Category: MidweekMessage

Midweek Message 01/18/2023

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #140

Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #140. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my rambling thoughts. I don’t take that privilege lightly.

Let me start off by reminding you to pray for Rachel Nicholson, our Educator of the week. Rachel teaches Special Education at MCES. Rachel will also be having hip replacement surgery on February 8th. She has been putting this surgery off for several years so I know she would really appreciate your prayers for her. She will then need to rehab while being a teacher, wife, and mother.

Don’t forget ladies, that you are invited to participate:

  • Every Monday night at 6:30 several ladies meet to pray. They would love to have you join them! Contact Adienne Robertson or Gail Kempe for more information.  Their contact information is in the church directory.
  • This coming Saturday is Coffee and Chocolate at OVCF from 2-4:00.  This is a great way to have fun and make new friends. Any questions you might have you can ask Hope East or Sally Carlson.

 

Ever since we have been blessed with this building, being able to remodel it, and then being able to build the youth addition, we have taken the attitude that our building is to be used. Several community organizations use our youth addition almost on a monthly basis-the Owen County Chamber of Commerce, the EDC, and until recently WRE used our building on a weekly basis (they decided to move closer to MCES). Every year we have made our building available to be used for the Legislative Breakfast, which is hosted by the Owen County Chamber of Commerce. This year is no exception. The Legislative Breakfast is on the 3rd Saturday of the month and because it is the long session, we will be hosting them for four months: January through April. This Saturday is the first one and it begins at 7:30 in the auditorium. It is open to all who are interested in knowing what is happening in our state and in Owen County.  Different legislators are given an opportunity to tell what is happening and then it opens up to a Q & A. You are more than welcome to attend. OVCF is not making a political statement whatsoever. We are offering our building for the community to meet.

The series on Revelation continues. I was bowled over by the response to the pamphlets about The Four Views of the End Times. I had ordered 30 originally and they were all taken and had a waiting list of 16. I ordered 25 more, so if you had signed your name as wanting one, Diana has put a post-it-note with your name on it on a copy for you. If we need to order more after this batch is gone, we can do that, but please sign the form provided.  As of this writing, we are down to one pamphlet left.

And speaking of Revelation, I am really excited about preaching this series. As I have said, I have never done so before, and it has stoked some “sermon fire” in me. ☺ What hasn’t hurt has been the comments made by some of you to me and those who are asking about the book I highly recommend. In case you are interested it is called Blessed by Nancy Guthrie. It is available at several booksellers. Someone called while I was driving last week and was so excited about the book. She is finding it easy to understand and hard to put down, which is what I experienced, as well as one other person I recommended it to.  One of the things I told her was don’t hold it against me if you hear me say some things you may read. ☺ I believe it was Chuck Swindoll who once wrote, “There are no original thoughts.” While I (or any pastor) may say something to expand on what he heard or read, I can’t say I have many original thoughts (if any). That certainly goes for this series on Revelation. I pray for clarity as I speak and understanding as you listen and discern.

I believe very strongly in having a daily Quiet Time (I personally call it my Encounter Time since that is what I want to happen). I also know many desire to have daily time with God, but just don’t know where to start. Mine is simple. I have several daily devotion books I read from, but I also take some time to read through the Bible. I know there are some who have committed to reading through the Bible in a year. I applaud you for that. It really takes some discipline to carry that out. I have done that several times in the past, but I have found a slow, easy read is best for me. Since the beginning of the year I started with Matthew 1 and I am now in Matthew 16. I read and highlight as I go. I don’t read for speed; I read for need. I also use several books to focus my devotional thoughts. What I’m leading up to is this: I have placed several of those devotional books in the church library.  You can find a copy of Alistair Begg’s daily devotion Truth for Life-Vol. 1; New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp; The Uncommon Life by Tony Dungy; Drawing Near Devotional Bible by John MacArthur; Daily Readings from the Life of Christ-Vol. 1,2,& 3 by MacArthur; One Perfect Life and One Faithful Life by MacArthur. The former is a compiling of the harmony of the Gospels as they frame Jesus’ life, and the latter is the life of Paul. I encourage you to feel free to borrow them, but I ask only one thing: please sign a card that you borrowed one.  I am currently using a book by Pastor Greg Laurie and also the late David Powlison during my Encounter Time this year.

Your head may be swimming after all of this information. So I think it is about time to check out for this week’s MM. I love you all.

Sunday’s sermon will be Feast Your Eyes on Him from Revelation 1: 9-20. See you then!

Pastor Bill

 

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Midweek Message 01/11/2023

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #139

Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #139. As I write this it is supposed to warm up again this week. We go from bitter cold to the 60s to cold and then back to the 50s. Can I just put my vote in for the 80s and 90s and settle it? J Oh well, that’s life in Indiana.   My friend, Dave in Arizona, texted me two weeks ago and said, “-20 in Indiana? Seriously?  I was out walking in a light sweater this morning and will get rid of that this afternoon.” It was in the 70s. I asked him if he wanted to trade places and for some odd reason he said, “No.” Such a fair-weather friend.

Remember to pray for Angela Mayle this week. Angela is our Educator of the Week and teaches Special Education at SES for Pre-K and Kindergarten students.

Congratulations to Ryan and Katie Keene! On January 2nd they became the proud parents of Genevieve Eloise. She joins big sister, Kalia, and big brothers, Conrad and Calvin.  There is a reason I don’t bet in any way, shape, or form. I would have lost in the “name-the-baby-Keene-little girl.” I was trying to figure out a name beginning with “K” or “C” and failed on both counts. I’m just thrilled Genevieve is healthy and has a loving family to welcome her.

Please continue to pray for Will and Sarah Schneider. They are expecting baby #3 in May. Brantley and Stella are not too thrilled they will be welcoming a baby sister into their family.  They wanted a brother.  J  But I’m willing to wager their disappointment will change as soon as mom and dad bring their little sister home.

On another subject: For the past couple of years, Adienne Robertson and Gail Kempe have been meeting at the church building on Monday nights at 6:30 to pray for the church and individuals. They have been joined occasionally by others, but I have to admit my admiration of their commitment to pray. They are extending an invitation to any woman who would like to join them in praying. This is not a social hour; this is a “commitment to pray” hour. There have been very few Mondays over the past couple of years when they have not met to pray. If you carry that same burden then feel free to join them. You may contact Adienne at davadienne@hotmail.com for more information. Cell phone reception is very weak at their house, so emailing her is the best way to reach her. Gail has also said you may contact her as well at gehiker@gmail.com or you can text her if you prefer. Her number is in the directory.

Speaking of prayer:  I think it goes without saying that one of the most neglected areas of our spiritual lives is prayer. We were raised (most likely) on the “God is great, God is good” or “Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your Name…” formula. One church where I was the pastor made a weekly recitation of the Model Prayer mandatory. All was fine until I stopped saying it one morning and the building went silent.  It wasn’t because I had stopped, but because they were unsure what to say next. At that point, I decided I would discontinue that practice and only say it when I felt the Spirit moving me to do so.

Prayer is hard work. It is important to remember that no earthly relationship can be sustained without communication. Try not talking to your spouse or a friend from years ago and see where that takes you. (Then again, I don’t suggest doing that with your spouse). A relationship cannot be maintained without open and constant communication. I guess the question I have then is how can we expect to maintain a relationship with our Father in heaven when our communication is so spotty.

Pastor Ryan recently gave the elders a book he was given at a recent event he attended called Prayer and Fasting. I began reading it last week and found several interesting paragraphs worth underlining as I read.  They apply to us:

“If we are to tap into the power of God to create genuine, Spirit-led revival in our time, we must personally pray…The absence of powerful prayer is one of the reasons we do not see the power of God unleashed upon the church or our culture.”  (P.37)

“To see things happen in our church we have never seen before, we are going to have to do things we have never done before…It comes down to this observation. When there is a lack of prayer, there will be an absence of power. When there is an abundance of fervent, heartfelt prayer, God’s power will be evident among us. And it will be awesome to see!” (p.39)

If you listened in person or online to Sunday’s sermon, you might remember I asked for prayer…lots of it. It is not just for working on the Revelation sermons (which I specifically asked for) but every day. I rely on your prayers and don’t take them lightly. This past week someone sent me a meme she found on FB that had to do with praying for your pastor. I told her I appreciated the thought and that I definitely needed the prayers.  So…I’ll ask you again to make sure you pray for me each day. And I can promise you the same. Starting January 1, each morning I take the church directory and pray through one of the letters and for each person under that alphabet letter.

Sunday’s sermon, titled “Hear Ye! Hear Ye!” is from Revelation 1:1-8. Please take a moment to read it and pray through it before you come. Thanks. Have a great week and remember you are loved.

Pastor Bill

 

 

 

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Midweek Message 01/04/2023

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #138

Hello and welcome to 2023! WOW that was different.  I know I’m getting old but I don’t remember 2022 happening.  J  Anyway, welcome to Midweek Message #138 and the first one of this new year.

Let me start off by reminding you to pray for our Educator of the Week: Cassie Linville. Cassie is a teacher at Eastern Greene High School. With the start of school after a break, I’m sure she would appreciate your prayers…as would all the teachers.

I have to start out the first MM of 2023 already offering an apology.  On Christmas morning our elementary age children did a skit depicting the Christmas story in Luke 1 & 2. The reader was one of our teenagers, Allison Anderson. But for some reason I called her Addi. Not once. Not twice. But three times!! I’ve known Alli for over 2 years now and I called her by the wrong name. I could rationalize it and say I had been texting with someone earlier that morning who has a daughter named Addi- and that would be true- but that is still no excuse. Alli was a good sport about it as I was teased multiple times and reminded. Thanks Alli for being such a good sport and laughing at an old man’s faux pas. Fortunately that took place in 2022 so I’m still good to go for 2023. But how much you want to bet…?

December is a blur to me. Normally I have a chance to slow down and catch my breath and enjoy the pace and sounds of the season. But this December was so different. It took a bitter cold and somewhat snowy (but not as bad as they predicted) Christmas time to slow things down some (except for the shoveling and thawing that had to be done). Jo, Tami & I had a chance to take off Christmas afternoon to visit our family in Ohio, as well as make a trip to Sandusky to see Jo’s sister in the nursing home.

With this being the first edition of 2023, and since we have so many new people who are attending and receive this MM, I thought I would share some vital information for you to know. Each week Diana puts some of this in the bulletin, but I suspect much of it is missed. So I put it here for you to know or to remember:

For your information: If we are here alone, the door will be locked for security. Please knock or call us and we’ll come to the door! Pastor Bill and Pastor Ryan are available whenever there is a need.  Church office phone number is (812) 828-9840

 

Diana is here M-F, 8 AM-1PM.  Her email is secretary@ovcf.org

Pastor Bill’s day off is Friday. His email is pastor@ovcf.org

Pastor Ryan’s day off is Tuesday. His email is youthpastor@ovcf.org

 

You might be wondering why we have not included our personal phone numbers.  This MM goes out to a lot of people-many who are not part of OVCF-through Facebook, the Owen County Chamber and others. We prefer our personal numbers not be published for all to see. If you have a reason to contact us, you may call the church office or the church directory has those numbers.  Thanks for understanding.

I’d like to thank all those who put their time and effort into the skit which took place on Christmas morning. Sadly, it was also supposed to be performed on Christmas Eve but the weather sort of changed that. L But thanks to all those who were involved in making it happen.

Speaking of the weather: Five ladies will be texting or calling you in case of inclement weather (like Christmas Eve). Madi Arnett, Vicki Hogan, Tiffany Kropack, Linda St. John, and JuliAnne Wiegand make those calls or texts. (Thank you ladies!) Diana also posts it on Facebook and sends out a mass email.

Don’t forget that I will be starting my series on Revelation this coming Sunday.

The theme for 2023 is Victory!

The theme for the series on Revelation is The Lamb Wins!!

January 8- Just So You Know- 1:1-3

January 15- Hear Ye! Hear Ye!- 1:1-8

January 22- Feast Your Eyes on Him- 1:9-20

January 29- He Knows-Pt. 1- Chapter 2

February 5- He Knows- Pt. 2- Chapter 3

February 12- God on the Throne- Chapter 4

February 19- The Lion who is a Lamb- 5:1-8

February 26- The Lamb is Worthy!- 5:9-14

 

Through March and April I plan to take a break from Revelation and focus on the cross, then my plan is to get back to Revelation. You can make a serious difference by doing two things:

  1. Please pray for me as I prepare-for my heart and mind to be in tune with the Spirit’s leading.
  2. By reading ahead and praying for an expectant heart.

 

My last words for this week: We often hear people at the beginning of the year setting resolutions. I stopped doing that and began to pray for a heart willing to be yielded to God’s leading, and to be the change we often hear so much about. Instead of expecting everyone else to change, why not start with me? Like everyone, I have my ups and downs, my highs and lows, my victories and defeats. But I also know I have a promise from the Father that He will never leave me or forsake me, no matter how much I mess up. I KNOW 2023 will have challenges. I expect them (but don’t know when). I pray I am prepared for those moments. Join me in being prepared.

Shameless plug coming: Did you know I write a daily devotional blog Monday through Thursday? You can find it at http://livingintheshadow.ovcf.org or by going to the church’s website and clicking on the icon on the left side.

Have a great new year! I’ll start out by saying, “I love you.”

Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 12/20/2022

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #137

Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #137.  I know this is a busy week for you getting ready for Christmas so I won’t “bend your ear” too long this week. I was speaking to someone the other day and we were talking about Christmas. I asked her if she was ready and then I said, “Or are you like 90% of the people who aren’t even close?” She smiled and said, “Yep.”

That same person told me her husband would be taking off for Alaska. His family lives in Nome. If my geography is right (and that is suspect since it wasn’t one of my stronger classes in high school) that is almost as far north as one can (wants to) get. She said they go to a certain place, then take a small plane, and then get another small plane. I say all that so you and I can keep in perspective that what we have here is not cold. It is already in the minuses there.  So what we think is cold is sorta like tropical to them. What’s funny is that her husband said, “I may have been raised there, but after a week I’m ready to come back. It’s too cold there.”  Anyway, enjoy the cold this week.  It most definitely will remind us it is winter.

I’d like to remind you again about this weekend. We will have a Christmas Eve service from 6-7:00 and one service on Sunday from 10-11:00.  The Sunday service only will be live streamed.  I honestly think you will enjoy either or both (if you are a glutton to hear the message/devotion twice). Christmas Eve will take a different approach musically but other than that all will be the same. I honestly don’t believe you will be disappointed in either, since both will give you an opportunity to focus on the birth of Jesus.  The young people will also be taking part in the service so you won’t to miss that! And we will conclude both services with a candlelight service.

Also wanted to let you know that the office hours will be a little different this coming week. It will be closed the day after Christmas (Monday).  We will all be in and out at different times this week so call ahead if you plan or need to stop by.

There will not be a Midweek Message next week. I know that has you crying crocodile tears but both Diana and I will be in & out of the office during the week so I want to take the pressure off both of us. It is hard to believe 2022 will soon be history and we will be turning the page of a new year. I’m praying for big things in 2023.  One of the biggest things for me is preaching on Revelation. That series begins on January 8th.  I have been working on the outlines and introductions for the sermons to be preached during January and February. Here are a couple of things you might also like to know:

The theme for 2023 is VICTORY! Diana has worked hard on a banner for the series and after several drafts we have come up with one. I can’t wait to unveil it to you. In fact, here is the banner!

The theme for the series on Revelation is The Lamb Wins!  I think it is a very appropriate theme for the whole book, not just the series.

I plan to take a break from The Lamb Wins! during the months of March and April and focus on To and After the Cross. Resurrection Sunday is in April (the 9th), so I want to focus our hearts on the people who were and are affected by the cross and resurrection.  Then I will be back to Revelation 6 on the first Sunday in May.

By the way: someone has asked about New Year’s Day worship. There will be two services as usual.  What better way to start out 2023 than being with other people studying the Bible and singing songs of praise?

I said I wouldn’t go too long this week. I aim to keep my word.  So let me close by giving you something to think about this week:

One of the most moving pictures during this time of the year is not the movie It’s a Wonderful Life (although that can elicit some tears as he realizes what he has). It isn’t when Scott Calvin comes to fully embrace his role as the new Santa Claus. ☺  It could be the rendering of the biblical Christmas story by Linus in A Charlie Brown Christmas. Actually, it is something written (but not the biblical story). It is a short story by O’Henry called The Gift of the Magi. I suspect you have heard of it or read it. Can there be any more moving story than Jim & Della, a young couple in love, married, and dirt poor giving up to give? Della’s hair was long and flowing; Jim had a family heirloom watch. She cut her hair to buy him the chain and fob; he sold his watch to buy her combs for her hair. O’Henry finishes his story with these words:

“Let it be said that of all who give gifts, these two are the wisest. Of all who give and receive gifts, such as they are the wisest. Everywhere they are the wisest. They are the magi.”

Read the whole story: https://www.owleyes.org/text/gift-magi/read/the-gift-of-the-magi#root-218982-8

Jo & I pray you will all have a joy-filled and blessed Christmas season.  The amount of love God has for us to come in the flesh is so overwhelming. May you know it to the fullest!

Pastor Bill

 

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Midweek Message 12/14/2022

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #136

Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #136. We are inching closer to two weeks out of school, I mean, from celebrating Christmas. ☺  Thanks for your time.

I’d like to start off by asking you to remember our Educator of the Week: Cara King. Cara teaches Kindergarten at MCES and is part of our OVCF family. I know she appreciates your prayers. In fact, I know that all of our teachers do. Both teachers and students are ready for the Christmas break so it is a tough week to teach anything.

Speaking of schools, I want to take a moment and commend you (again) for your generosity. Operation Christmas Child saw over 60 shoeboxes delivered to Sherwood Oaks for distribution to children around the world. Next, we were able to serve close to 125 people during our Thanksgiving meal because there was so much food you helped prepare. Following Thanksgiving we focused our Christmas “gifting” on Backpack Buddies. Diana posted some pictures to the church’s Facebook group of the food you donated which will help over 200 students during Christmas break. Thank you so much! I also want to put out a huge thank you to Rob Babbs for his last minute fulfillment of boxes of crackers for each student to take home. I heard from Linda St. John that they had jars of peanut butter for the students but nothing to send with it. So I contacted Rob and he was able to order boxes of crackers for each student. The elders said the church would pay for them and now each student has a jar of peanut butter and crackers to take home on Christmas break. I mean, after all, what is a jar of peanut butter without crackers or bread? ☺ I’m honored to know someone like Rob, who at the last minute came through. Tell him thanks next time you see him (or send him a note).

I want to remind you again of the Christmas schedule. I’ll just put it here again for you to put on your calendar or refrigerator (which often passes for the calendar):

  • Christmas Eve service from 6-7:00 pm
  • Christmas morning service from 10-11:00

 

Here are the details about the services themselves:

  • Both services will have singing, Communion, a short message/devotion from me, and a closing candlelight ceremony.
  • The young people will be involved in both services. I’m excited to see what all they will be doing to make our Christmas celebration more memorable.
  • There will be no children’s programs for either service. The nursery will be open but not staffed. We will have activity pages available for preschool aged children.

 

I’d like to encourage you to invite others to attend one of the services with you. There are two times when people are more likely to attend church: Christmas and Easter. This is a great, non-threatening time to invite your family and friends.  Spread the word to those you know. We don’t have the luxury of having a newspaper to help with advertising, but the best advertising is word of mouth.  I look forward to seeing you there.

Here is something for you parents who are looking for some time to do some Christmas shopping (or taking a nap as someone suggested) without the children “hanging around.” Jasmine St. John is offering a Parent’s Day Out this Saturday, the 17th, from 12-5:00 in the OVCF children’s addition. She will offer hot dogs/chips for lunch. Donations will be accepted to cover costs and any extra will go to our children’s ministry. Any questions? Please contact her at 812.821.4655.

 

Holidays always play havoc with scheduled activities. Here are a few of them:

  • My Route 66 class will not meet on 12/14, 12/21, or 12/28. Study resumes on 1/4/23. (WOW! We are going to have to get used to that last number).
  • Deeper will not meet 12/21 or 12/28. It resumes on 1/4/23. (I’m getting into practice).
  • Roots will not meet 12/18-1/8/23. It resumes on 1/15/23. (I think I got the hang of it now).

 

Down through the years we have ordered Christmas devotional booklets for you to have. This year we ordered one called Jesus: Light of the World. It is 10 devotional thoughts from Our Daily Bread you can use for yourself, a friend or your family this Christmas. Please feel free to pick one up. We also have several different booklets left over from previous Christmases which you may have. They are on the back table in the auditorium.

I’ll have one more MM for 2022…next week. The week of the 25th I will not put out a MM because of both Diana and I being out of the office a couple of days that week.  Have a great rest of the week. Christmas is a time of remembering God’s love. Do that. But please remember than I love you also.

Pastor Bill

 

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Midweek Message 12/07/2022

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #135

 

Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #135. I always consider it a privilege that you allow me to “invade” your inbox with my ramblings. So, thank you for being so accommodating. ☺ I have important things to share with you in this MM so I hope you will take the time to read it and not delete it immediately. Then again…if you did that there was no sense in writing that last line. See how my mind works…or doesn’t?  Anyway…

 

Please let me encourage you to pray for Tami Grandi this week as our Educator of the Week. I happen to know this one a bit better than the others, but I’m not sure why. ☺  I send a note to all of our educators and after she got hers she came knocking on my door at home and said, “You could have saved a stamp.” I told her, “Yeah, but I know how you like to get good mail.” Tami teaches Kindergarten at SES.

 

This past week I received an email from someone (she has asked to remain anonymous so I will honor her wishes).  Here is what her email said: “After Thanksgiving I was exploring on my cell phone and ran across some comments from a couple of ladies in a senior housing project in Cunot. They were excited and thankful that ‘someone brought me a lovely Thanksgiving meal and I didn’t feel so alone.’ A third one chimed in and said she wished she knew where the wonderful meal came from and I remembered you (referring to me) saying that one of our drivers slipped up there. I just typed in ‘Owen Valley Christian Fellowship’ and left it at that. They all typed back how grateful they were, not only for the good food, but the thought of being remembered.”  This person then finished her email saying, “Sometimes we don’t get to see or hear how our actions affect people. And then other times we get a glimpse of how deeply a plate of food can cheer a lonely heart. Just thought I’d share that with you.”  I couldn’t have said it better myself. Jesus once said, “For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited me in; naked, and you clothed me: I was sick, and you visited me; I was in prison, and you came to me.” (Mt. 25:35-36 NASB2020). When asked by His disciples when they did that He said, “When you have done it to the least of these, you have done it unto me.”

 

There is so much truth in Jesus’ words (as you would expect me to say). But just think about it for a moment: by receiving one meal these ladies heard of a church in Spencer who was the hands and feet of Jesus for them. They may never darken our church door, but that is not the point. The fact that we reached out to them made a difference to them.  And we followed Jesus. Thanks again to all who helped with the Thanksgiving meal. You were part of this email.  And thanks to the anonymous person who made my day by sending it to me.

 

Let’s switch gears for a moment. Okay, let’s switch celebrations. From Thanksgiving to Christmas. We have been telling you for a couple of weeks about our plans for the Christmas weekend. Here they are again:

  • Christmas Eve (CE) service from 6-7:00 pm
  • Christmas Morning service from 10-11:00

 

I have a few more details I can share with you.

  • Both services will have singing, Communion, a short message/devotion from me, and a closing candlelight ceremony.
  • Terrie MacMorran will be leading the singing on CE and Sunday morning will be the regular worship team leading our singing.
  • The exciting part is that young people will be participating in both services. Some details still need to be fleshed out so I don’t feel as though I ought to spill the beans at this time. In fact, I guess I should just simply say, “Come to one of the services and find out what the young people are up to!”  ☺ I think you will be glad you did.
  • We will close with a time of candlelight and song.

 

The last time Christmas was on Sunday, Spencer had a paper. That meant we could advertise that we were offering a Christmas Eve service. We had several visitors that evening, and even though they did not come back to worship on any given Sunday, it gave some an opportunity to worship and not feel like they left something out of making sure they had a meaningful Christmas and were able to look in the mirror and know they honored Christ in this most beautiful season. We, unfortunately, do not have the paper to do any advertising this time around, however, you can be the “mouthpiece” about our Christmas Eve service.  If you know of someone who is looking for a Christmas Eve service to attend, please invite them.

 

One more thing before I close: I have often told you how honored I am to be your pastor. The past 17 years have been the highlight of my 50 years in the ministry. Monday I was speaking to someone and he talked about the church. I’m going to capsulize what he said since it was said in our conversation and it was a long one (imagine that!). He said, “Bill, your church has done some pretty big things in our community. Your church has been the hands and feet of Jesus to many people and you have shown what it means to walk the walk and talk the talk.” I share that with you, not so we can get big heads and think “we are all that and more.” I share that with you because I find words hard to come by when expressing my joy to hear that about OVCF.  My continual prayer is that we will never rest on our laurels; that we will never sit back and say, “We have worked hard for years and now it is time to take a break”; that we will always see our community as a group of people who need Jesus; and that we will never get weary of doing good (I Cor. 15:58).  Thank you again for allowing me to pastor you for these past 17 years.

 

Lord willing, I will see you Sunday as we talk about The Unexpected Birth.

 

Pastor Bill

 

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Midweek Message 11/30/2022

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #134

Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #134. Thanksgiving Day is history. Black Friday is (thankfully) a bad memory. Now we start gearing up for Christmas. Hard to believe isn’t it? It seems like not too long ago we were taking the Christmas tree and lights down, and here we are, putting them back up. Gives some credibility to just leaving them up all year ‘round I am thinking. ☺ Time flies when you are having fun…so they say. Anyway, thanks for joining me for this issue of the MM.

Please let me remind you right off the bat to pray for Kim Floyd, our Educator of the Week. Kim is a nurse at SES.

I bet you are just chomping at the bit to hear about our Thanksgiving meal!!

  • First, let me say again a huge thanks to the five ladies who organized the whole event: Lizz Bixler, Nannette Edwards, Janet Jones, Karen White, and Stacy Wood.  You ladies did a phenomenal job of putting this together and in spite of concerns (which is normal), the day went off without a hitch.
  • Second, thanks to everyone who volunteered-from cooking, to serving the meal, to putting together all the take-out meals, to working in the kitchen, to talking to those who came in to eat, to the delivery people (who were so efficient we were able to finish about 12:15), and last, but certainly not least, to the young people who stood out by the street and “advertised” our meal. Rumor has it that Charli Wood was dancing and Eli Wood (no relation) was encouraging people to come in.  Thanks to Eli, Kayden, Tanner, Cooper, Julian, and Charli for being our outside advertisement. As a side note, it was so good to see sons and daughters helping with deliveries. What better way can there be for young people to learn about caring for others than to see their parents model it?
  • Now for the stats: I try my best to be as accurate as possible but I know some slip through the cracks due to setting up the deliveries, so please keep that in mind.  Meals delivered= 90.  Walk-ins= about 20. Meals picked up and taken= 10. Leftover food was also taken to the Owen County EMS and some were delivered to Cunot and Cloverdale Senior Apartments (these latter two were part of the 90 meals delivered).  All told there were close to 125 meals shared with others. While we had less come into the Lions Club to eat, we had far more deliveries than we ever had.  It was so exciting to see new faces mixed with the old faces to make it all run like clockwork.
  • Special thanks to the Lions Club for the use (again) of their building. They have been so generous in allowing us to use their facility.  It is a great location.

 

Moving on from Thanksgiving, this is a reminder that this coming Sunday, December 4th, is the day we would like to have all the food for Backpack Buddies. The plan is to deliver it to the Middle School during the week. Looking at all you have brought makes me know why God has chosen to bless us in so many ways. Your generosity and concern for the young people of Owen County is a sight to behold.  Thank you!!

I know some folks are always looking for Christmas gift ideas.  May I suggest a copy of the ESV Bible? This past year I took a break from the ESV and used the NASB2020. Beginning with the first sermon on Revelation (January 8), I will be using the ESV for 2023.

Now for something a bit more serious that I think is important for you to know. As you can probably imagine, during Christmas we seem to be inundated with requests for help. It is hard to say no to people, so several years ago the elders set a policy for Diana, Pastor Ryan and me to follow. Unfortunately, it was needed, since people took advantage of us. To avoid that and to stop being part of the endless cycle of people calling every church and organization in town for help, we asked for help. Here is the policy we follow:

  • When someone calls and asks for help- whether bills, gas, rent, travel, or food- we first ask them if someone from OVCF has recommended that they call. If they say no, then we politely tell them we are unable to help and try to direct them to several options. If they say yes (and give your name), we try our very best to listen and help. We will not give money to anyone. We might offer to help pay/pay on an electric bill or buy a gas card, etc. but they must be recommended by you. Some just hang up when we say that or when we say we will not give them cash.  We are not trying to be cold-hearted, but we are trying to be good stewards of God’s money, money you have given and entrusted to be used wisely. If you have any questions about this approach, please feel free to ask Diana, Pastor Ryan or me about it.

 

This coming Sunday is the last of the series of Feasts with a Purpose. It will serve as a great lead-in to the series which will run through January 1: Expect the Unexpected. As I mentioned Sunday, the pamphlets I ordered-Feasts of the Bible- have trickled in. I will put them on the back table for you to take. Developing the series has been a real treat for me, so I do hope I have been able to give you a bit better picture of the OT roots and how the NT age of grace is so much more meaningful. January 8th starts my series on Revelation. Yikes!

Speaking of Christmas (that was a couple paragraphs ago), please keep in mind the plan for that weekend. We will have a Christmas Eve service at 6:00 and a service Christmas morning at 10:00 only. Both will be somewhat different from normal fare, but identical, except for the music.  {Editor’s note: did you get that last statement? ☺ }  I know. I know. Sometimes I make absolutely no sense. I’ll tell you more in future MMs.

Thanks again for taking the time to read this, even though I know you have a busy schedule.  I look forward to seeing you Sunday, if not sooner. May you experience the peace, love and joy that we talk so much about at Christmas. You have to know love (John 3:16) because that is why we celebrate this season in the first place.  And never forget that I love you all (but definitely not as much as He did!).

 

Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 11/23/2022

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #133

Hello and welcome to MM#133. Due to the short work week, this will be a shortened version of the MM. (I know what some of you are thinking…shortened? When has Pastor Bill ever shortened anything?) ☺  So…here is your shortened MM.

First, pray for Karen Fisher, our Educator of the Week. Karen is from OVCF and is a bookkeeper at OVHS.

Second, I am so excited about this Thursday.  Our Thanksgiving meal for the community is planned and ready to go. All we need is people to come into the Lions Club or to ask for deliveries. We never turn anyone away who needs a meal.

Third, Thanksgiving Day reminds us of a very important part of every Christ-followers lifestyle: being thankful for all God has done and given to us. We can choose to grumble and complain or we can choose to be grateful. I can choose to praise or pout. I can choose to count my blessings or complain about what I don’t have. But I have noticed how much better life is when my attitude is one of gratitude for the simple things God has given me.  Family. Friends. Job. A ride on a bike. A night with friends. A good book or puzzle. Relaxing with Jo. Eating pizza or ice cream (yum). I thought I’d list specific things I am grateful for. May I suggest you do the same?

  • A totally awesome, marvelously miraculous, startlingly surprising, graciously giving, forever faithful God who has never failed me through all my 70 years.
  • Jo, my wife of almost 50 years (Lord willing on June 3, 2023). You are my jewel.
  • Tami & Janna, my two daughters, whom no father could be more proud of. Braden my only grandson (who will soon have his license). AAAHHHH!! (think Home Alone).
  • Ryan and his family. Hiring him in 2013 was the best thing we did.
  • Diana & Jim. Diana and I started at OVCF at the same time. It’s been a good 17 years. ☺
  • Wayne Akerson, Jeff Carlson, and David Robertson. Three men who serve as elders and whom I am more than honored to work with.
  • OVCF volunteers who step forward in so many ways-both big and small (if there is such an animal). The list of volunteers and tasks is too numerous to mention. I take a chance of forgetting someone if I start doing that. Just thank you for stepping up.
  • And TO ALL OF YOU…who have given me the opportunity to pastor you for 17 years.  Diana and I both start Year #18 this week. I have never enjoyed being a pastor in all my years than I have for these past 17 years. I am humbled that you have allowed me to love you and be your shepherd. I pray it continues with tons of victories.  I don’t say this emptily: THANK YOU!!

 

Have a Happy Thanksgiving Day.  Eat. Spend time laughing with family and friends. Don’t watch any football. ☺ Above all, remember how good God is. Along the way, remember I love you.

Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 11/16/2022

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #132

 

Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #132! Thanks for hanging out with me for a few minutes.  I started out MM #131 with these words: “As I start writing this it is Monday and the sun is shining. Can you hear me saying, ‘please let it stay’?” Well, I guess you now see how much clout I have in the weather department. I couldn’t believe Saturday morning. When I came to the office it was cold but that was it. About an hour later I looked outside and AAAAAH snow was falling. I went to the Y trying to figure out what that white stuff was that was falling. As far as I’m concerned, it showed itself enough for the year. It can go back into hiding. But unless I miss my guess God is going to chuckle at that and show me who is boss. ☺

Be in prayer this week for our Educator of the Week: Mary Beckwith. Mary is back teaching at MCES after maternity leave and is juggling a lot of plates right now.  I owe an apology to Mary for a big mix-up on Sunday. Jo told me afterwards that I said Mary is our educator but prayed for Brianna, the educator from the week before. Sheesh! You would think I’m getting old by the way I make silly mistakes. Sorry Mary. I corrected it in the second service. Mary and family were gone this past Sunday celebrating with their former church as they dedicated their new facility. They built it debt free (Yay for them!!). Mary’s late mother always hoped for that to happen. I think it is cool that Mary honored her mother that way.

Just a heads up: At the beginning of Sunday’s sermon I mentioned a brochure the church purchased called Feasts of the Bible. I had ordered 30 and I’m thrilled to tell you we were “picked clean.” Since people from both services had a chance to get one (and I had asked one per household), we have ordered more for anyone else who needs a copy. We hope to have them soon!

And while I’m at it: thanks so much for the encouraging words concerning Sunday sermon. I am praying it lights a fire under each one of us to know more about who Jesus is from beginning to end.

It sure looks like the focus on Backpack Buddies is off to a good start! I can’t wait to see the faces of those who are in charge when we deliver all your donations! ☺  Someone came up to me before services started and was asking and talking about BB. They were so glad we were doing that this year instead of the Giving Tree. While the Giving Tree was a nice effort on our part to make Christmas happy for children and their families, the scope was limited. This BB collection will spread all over Owen County. Diana said Sunday there are about 210 young people who take food home on the weekend so they can eat. We will be collecting food until December 4th, then taking it to OVMS where it is stored and distributed. Kristen Portteus has a class that fills the bags each week and the JROTC classes help when needed. They are all to be commended.

Sadly the Owen Valley Patriots came up short this past Friday night against Monrovia. They finished the season at 12-1. They went further and set a new goal for future football teams. Thanks Patriots for a thrilling season! You played hard and never quit. You done us proud! ☺

We still need your help for the Thanksgiving Day meal. I just looked at the lists and we need folks who will help cook not just the turkeys and hams (if you need help buying one the church will do that), but also the sides. We can still use help with volunteers.  Please call the church office (812.828.9840) to see where you can help or contact Stacy Wood.

Here is your heads up for the week!! Christmas is on a Sunday this year. We plan to offer a Christmas Eve service, probably 6 PM, and then one service on Christmas Sunday at 10 AM. We are still working out all the bugs, but you can plan your Christmas gatherings around those services. We will keep you informed as we get into December.

Early in Sunday’s sermon I mentioned the commitment I made to God, to you and to myself about my study. For those who collect the MM, ☺ it was MM#99 where I communicated to you about that commitment. With the desire to do a series on the Feasts and then after the first of the year a series on Revelation, I thought I would reiterate that commitment to you again as to why I would take on some difficult (for me at least) projects. I’ll start by saying this: it is not unusual for me to read of another pastor who is retiring after 35 or 40 years. On April 13, 1975 I was officially ordained into the ministry by a church in Akron, OH. That does not count the years I preached while in college and the year I was an Associate Pastor after graduating in 1974. That means in 2025 I will have been an “official” pastor for 50 years. I’ve been asked lately when I plan to retire. The answer is, I don’t. There are several reasons why, but one big reason is I love what I do. I have no idea how long God will allow me to do this “pastor thing,” but I personally hope it is for a long time yet…I guess as long as I can be effective and remember how to put my shoes on. ☺  Anyway, here is my commitment to you. I’m not sure if I wrote this years ago or found it somewhere and kept it:

  • I promise to keep doing original and hard work in my study. You deserve my best not the plagiarized words of someone else.
  • I promise to maintain a heart for God. That means having a devoted time with Him. I prefer early mornings.
  • I promise to remain accountable. I don’t want to live as a Lone Ranger.
  • I promise to stay faithful to my family. Our nest may be empty but Jo is still a priority to me. She deserves my time, affection, and attention. My adult children and grandson do as well.
  • I promise to be who I am. Just me. I plan to keep laughing, joking, saying things a little off the wall from time to time, being a friend, loving wholeheartedly, and making a few mistakes each month day.

 

There you have my “creed.” I love being your pastor and look forward, Lord willing, to more years serving Jesus hand-in-hand with you. I love you all.

 

Pastor Bill

 

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Midweek Message 11/09/2022

MIDWEEK MESSAGE 131

 

Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #131. As I start writing this it is Monday morning and the sun is shining. Can you hear me saying, “Please let it stay”?☺

 

Before I move on to other bit of information, let me remind you to pray for Brianna Wigington this week. She is a counselor at SES.

 

What a great Sunday it was with Will and Theresa Reed and their three children, Ellie, Audrey and Tallie. I heard so many comments about Will’s message being spot on, or what they needed to hear, or so poignant. Our small group Sunday night was about Jesus being the Bondage Breaker and several references were made to Will’s sermon. The great thing is Will and Theresa are genuine people who are willing to share their experiences with us. I talked to Will about the possibility of having them again this Spring or closer to their departure time (and, of course, lunch is always on the docket). I gotta tell you, though, something Theresa said as I was leaving the pitch-in to take communion to someone. She looked at me and said, “You have one of the most loving, kind, and welcoming church communities I have ever known. They have welcomed us and shared with us and you don’t know how much that means.” I’ll admit. I teared up. It is always good to hear statements like that, especially when they are unsolicited. Thanks to you for being that type of church community.

 

Just a reminder: Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes are due this Sunday, the 13th. We plan to take them to Sherwood Oaks on the 16th. Questions? Please see Diana or call the office.

 

I’d also like to remind you about the upcoming Community Thanksgiving Meal. Just a little story: I took one of the flyers to the Y and asked if it could be displayed. “Most definitely. I like to see things like this. What a wonderful way to serve the community.” This person even offered to make what she called, “The best, and I mean the best turkey for it.” I told this person that if needed the church would buy the turkey and I was told, “No. I will provide the turkey, or two.” WOW! Never underestimate the impact doing something for others has on people.  Also keep in mind that we need people who will help serve, set up and clean up and deliver. And if you volunteer to cook a turkey or ham, the church will buy it if you need help with that. Just contact Diana.

 

There is something else really big you can help with. But first, the backstory. A couple of years ago we felt that we put too much on you financially during the months of October-December. So we pared it down to Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes, the Community Thanksgiving meal, and the Giving Tree. After several really rough years of the Giving Tree (people’s expectations of gifts and their lack of timeliness of notifying us and other factors), we decided to help the children in Owen County in a different way this year. We have been involved in Backpack Buddies (BB) since its beginning and then backed off when some of the groups and students of OVMS and OVHS took it on as something they wanted to do. So in September the elders gave Diana the okay to buy supplies for BB. Those food supplies were greatly appreciated. So we decided to do more. BB serves 200+ students in our community who need food when away from school! 200+!!! Our Christmas-time focus will be collecting food supplies for BB at   S-OCS.  Here are some particulars Diana would like you to know:

  • We will be collecting items at OVCF from November 13-December 4. You saw that right: starting this Sunday.
  • Rather than have a bunch of random food items, here is a list of specific items that are needed:
  • Ramen noodles (beef or chicken)
  • Little Debbie Cosmic brownies
  • Little Debbie Fancy cakes
  • Little Debbie Nutty Buddies
  • Fruit snacks
  • Snack size chips, pretzels, and goldfish (crackers not the real ones) ☺

 

I’m anticipating a really big response. I would love to have so much food to give that their eyes bug out (not really but it would be interesting to see). It will be fun to see the joy on the faces of those who run the program.

 

On another subject: Tami reminded me of a “dubious” anniversary Monday morning. She texted me to say her memories told her it was six years since the hit-and-run incident on my bike. I told her, “Thanks…I think.”

 

Many of you (who knew) asked how my leg was doing. For those who don’t know, I was at the Y two weeks ago and ran my leg into an iron bar. It left a pretty significant “goose egg” on my leg (just above the ankle) and has since become a rather ugly reminder of running into something stronger than your skin. With other complications developing and at the advice of a nurse friend, I went to see the doctor. But you know how that goes. No openings. So they told me to call a central number and perhaps she could help me find another doctor in the system. No go. Nada. Zip. As we talked she said, “Let me look again.” Then she said, “I found one for 9:05. Can you be there?” “You bet.” So I went and the diagnosis was as expected. I was telling her (the Dr) about my efforts to see her and as she walked out of the room she said, “I just happened to have a cancellation this morning. “ I didn’t have the opportunity to tell her that I don’t believe in “just happened to.” Just as I don’t believe in luck or chance. Not in life. Maybe in games like Backgammon or cards or “games of chance”.  The Bible is very clear that my steps are ordered by the Lord (Pr. 20:24) and that He directs my steps (Pr. 16:9). I have freedom of choice. True. But chance, luck or “just happened to” is not in His vocabulary.  And I don’t want it in mine either.  Just something for you to think about.

 

My sermon series on “Feasts with a Purpose” starts this Sunday.   Have a great week. I love you all.

 

Pastor Bill

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