to enter and once inside to hand out bulletins, song sheets, and communion elements (we will be using the pre-filled ones).
  • There is minimum parking available so we will need help with making sure all parking spots are filled. You may ask, “How can I help?” The biggest way is to consider parking at the church parking lot and carpool with others. This has worked well for us in the past and we anticipate it will again. Thanks for your help.
  • Perhaps the hardest part is the tear down. I know folks are eager to leave for family things, but if we have everyone’s cooperation immediately, that makes things go quickly and also stops us from having to come back later in the day. The chairs and tables need put away, communion tubs and clipboards collected, and help with the equipment being taken back out to the trailer and vehicles for transport. I’d like to ask you to maybe consider giving an extra 10-15 minutes if possible to help with the teardown. As it has been said, “Many hands make light work.”

 

I know this is a lot of information to digest all at one time, but writing it to you now, and then reminding you along the way, will give you an opportunity to consider helping. I can guarantee you it will be much appreciated.

There is also one more item you need to be aware of. Having our service there hinders us from having any children’s programs. We can offer a place for a nursery, although unless someone or some folks want to step up, the nursery will not be staffed.

I’m excited about being all together in one place, and what better day to be together than Resurrection Sunday, the celebration of Christ’s resurrection.

This is also a good time to bring you up-to-date on the Building Team (BT) and our progress. First, we have had to slow down some due to the pandemic. But you all have been phenomenal in your consistent giving to both our weekly need and to the Building Fund (BF). Currently we have $203,064 in the BF. The BT met this past Monday night to dream about the building, begin putting our dreams on paper, and to also start the process to secure an architect. May I ask you to please be in prayer for the whole process? We are going to continue investigating and pursuing ways to build, all while keeping in mind that we are going to pay cash for it.

These are exciting times! Just remember I love you.

Pastor Bill

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