Category: MidweekMessage

Midweek Message 9/23/2020

MIDWEEK MESSAGE 27

 

Hi everyone!  Welcome to MM #27. I hope this touch of Fall weather finds you comfortable and relaxed and (for some of you) drinking hot chocolate and dreaming of snuggling up with a fire and a good book.  Then there are some, like me, who are already dreaming of next Spring. 🙂 I couldn’t believe it the other morning. It was in the 40s when I walked out my front door, and this past Sunday morning Ryan saw some frost on the tips of the grass here at the church property. He said the sun was shining at just the right angle for him to see it. I’d say I want to go back to when it was warm but I’m pretty sure I would be the only one who would say, “Take me back.” I don’t know of anyone who would want to repeat the summer of 2020.  Oh well, it is what it is. I just hope you are having a great week so far.

 

This past week I finished reading a book called Jesus Revolution by Greg Laurie and Ellen Vaughn. It was a fantastic book on the early days of the Jesus Movement/Jesus People (JM/JP) from the mid ‘60s to the early days of the ‘70s. It was primarily Pastor Greg’s involvement in the JM and how he came to Christ and was used by God to have the ministry he does today. Several thoughts stood out as I read it. I didn’t do my usual highlighting of sentences, primarily because I didn’t know what to expect, and because I was so captured by it that I wanted to read uninterrupted. One quote stood out to me, one that I would love to adopt for OVCF: “If you can explain what’s going on, God didn’t do it.”  There is a long backstory to that quote which I don’t have the time or the space to go into right now (maybe in a sermon), but suffice it to say that the quote is dead on. I’m reminded of Paul’s words in Ephesians 3:20-21: “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”  I honestly believe OVCF is poised to see some of its best days ahead. And I believe it will be far more than we ever imagined.

 

This Sunday we open our children’s department at the 10:45 service! Ryan is stoked, as are the teachers who will greet and teach your children. Okay…okay… some of you parents are also ecstatic. Let me assure you that every health precaution has been taken into consideration and we will do our best to make it a safe and healthy experience for all children. I know Jo has gone to great lengths to make the Pre-school classroom as safe and healthy as possible. Please feel free to ask her. We are also doing that so mom and dad can rest easily. 🙂 We want you to worship with the adults and know your child will be safe.

 

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t excited about Sunday. I know some of you have said you will be back when the children’s department opens again. I expect all 200 of you here this week. Okay…so I can dream can’t I?  🙂  I honestly do look forward to seeing many of you Sunday. Phones, cards, driveway visits can only do so much. They most definitely are not a substitute for seeing you in person and giving you a hug (if you want one).

 

We are limited in our space and with no overflow due to the children’s programs, the same thing still goes: if you are uncomfortable or don’t feel safe, please don’t feel obligated to come. We will still be doing the live stream. Due to the ongoing need for people to help with doing the live stream, we will be live streaming the first service for sure at 9:00, but Joe Pavich is investigating being able to save it for 10:45. We will let you know. However, you can alleviate that if you would consider volunteering to do the live stream. You will be trained on how to do that. We are also looking into better equipment for the live stream since we anticipate having to move the camera out of the aisle.

 

One last thing…a very serious thing…not joking. Would you please say a prayer for Alexander Chambers? I was texting with Christine (his mom) after she thanked me for the live stream and I asked her how the kiddos were doing. She said Alexander is having some circulation issues. He wakes up and his fingertips, lips and toes are bluish-colored. Would you please say a prayer for Alexander, as well as Jimmy and Christine? I am still convinced God is going to use that young man in a powerful way some day.  Thanks from them and me.

 

I hope you have a great rest of the week. I love you and look forward to seeing you if possible.  If you have any questions about what is going on, please feel free to contact the church office (812.828.9840). We will do our best to answer your question(s).

 

Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 9/16/2020

MIDWEEK MESSAGE 26

Happy middle of the week to all of you! It sure has been a beautiful week so far. Crisp early mornings. Warm and comfortable afternoons. It is hard to believe that my calendar says next Tuesday is the first official day of Fall. I definitely have mixed emotions on that. I see my cycling weather coming closer and closer to a close and cooler weather (can anyone say winter?) just around the corner. But let’s enjoy the couple of months we have ahead of us and not even worry about winter.  However, we could use a little bit of rain.

Before I go into some “details” I’d like mention, I thought I would share something I read this week (again) as I was studying for a sermon. My sermon is the one scheduled for October 4th entitled “What about Doubt?”  If you have been reading these Midweek Messages you might remember me mentioning to you about a fantastic book I read called I’ve Seen the End of You by Dr. Lee Warren. Dr. Warren is a brain neurosurgeon who specializes in GBM (Glioblastoma). He has been a combat surgeon in Iraq and is now living and practicing in North Platte, NE. His book is a phenomenal read subtitled “A Neurosurgeon’s Look at Faith, Doubt, and the Things We Think We Know.” As I was using the book for research on the sermon I ran across a quote that really jarred me. To put it into context, Dr. Warren had lost a patient to GBM while operating and then was unable to save a baby who had been shaken so badly his brain was severely damaged (and they also found other abuse). He was sitting in the hospital chapel really angry and frustrated at God and at his own inability to save those people. The chaplain, who had also lost 2 children of his own, shared something with Dr. Warren which included this quote: “The remarkable thing about fearing God is that when you fear God you fear nothing else, whereas if you do not fear God you fear everything else.” (Oswald Chambers, p. 152)

Fearing God is not being afraid of God. It is better understood as reverence.  The chaplain’s explanation to Dr. Warren was this (using the example of a father and his son): “God is so big and powerful and mighty and dangerous and righteous that He’s kind of terrifying. But He’s also good. He promises that everything that happens is redeemable, that He can use it to make us more like Jesus.” (p. 152) There are lot of things happening in our world that can terrify us if we allow them to. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out. But we don’t have to give into despair or fear. Keep your eyes on the Father not on the news headlines. Okay…off my soapbox. Or is that step out from behind the pulpit? 🙂

The big item I’d like you to be aware of is our upcoming Youth Relaunch. It is actually coming in several phases.

  • This coming Sunday evening ROOTS, the Jr/Sr High youth group will begin meeting for the first time since Covid hit. It will be from 5-7:00 here at the church building.
  • Phase #1- Sunday, the 27th, is the relaunch of the Sunday morning children’s programs at 10:45. Ryan sent out a survey to all the teachers, as well as one to all the parents, and was able to analyze it and see there were many parents who said their children would come. All the areas of the children’s worship will be in operation, except a staffed nursery for now. When Gov. Holcomb says, “Stage 5” that will give us the go-ahead to open that. But besides that, all systems are “Go” for a reopening.
  • Phase #2- 3 weeks after that “Go” from Governor Holcomb and he lifts the mask mandate, nursery and all classes will return to normal.

 

I gotta tell you this though! I am so excited for this to be happening. I am aware of what the pundits say: “Things will never get back to what they were. Get used to a new normal.” And you know, I agree. But I’m okay with that. There are some things that can go the way of the dodo bird and that suits me just fine. But I have to admit that I sure miss seeing many of you. There are, of course, some who have slowly made their way back. And I’m sure there still will be. But I am so stoked to see you. I will have to guard against being “down” if people don’t come back like I hope.

All of this will require a change in the Live Stream. We will not have the overflow room for Live Stream in the second service because that room will be in use. If you are concerned about the crowd or proximity to people I encourage you to try the first service (9:00). Not only is the crowd generally thinner, but we will also have access to the overflow room if needed.

Have a great rest of the week.

Pastor Bill

 

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Midweek Message 9/09/2020

MIDWEEK MESSAGE 25

 

Good middle of the week my friends! I am writing the beginning of this MM on Monday morning so I can honestly say, “I hope you have a wonderful Labor Day!” Perhaps more appropriately I can say, “I hope you had a wonderful Labor Day.” I sincerely hope you took the time to consider how blessed we are and that we live in this great country-flaws and all.

As I wrote the heading to this week’s MM, I typed the number “25.” It is hard for me to believe I have been writing this for that long and this whole mess has been going on that long. I just hope you enjoy reading it and hearing how things are going in our/my neck of the woods. Hmmm. Since I live in town I’m going to have to find another way to say that. I don’t have any woods…or trees for that matter. Some of you know that I write a daily devotion blog at http://livingintheshadow.ovcf.org/ where I have a couple of daily readers. I think there are more but they don’t leave comments so who knows? 🙂  If you would like to know what I think on a more daily basis {Caution: proceed carefully} please check it out. I’d be honored if you would come by. Come to think of it I’m not ever sure my own family reads it. But I know where they live and sleep!!

Top on the agenda is to remind you of our Volunteer Appreciation Night at the Tivoli this Sunday night. For the past oh-so-many-years (that is Grandi-speak for I don’t know) the three of us on staff (Diana, Ryan and me) have been treating you to a night of thanks for your volunteer service to the church. We started out at the church building with a catered meal and a prepared program of laughter and speeches, but then we decided to switch it up and go to the Tivoli. It was a great success so we have continued doing that. This will be the third year.  We provide a free popcorn and drink for you (anything extra is your responsibility) plus we have a ton of door prizes we have drawings for. We ask that you plan to arrive at 5 and we plan to start the movie no later than 5:45. We will be showing Incredibles 2, a movie the whole family can enjoy. Just a heads up: we will have to observe the Tivoli protocol of wearing a mask when we enter and when getting refreshments. You don’t have to wear them when sitting down.

*Note from Diana:  Bill, Jo and Tami did not RSVP but we will let them attend anyway! J  We are looking forward to seeing you all!

In case you were not here or online Sunday, Ryan announced the plan to restart the Sunday morning youth programs on September 27th.  He has consulted the teachers and helpers for their thoughts and they have put together a plan for getting things started again. Many of you parents were good about responding to his questionnaire and expressed your desire for the youth classes to restart. Thanks so much for making your thoughts known. I am excited to see things open up some and will be super excited to see many of you.

The only caveat to that is the Nursery will be open for you to bring your nursery-aged children to but it will not be staffed…at least not until Governor Holcomb says we are in Stage 5.  Ryan is taking some of the toys out and is asking you to bring some of your own for your children so there will be no “sharing of slobber.”  i.e. We can keep things disinfected and not share germs!  J

If you have any questions about any of the youth program restarting, please harass ask Ryan.  Thanks to all the teachers and helpers who will help make this a doable option for our kids.

I understand from Tami that the Live Stream is not going to the church’s FB group (the private one). But she also tells me that someone has been sharing a link for it from our group page (Thanks Christine!). I’m sure you know this already but the Live Stream goes to the church’s FB page and also to YouTube automatically. You can watch it there. Tami says she is going to go and check out (again) why it is not being streamed to the private group. Meanwhile, please keep signing in for us. And thanks for letting us know about what was happening this past week. We have no way of knowing if something is awry unless you tell us. I understand we finally got it fixed. Ryan found some settings off. Unfortunately, Ryan had to leave playing drums during our music set to fix things. It would be great if he didn’t have to worry about that. If you would like to learn how to do the Live Stream we could certainly use your help.

Here is what is coming up in the sermon department for the next few weeks in the series Q & A. This week’s will be “What about Stones?” After that will be “What about Words?” “What about Storms?” “What about Doubt?” “What about Anger?”

One more thing you can be thinking about: Did you know OVCF will be celebrating our 16th anniversary on October 18th? More to come.

Just know I love you and look forward to seeing you.

Pastor Bill

 

 

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Midweek Message 9/02/2020

MIDWEEK MESSAGE 24       

 

Good middle of the week to all of you! I hope this week is not treating you too badly.  We have all had those nights when we don’t sleep that well. I went to bed the normal time and slept pretty solid…until about 12 or so. I thought I had been asleep forever and woke up so wide awake I thought it was surely time to get up. But I was mistaken so rather than bother Jo with my tossing and turning I went to my recliner in my “cave.”  I did doze off but about 2:00 I woke up and thought surely it was time to get up.  Well, it wasn’t but my mind wouldn’t shut down so I just went ahead and got up. I’ve always believed that if that happens God must have a reason for me to be up. I mean, it has to be more than me dozing off in my chair in the office and Diana catching me! Right?  So…there was. Several reasons actually.

Reason #1. Sermons. Future sermons. Sermons for the end of September/first 2 weeks of October. Already started. Preliminary work done. Outline done. “Hey Bill! You are not going to preach those.” “Say what God?” “That’s right. No can do.” “Seriously?” So I came to the office early and scuttled the three sermons (I’ll save all the material for another time) and worked on moving what I had planned for the last week of October/first two weeks of November to this new slot. I want to believe God smiled because that first one flowed together as if I had been working on it for weeks. Case in point: I’m working on this now instead of later. (Besides, I may be napping a little later but please don’t tell Diana! She is a terrible taskmaster “waker-upper.”  🙂

Reason #2. This is even far more personal, in that I’m giving you a look inside my head (which can be scary or echo-ey), I mean my heart. This morning (Tuesday) during my Quiet Time I was reading in I Thess. 2. Beginning in verse 3 Paul wrote: “For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our heart. For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed-God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others…But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.” (Verses 3-8)

I started thinking about me…and you. I couldn’t help it. Then the questions started flowing through my brain. It was all I could do to move on in my QT and read and journal. I began to reflect on the almost 15 complete years (November) I have been the pastor of OVCF. I am not naïve enough to believe I have not slipped up or said something I shouldn’t have or made an ill-advised comment. I most certainly have been misunderstood (as have we all).  I have been maligned (as have we all). I have been accused of saying something that anyone who knows me knows that would not have come from my mouth (as have we all). But the one thing I know which can’t be said is that I ran or tried to run rough-shod over you. It says in Psalm 78:72 that “David shepherded his people with an upright heart (integrity) and guided them with a skillful hand.”  When my days are done here or on earth, I pray those words can be spoken about me, that the imagery Paul uses of a mother and a father who care for their children in I Thess. 2 will be said about me. I do love each of you (even if you don’t want it) and still look forward to seeing many of you in person soon. 🙂

Speaking of that…expect an announcement soon from Ryan about the Sunday morning youth program. I’m not going to steal his thunder because that is “his baby.” The Sunday night youth program (ROOTS) will be starting up soon as well.

Route 66 (a two-year study through the 66 books of the Bible) will start September 15th. It isn’t too late to sign up. And here is something new: there is a possibility for the class to meet during an afternoon (Tuesday or Wednesday). Would that be more to your liking rather than getting out on Tuesday night at 7? If so, let me know. I’ve had 2 express night driving is out for them and another with a conflict on Tuesday night. Let me know if you are interested.

I start a new series this Sunday that I’m calling Q & A.  Each sermon has a question for the title. What about Work? What about Stones? What about Words? What about Storms? What about Doubt? What about Anger? Those are the first six. I have the others but due to the shifting around I alluded to earlier, I am still working on the order. I’ll keep you up to date.

Well, thanks for putting up with me listening to me again this week.  I hope this MM has been a blessing to you and an encouragement. Have a great rest of the week. Know you are thought of, prayed for, and missed.

Pastor Bill

 

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Midweek Message 8/26/2020

MIDWEEK MESSAGE 23

 

Good morning/afternoon/evening middle of the week!  Yeah, that’s what a confused pastor does when he doesn’t know what time his folks will read the MM. One thing I am not confused about is the return of summer. After a few days of a “cooling off” down to the low 80s, summer has returned with a vengeance this week. I rode Saturday and it was three-sweatband ride. I rode a much shorter ride on Monday at lunch and it was a two-sweatband ride. I can’t help but think of the days when A/C was not a factor for houses or churches. I was describing the church building Jo and I got married in yesterday in staff meeting. Old clapboard outside. Ornate inside. High ceiling. Stained glass windows where the bottom half raised.  June 16, 1973 and it was in the 90s with humidity at 150% (quite possibly a slight exaggeration). AND NO A/C!!  I am thankful for advances in comfort. All that to say that I hope you are all doing well and staying somewhat cool.

 

I failed to say anything about Route 66 in last week’s MM.  At this writing, I now have 11 signed up. Two are unable to come out at night so they will be studying at home. A couple are question marks right now, but I still have a good, solid core to have the study. So beginning Tuesday night, September 15 at 7:00 I will be offering Route 66. In case you are new to the MM or missed out, “66” is a study of the 66 books of the Bible. It will take 2 years to do since I take my time and we do take breaks. All you need will be a Bible, a pen, and a learning attitude. I will have handouts for the class that you can also write on. After offering it for 6 years in a row I needed a break. I’m ready to get back to it now and show the overall strength of the Book of books. It is not too late to sign up if you would like to participate. If you just want to check it out for a few weeks then please feel free to come. Just let me know so I can have enough material for all. We will be meeting in the big room of the children’s wing.

 

I want you to please say a prayer for Ryan and the leaders/teachers of the children’s ministry. We have been meeting in person for close to three months now but the children’s ministry has not. We have tried to take it slowly and allow the kids to adjust to being back at school. I know Ryan is chomping at the bit to get things rolling again…but cautiously. He sent out a survey to all parents and to each teacher for your input. I hope you have replied. He is meeting with Jo and Cara this Saturday to discuss how to proceed and what you can expect when it starts. I know Ryan has a starting date in his head (now that is scary) but I will let him share all that news with you. I’m asking you to pray for him and everyone involved in the opening to know how to proceed.

 

I was so excited Sunday to see all the screens working! Our team has been working hard to make things happen but unfortunately, several things were working against that. One, we don’t have a full-time AV person. Second, even though we had the new camera and iPad we still needed a new computer. Someone donated a brand new one to us but it came without a monitor. 🙂 Sort of hard to see without one of those. Well, we finally got it all together Sunday and voila! A super-sized thanks to Ryan, who was out of his comfort zone big time; Joe Pavich, who took some time away from the new twins to get things hooked up; and to Jo for her work each week doing the Power Point. Thanks also goes to Ray, Linda, and Vicki for their help each week with sound. Karen Turner has really been faithful in doing the livestream. But as you know, help is always needed and appreciated. We’d love to have more help and it doesn’t take a lot of extra time. Just being here to learn the equipment and then to take your turn in a rotation. If you are interested, please see Ryan (livestream) or Ray or Linda (sound).  You don’t need to be an expert or have a degree in technology to help. We will train you.

 

This Sunday is my final sermon in the “Promises, Promises” series. My next series, which starts Labor Day weekend, is called “Q & A.” As you can guess, it will a series of sermons dealing with questions people ask. I’ll tell you more next week. I can tell you it will go to the end of November. Then it is Christmas emphasis!  Imagine in 4 months we will be talking about how cold and (maybe) snowy it is. Don’t that beat all?

 

Each week I close with telling you that I love and miss you. I am not saying that lightly. I know many of you are staying away for the meantime, but I do take showers! Honestly!!  🙂 Seriously, I do want you all to feel safe. If you can do that and be here I’d love to see you. If not, and you feel comfortable with me coming by and even sitting on the porch, drop me a text or email or call. I’ll set up a time to visit. If you can’t be here, I sure hope you are watching online. It will at least keep you connected. And you also get to see my handsome face. Okay…I’ve said enough. Don’t want you all to get sick. Have a great rest of the week.

 

Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 8/19/2020

MIDWEEK MESSAGE 22

 

This past week Jo and I had the opportunity to have our grandson, Braden, with us for a couple of days. Our trip to take him back to Ohio turned out to be quite the excursion. An 8 hour round trip turned out taking us close to 11 hours. On the way there a wreck in construction near Springfield, OH caused traffic to stop and then be rerouted another way. I’m not all that sure the other way was that good either since the traffic was stalled. So I did a “U” and we found another way to get back to I-70 beyond the wreck. When we came back about 3 hours later that side of the interstate was still closed off. Then we got tied into a traffic jam about 5 miles from Richmond while returning. We went 5 miles in about an hour and a half. The bad part about interstate driving is there are very few spots to turn and go the other way. It was brutal sitting there and not going anywhere and knowing those flying by on your right would go all the way and be allowed in at the last moment. I was glad to finally get home. Jo & I have decided to take the backroads if at all possible from now on.  But truthfully, in the long view of things, our tie up was minor.  We can say that the state flowers (orange cones) of both Indiana and Ohio were out in full bloom. 🙂

 

I’m excited about the Volunteer Appreciation Night (VAN) at the Tivoli. It was originally scheduled for March 29th but I’m sure you know why it was postponed. Then we rescheduled it for June or July but again… We finally settled on September 13th at 5:00. Some of you may not know what VAN is. For the past oh-so-many-years Ryan, Diana and I have had the VAN to show our appreciation to all the volunteers who have put in so much of their time to make OVCF “run.” We could not do it without all of our volunteers. This year, as it has been the past 2, we will be showing a movie at the Tivoli. There is no charge for you to join us. When you come in you will be handed a ticket which will give you a free popcorn and drink. If you want anything else, you will be responsible for it. Your name is also entered into drawings for free stuff. The movie will start about 5:45. The movie this year is Incredibles 2. What we need you to do though is to let us know you are planning on coming and how many. And yes, children are most definitely allowed. Maybe I should say, expected. 🙂

 

I ran out of room in last week’s MM so I left off some ideas for reading. I’m going to take a break this week and give you some good ideas of reading for children. I suggest reading them to your children or if they are old enough to let them read them themselves. All are good and wholesome books, well-suited for their ages.

  • One you can never go wrong with is The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. I understand he wrote them for his nieces and nephews. I have read them several times with my favorite being The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. These are fun books for all ages. Some parents use them as a chance to read before bedtime…to the kids. 🙂
  • Another series I would highly recommend is one you have probably never heard of. It is called The Dragon King Trilogy by Steve Lawhead. The first, In the Hall of the Dragon King, was written in 1982. The other two volumes followed shortly after. I have been thrilled over and over with these books in the past. My copies were so dilapidated they wouldn’t stay together so I went out and bought a whole new set and will be putting them in the church library for all to read. I am currently in #3. These will read best for those 10 and above (and yes, adults can enjoy them also). If your child has a “love” for knights, castles, and medieval life, they will enjoy this series. Young Quentin is 15 when he is tasked with a message for King Eskevar, who is out to war (so they think), but is actually under an evil spell. The other two continue the story of Quentin; Toli, his friend and sidekick; Durwin, a priest who now serves the Most High; and others. There are some definitely good lessons taught. I’m currently rereading them at night. I figured I bought them for the youth, I might as well enjoy them also. 🙂

 

I want to close by saying thanks to all of you who continue to remember the church in your giving. I am so pleased that I don’t have to keep reminding people to “Give, give, give because the church needs it!” You were so generous before Covid, and during the “closed” church services, you were faithful. Thank you so much. It has allowed us to continue reaching out and helping when we have needed to. I believe I speak for all those in leadership when I say thank you for being so generous. I read of churches who are having to borrow the government money or worse, close their doors due to a lack of funds. This is week #22 of the MM and I have never had to put out an appeal for funds. I’m not doing that now either. Just saying thanks for your faithfulness.

 

Have a great rest of the week. Please continue to pray for all our front-liners and especially for our school’s administrators, teachers, and students. And while you are at it, say a prayer for OVCF. Pray we keep our focus. Love you lots.

 

Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 8/11/2020

MIDWEEK MESSAGE 21

 

I am writing this Tuesday morning. What a light show we saw last night! We had the front door open, and as I sat in my recliner I was able to see it in action. Makes me appreciate even more the Scripture which says, “The heavens declare the glory of God and the earth shows His handiwork.”

 

I had an opportunity yesterday to visit Eliza, Isabella and Alexander Chambers. Along the way I also saw their parents, Jimmy and Christine. 🙂 Jo and I say that about visiting Braden, our grandson. We visit him and if by chance we see his mom that is good.  Anyway, those kids are just something else and Alexander is a phenomenal young boy.  Many of you know he was diagnosed with a heart condition before he was born. He has taught me s-o-o-o-o much about not giving up. I’ve told his parents that I believe God has His hand on him and will use him in a tremendous way. He already has! All that to say that I really messed up Sunday. I failed to mention that Alexander has an EKG today to see how his heart is doing after his last procedure. I know this will get to you late but if you have the time, please say a prayer for him (and his parents) when you get this.

 

This must be the week for correcting mess-ups. I mentioned last week about someone asking me about offering Route 66. So I mentioned in my MM last week that if there is interest I will offer it again. I had someone email me a really, really good question: what is Route 66? “Well, Bill, duh!” Hit me upside the head with a 2×4 (not literally, of course). So we had a back and forth correspondence on it. Silly me never even thought there would be some people who would not have a clue what Route 66 is. So here is the scoop in a nutshell:

  • It is a tour through the 66 books of the Bible (hence the name).
  • It comes with notes already prepared for you but with space for personal notes from class. There is both discussion and teaching.
  • I take two years to go through 66 because of breaks/time off for holidays and breathers.
  • There are NO tests or memorization required. Just a Bible, a pen/pencil and an eager heart to learn.
  • If you would like to be a part of the class, I plan to begin September 15 from 7-8:00 p.m. in the youth addition. I’d like to have at least 5-6 to offer the class. I currently have 2, so if you would like to be involved please let me know. Call or text or email me.
  • There is no age restriction, i.e. you are never too old. ☺  Or too young.

 

I am really pleased with what Ryan and Hope (R & H) are trying to do. Ryan has sent out a survey that only takes minutes to complete to parents, and a separate one to teachers, about re-opening the youth area on Sunday morning. R & H have worked hard to put this survey together and from what I saw yesterday during staff meeting, it covers all the bases. And many of you have responded. Good for you! If you haven’t, please, please, please do that today!! He is trying to do this safely and correctly. Your voice and your cooperation is vital to making good decisions in this and I am glad he is not trying to make this decision in a vacuum. So please take a moment and fill out that survey.

 

Going virtual as we have had to do (thanks for watching on our FB page and/or YouTube channel) involved some major changes. New equipment to make it more visually attractive (I’m no longer presented as an old Japanese movie where the voice catches up to the lips seconds later) was purchased. Our service was stream-lined to make it fit a time frame. (Thanks to the Worship Team for their adjustment on that). But the real thanks goes to the video team- Joe Pavich (on maternity leave after the birth of twins); Ryan; Karen Turner (Ryan’s mom who has been doing the live stream the past few weeks and is nailing it); and new addition, Justin Chandler.  Thank you for all your hard work. More improvements are coming with the gift of a new computer system from an anonymous person. That will allow all screens to be used once it is up and running. I can’t wait for that!

 

And thanks to all of you who have been coming to the physical church building. You are showing me the ability to adjust is part of our makeup and I have been so pleased to see masks and no masks not being made a big deal.  You have been understanding of the seating arrangement, as well as other protocol. I can’t begin to thank you enough.

 

One last thing before I go. Last week I received a monthly newsletter from John Eldredge, founder of Wild at Heart. In his letter was the attached thought on Psalm 23. I had Diana redo it for me and thought it might be something you might like to have for your fridge or mirror or to read each day. It is attached to this MM as a separate document. Hope you enjoy it.  I love each of you.

 

Pastor Bill

 

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Midweek Message 8/05/2020

MIDWEEK MESSAGE 20   

Can you believe it? #20.  I can honestly say that when I started this Midweek Message I never thought it would go this long. I was just looking for a way to stay in contact and dole out some helpful information to you. And every time I think about stopping it, I get a card (Blue Mountain) or an email that says thanks for keeping us informed through your MM. I am humbled that folks find it worth reading, as well as informative.

Speaking of the MM, did you know Sarah from the Chamber puts it on the Chamber’s FB page each week? And did you know it has been flagged for offensive content?  When I asked Sarah about it she said FB sent her a note that it had been flagged. She had to fill out a form for FB and explain why she disputed it. She told FB it was a church message put on the Chamber FB page. They lifted the flag and she was able to post about 2-3 past weeks of the MM.  But you gotta hear this!  You know why it was flagged?  Are you ready for this? Are you sitting down? Do you have something to steady you?  Are you sure your mouth is empty of all food or drink?  It was flagged for…here it comes…nudity. Seriously. Some troll flagged it as offensive because of nudity so FB listened. Nudity?  I am of the opinion that nudity requires pictures. Being snarky here: maybe someone needs pictures to replace reading, like early learners. Makes you realize there are those who hate Jesus; hate Christianity; and hate it so bad they will lie. Sad, sad, little people.  Anyway, now that you have had your laugh of the week (or maybe the year) we can now get down to some good stuff. I’m still shaking my head (smh) about the small-mindedness of people.

We complied with Governor Holcomb’s suggestions this past week. Wayne, one of our elders, made a thorough announcement to those in attendance and those online about the steps we have and are taking. If you have any questions, please feel free to listen to the service from Sunday online. You can do that by going to the church’s FB page or YouTube. We positioned the chairs to be socially-distant. Some wore masks; some did not. But here is the really good thing! We had a wonderful service!!  Jim & Diana and the WT did a wonderful job on the song, Jesus, Strong and Kind, written and sung by CityAlight. You can find their music on YouTube. They are from an Anglican church in Sydney, Australia and I highly recommend their worship music (that’s all they do). Anyway, it was great hearing the whole congregation join in and sing a brand new song also.

I’ve gotta tell you folks you have a great bunch of elders serving the Lord and you here at OVCF.  Wayne Akerson, Jeff Carlson and David Robertson work with Ryan and me to help lead OVCF.  This is not a one or two-man operation. I remember several years ago when we had some folks visit OVCF after being a part of a church where the pastor was the “king” and virtually, only authority. By-laws were changed to give that kind of power. They asked me how we operated and I specifically said we are elder/pastor led.  At the time Ryan was not here so I told them I did not make decisions carte blanche as the sole decision maker.  Sure we have some freedom but when it comes to decisions which require serious thought, we don’t make them alone.  Next time you get a chance, how about thanking them or dropping them a note or email?

Last week I started a small section about some books I had read. I was thrilled when someone asked about one of them. This week I want to highlight 2 more.

  1. Christianity for People Who Aren’t Christians by James Emery White. This was a fantastic book subtitled “Uncommon Answers to Common Question.” This book is not full of scholarly words and thoughts but is easy-to-read and understand. This book is perfect for anyone skeptical of Christianity and values honest answers to their honest questions.
  2. Why I Still Believe by Mary Jo Sharp. MJ was a former atheist who had to reckon with the bad reputation Christians give a good God. Why would anyone be a Christian when there is so much hypocrisy in the church? Again, it is great book and MJ writes so anyone can understand. (I did). 🙂

I’m going to leave you with those two this week. I’ll have more in weeks to come. I’ll even have a youth addition coming. As I said last week, you are welcome to borrow them and read them. Just sign them out.

One last item: I was asked the other day if I plan on offering Route 66 any time soon. After teaching it 6 years straight I took a break last year. If there is enough interest I would consider teaching it again. I will probably do it on a Tuesday night instead of a Wednesday. If you are interested, or would like to know more about it, please just ask. Email, text or call whichever works for you.

It was so nice to see rain this past week. And as I write this (Sunday), they say we will have more. It will be good to see the crops thrive but that means I have to cut my grass more. UGH!  Have a great week. Be amazed by God. Love you all.

 

Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 7/29/2020

MIDWEEK MESSAGE 19

Hello my friends!  I hope this middle of the week finds you doing well. It sure has been a hot and humid July, but just remember come January we will probably be saying, “I sure miss the July sun and heat.” I’ve always told myself to not complain about the weather because I can’t do anything about it anyway. Well…this edition of The Chronicles of Bill (aka Midweek Message) will be a potpourri of several different thoughts. And I know what you are thinking: “Bill, and that is different how?” So, let’s go with MM #19.

Uppermost in perhaps many of your minds is how we will handle the suggestion which came from Governor Holcomb, which actually was to take place starting yesterday (July 27). I asked the elders to meet with me last night (Monday) to figure out a course of action for OVCF.  Among all the “Whereas-es” in his edict, were these words: Exemptions: “any person attending or engaged in a religious service as he or she must already maintain six feet of social distancing from another person not in the same household.” Included in that was an exemption for homelessness and for a public speaker. 🙂  So what did the elders decide?  There are three basic items we want to mention. These will also be mentioned from the pulpit during the live stream so others will know as well.

  1. We will not require masks be worn. However, if you do come masks will be available for you to have and to wear if you would like. Respect those who do wear one. Respect those who don’t. I used to hear of horror stories of churches that split over the color of the carpet or other such nonsense. There is no need to allow an issue like masks to cause a rift in a church. If you are talking to someone with a mask, consider wearing one while talking to them. They are obviously concerned.  Speaking personally: I am having a tough time with this. I have “rebelled” against wearing one the whole time. But if it makes someone feel safer talking to me then I will consider it.
  2. We have hand sanitizer stations all over the building. Most people carry their own anymore, but if you need some it is here. Use them. Sanitizing the hands is probably more important than the masks.
  3. We will be rearranging the chairs in some way to make it more conducive to social distancing.  Our limited space makes that hard but we will figure out something. We will do our best to make room for families and family grouping. We will have to limit the chairs we have in the main auditorium which will mean some may have to go to the main room in the youth area.  I guess that is one way to get people here early! 🙂

What I do ask is that you bear with us as we work to make this a “good thing” for everyone. Be patient with each other. Be understanding on both sides of the fence. No one wants to meet together more than I do, but we want to make it a good experience for all.  And remember: if you are not feeling well please don’t come! 

 

I wanted to do something a tad different with this MM.  Over the past few weeks I have read some excellent books. I’d like to tell you about them with a brief introduction and then an offer.

  1. “I’ve Seen the End of You.” This is perhaps one of the best books I have read in a long time. This year for sure. Lee Warren is a brain surgeon, now practicing in North Platte, NE.  He tackles questions of faith and doubt by using stories of patients afflicted with his specialty, GBM (Glioblastoma). Its focus is how to find light in the darkest hours of life. Fantastic book!
  2. “No Place to Hide.” After reading “Seen” I had to read his previous book on his time in Iraq at Balad Air Base as a surgeon. If you don’t respect our military personnel after reading this, you will need a heart check. He also chronicles his struggle with PTSD after Iraq.
  3. “Out of the Blue.” This is the story of Greg Murtha’s 5 year battle with cancer and 75 chemotherapy sessions before God called him home. It is a wonderful book to read for some great encouragement as Greg leads us to Jesus and being open to the still, small voice of God.

 

And here is the offer: I have each of these in my office. You are more than welcome to borrow them. Just let me know and make a note that you are borrowing it.  Please just one at a time though so others can enjoy them.  If you want to peruse them first, you are welcome to do that also. Make good use of your change in schedule to get some good reading in. Turn the TV off. Let your computer go to sleep. Enrich your heart and mind.

 

Well…it doesn’t look like things are going to move very fast in the direction we would like to see it move. So we will continue to minister as best we know how. No matter how it goes, just know that I love you and love seeing you and miss seeing many of you. All I ask is one thing: please keep praying for me. And please keep praying for Ryan and the elders. It isn’t easy making tough decisions.

 

Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 7/22/2020

MIDWEEK MESSAGE 18

Hello my friends!  I hope you are doing well this week so far.  You know, there are times we off-handedly say, “Count your blessings. Things could be worse.” And that is a truthful statement in many cases. Case in point: how many of you have had something to say about the weather lately?  The heat, humidity and discomfort this time of the year is famous for Indiana.  I was texting Dave, my friend from Arizona, Saturday night. He has spent the past two winters in Maine because he has never not been where it is hot. California. Arizona. So he wanted to experience winter somewhere else so he chose Maine. Talk about a rude awakening! So…anyway, he started the texting by saying, “Happy Saturday. It is only 154 here today. We are turning the furnace and the oven on so we can cool down.” Did you see that? 154!!! I think he was also saying that if you can turn the furnace and oven on to cool things off it is re-a-l-l-y hot!  🙂 Suddenly, 90 doesn’t seem too bad does it? 154!! I’m still shivering over that temperature. But see? Things could be worse.  Dave is actually retiring this September and looking for a place to go in the summer and go back to AZ in the winter. Can you blame him? 154!  (That could be a typo on his text but it still boggles my mind).

Okay, you have had your positive uplift lesson for the week. 🙂  I read in the paper the other day that Governor Holcomb has said Indiana will stay at 4.5 for at least another two weeks. I appreciate his cautious, slow approach to reopening full bore. I also appreciate our leaders at OVCF taking that same approach. There isn’t a one of us who wouldn’t like to say, “This is all over. Let’s go back to the way it was.” Well, as I have said in the past, there is no “the way it was.” Not anymore. Everyone says we will be in a new normal. Life as we knew it will never again be the same. We will fight hard as a society to get back to normal, but I think we will find in all sectors of life (business, school, church, and personal) that life has changed.  Truthfully, while I mourn the loss of some things, I’m okay with forging new avenues. I think, for example, we have seen most companies function from home. I think that will become more of a trend. We have seen the church, especially OVCF, adjust to both online and in person “church.” While I miss seeing people, I have accepted that is a new reality. We will have to devise ways to stay in touch and keep fellowship as a vital part of our church community. We seek your feedback to make our online presence “more better” (yeah, I know) and to keep it fresh. So if you have any ideas then please let us know.

I’d really like to ask you to pray for Ryan and the youth program. He and the teachers/leaders are 100% trying to do the right thing about reopening. When is it safe? What will it look like? How do we go about it? Not easy questions to answer. He has met several times with his teachers (via Zoom) and they are as perplexed as he is. Why? Because there are no easy answers.  He has done a tremendous job of trying to stay involved and keeping the kids engaged.  For example, Sunday the 26th through Friday, the 31st, he and some other adults are planning on taking the Jr/Sr High to Hilltop for a week of service and study. So you might want to begin praying for them now. I appreciate that he tries to have fun with them, but to also teach them the joy of service.

By the time you get this, Jo and I will be on our way back from Ohio. Braden played his last baseball game Tuesday night (8:00 starting time…Yikes!) We will take him to IHOP for breakfast then head back home. It looks like it will be our last time to see him until Thanksgiving when we head over there. We will be spending Thanksgiving with Janna and eventually Braden. That’s a long time before we see him again. I’m not sure I can hold Jo down that long.  🙂

I’m slowly making my rounds to see people who are not feeling safe to come on Sunday. It is not a “guilt trip visit.” It is a visit to let you know I miss you and love you and understand. I realize many are not home when I do visit (afternoons) so I leave my card with a note for you.  I stopped to see some folks this past week who texted me the next day saying they don’t know how they missed me. I told them I knew their special circumstances so I didn’t knock. I’m trying to be conscious of others’ safety concerns. If I do come by and you want to sit outside/inside and chat just say so. If not, no worries. I just want you to know you are loved. I did get a real treat though. I stopped by and left some of my 3 Feet Please bears for two girls. They came outside, and with mom’s blessing, gave me several hugs. Yeah…that was a real hardship. NOT!

I’m at the end of my allotted writing space…again. 🙂 So I’ll just sign off. Love you all. Have a great rest of the week.

Pastor Bill

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