Category: MidweekMessage

Midweek Message 5/20/2020



As I begin to write this it is Monday morning. Wet, rainy. I could make a reference to an old Carpenter’s song: “Rainy days and Mondays always get me down” but that isn’t true for me. It makes me want to nap. 🙂 We had a beautiful weekend though. I had to go by the park several times and the line to enter was backed up all the way to the highway. I saw people go past and pull a U-Turn to get in line. I also saw those who pulled in and just waited their turn. Crazy!  But this was the first “official” weekend people were allowed to get out so it was to be expected.


Only two more weeks before we reopen the church building! I am so excited to see people, even though I know some (many) will stay away for now. That’s okay. We will continue both in service and online services into the future. That was one of the main questions folks had in our survey when we asked about coming to the church building or online. Some took it to mean we were choosing and would stop doing online. The answer to that is simple: Nope. We will be doing both and have no plans to stop either.  I read blogs and listen to podcasts where they talk about reopening. Our figures don’t really vary much from national averages. The percentages may vary somewhat but most people feel the same way across the board.

  •  A low number of local cases.
  • Social distancing and other precautions are taken.
  • Local businesses open.
  • Local restaurant seating areas or open.


But many nationwide said they would return only when all conditions are met (low cases, businesses open, restrictions lifted, vaccine available).  And some 10% admitted they weren’t sure.


I can honestly and sincerely tell you we are not taking reopening without a lot of seriousness and with precautions in place. We even held off a week to give you more time to consider your options. (Besides, the 24th is Memorial Day weekend). We are making changes and pivoting so you can come and know you are safe. Please read again our Reopening Plans on the church website and familiarize yourself with the plan. And then please, please, please, honor it. It will be super hard for me because anyone who knows me knows I am an ultra-social person. But I will honor and respect your space because I want you to feel safe and comfortable here and around me.  Keep the date in mind though and mark it down: May 31 at 9 and 10:45. The livestream will be on FB and YouTube during the 2nd service only.


You should get this Wednesday morning. I’d like to ask you to pray for Alexander Chambers who is having a heart cath today. Alexander is 3 years old and has been a trooper through several procedures already.  Tomorrow, Thursday, a local man, Bobby Porter, a friend of someone in the church is having cancer surgery for Stage 4 cancer of his face. They expect the surgery to take about 8-9 hours with major reconstruction down the road. I mentioned several others this past Sunday who needed prayer. Please take a moment and say a prayer for these two and others you may know.


There is no question we live in an unprecedented time…in our lives. Just the other day I saw a commercial featuring a lady who was born during the Spanish flu epidemic in 1920. She is 100 years old! I’m guessing she has seen a lot!!  🙂 But that reminds me that even though this is our first rodeo on something of this magnitude, there are others who have gone through similar events. I know this is the first event of this magnitude I have been through as a pastor. I’ve seen economic downturns, 9/11, SARS, Gulf War, Operation Desert Storm, and others. But nothing like this. And I’m guessing you haven’t either. It is easy to get overwhelmed during times like this. Allowed out/not allowed out. This business open/this one closed.  This one wears a mask/this one doesn’t. Confusion is common. Fear is faltering but still a reality for some. I read Psalm 121 this morning during my morning Quiet Time. I’d like you to take a few minutes to read it (it is 8 verses). That psalm speaks to our situation in spades! It tells us where our help comes from. It tells us what we can know about the One who stands with us. And he tells us that God will NEVER leave us or forsake us. Hang onto that my friends!!


As I bring this to a close, I can’t emphasize enough two things. First, our all-out attempt to be ready for you on the 31st. We want you to be and feel safe. If we fail at that, I will be sorely disappointed. Second, please use your judgment on attending. If you are feeling sick, please stay home. If you are hesitant in any way, please don’t feel like you have to come. Just don’t make a habit of it.  🙂  You would expect a preacher to say that wouldn’t you? Then I didn’t disappoint you. But, in all seriousness, come when you feel safe and know you will be safe. Watch it online! I love you all and look forward to seeing you when the time is right.


Pastor Bill


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Midweek Message 5/13/2020



Seriously? Week 8? ONLY week #8?  Actually, no. It is week #9. I started this midweek message one week after the lockdown started. And I know, I know. Your week is incomplete until you open your email or see on FB or the church website that Pastor Bill has just written another Midweek Message. I know it makes your world brighter and you just so look forward to getting this message. You don’t have to tell me how it changes your whole week. Okay…so you can tell me. 🙂  In all seriousness, does it not seem like forever since we did things normally?


Yeah…that word normal. What is that? From every indication I have seen and from everything I have read in blogs and listened to on podcasts “normal” is gone. We are about to enter the Twilight Zone. Oops sorry, got carried away with my own attempt at humor.  I’ve had several folks say to me, “I just can’t wait to get back to the way things used to be.” I hate to be the harbinger of bad news to them and to you (if you have said or thought that), but things will not get back to the way they used to be. We will have to settle in for what is being a “New Normal.”  Read those words again: NEW. NORMAL. Things will never be the same for anything-economically, financially, business, and most certainly, the church.


I remember reading once about a young man who was being introduced to a congregation. The search team had done their due diligence and felt they had finally found the young man who was going to move the church forward. On the night he was being introduced he stood up to speak and said, “I’m excited about coming to First Church and taking it into the 20th century.” The head of the search team whispered, “Don’t you mean 21st century?” To which the young man answered, “Let’s not rush things. One century at a time.”


Many churches are stuck in the past. They want to do things the way they used to. It has been said the seven last words of the church are “We never did it that way before.”  Well, I think it is safe to say that those churches who stayed there, will not make it. Down the road they will be irrelevant or even extinct. We have to admit things have radically changed. In many ways. I’m not ashamed to admit that I was not prepared. I was not anticipating a lockdown. No gathering on Sunday. A major overhaul on ministry. But it happened. We (OVCF) had to go into catch-up mode. Thanks to Tami (yes, my daughter) our services were streamed to FB and each week it got better. There were (and still are) glitches but I am so proud of her for stepping up. She even came around her parents those weeks (but we weren’t allowed to hug her). 🙁 Then someone donated the money needed for us to step up our game to put out a clearer and sharper “product.”  Thanks to that donation; Ryan’s hard work; and Joe Pavich’s willingness to volunteer and take that ministry under his wing, we are making great progress. We have not arrived yet, but we are well under way. And for those who have wondered, the livestream will continue even after we are able to meet together.   We have heard of so many who have benefited from the livestream that we simply cannot stop now.


You probably know by now that May 31st will be our first attempt to be back together. We will do it with some restrictions (see the FB page for that list or the church’s website). The caveat to that is unless Governor Holcomb says we go back to lockdown. Ryan and I will be taking a different approach that morning. It will be very laid back and we want you to come with an anticipation of gathering, but also with an excitement of what is coming down the pike. The next week, June 7th, I’ll be starting a series called Promises, Promises. The sermon that Sunday will be “The Wisdom to Find the Right Page.”  I am totally convinced God has got this. He was not surprised by this Covid thing. Nor has He ever been sitting on His throne cracking his knuckles or biting his nails in nervousness over the events and being caught unaware.  I am convinced His promises are true and will stand the test of anything that comes up.


When you get here on the 31st EXPECT CHANGES. Most of those changes will be in the way we approach each other; communion (you will get your own as you enter) and offering; seating; and greeting each other. What will NOT change is that friendliness will depend on each one of us; the warmth we want to be known for will not be determined by masks and gloves (if you choose to wear them); the music will still need your participation; and the Word will still be preached. Keep in mind worship is from the heart and should not be determined by outward influences. Again…please let me ask you to go to the church’s website or our FB page for our reopening plans. Please familiarize yourself with them.


Lamentations 3:22-23 tells us God is faithful and His mercies are new every morning. Don’t rely on the past; look to the future and see what God will and is going to do. I’m excited about it!! Thanks for letting me visit with you. Have a great week. See you Sunday (virtually).


Pastor Bill


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Midweek Message 5/6/2020


Happy Wednesday OVCF family and friends! I hope this finds you doing well and being safe and healthy. And if you have children at home…surviving. 🙂 I was listening to a leadership podcast just yesterday and one of the things the interviewer said was the pandemic has lost its “shine.” (My words since I can’t remember exactly what he said). In Bill-speak he said the first 30 days were doable but now the people just want it over. I guess he never interviewed me. I would tell him the first 30 days were not doable because I didn’t like the whole social-distancing thing. It has been 8 weeks since I have hugged my own daughter, and of course, you. It is hard not to do so to people you love.

But my “Drive-Bys” have helped. As I will share this week in my sermon I was told at the very beginning of my ministry not to get close to people in my ministry. That was okay for him because he was more like that. My personality does not allow that. So being quarantined and “shut away” was hard. The Drive-Bys have been a fun part of several of my afternoons the past 3 weeks. I am so grateful for those who were home and at least came to the door, or the porch, or even the yard, to say Hi and smile and wave and laugh. For those concerned, we kept our distance. I may be seen as irritatingly cold about the whole mask and glove thing, but I have kept my distance so as not to be totally “off the rails.” (I know what some of you are thinking right now so don’t!). 🙂 Anyway, I have had an absolute blast doing the Drive-Bys. In case you aren’t sure what that is I drive into a person’s driveway and pray for those in the house. Then I either text or leave a card in their door to let them know they “have been the victim of a drive-by.” Your response has been so encouraging. I have been to at least 30 houses so far and plan to do more either today or tomorrow.

One of my concerns during this whole mess has been how can OVCF help others. So far, we have escaped the dire circumstances many are finding themselves in, but we have many healthcare workers, response people, etc in our community. After several cancellations due to situation that have come up for them, I am taking lunch to Sheriff Hobbs and Detective Teuton today (unless something else comes up) to see how the church can help. I then plan to visit other leaders in the community to see how the church can make a difference. Would you mind praying about that please? We are not in town where we could offer food. Besides, there are others doing that and there is no sense in reinventing the wheel. I am proud of the folks from OVCF who have helped by making masks for workers. Someone

ordered and provided a slew of hand sanitizer to the sheriff for distribution. He wants to be anonymous. But he did it in the name of the church. And I know several others who have helped in other ways. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Thanks to all of you who have sent back the surveys. They have been really helpful in our decisions of when to reopen and what course of action to take when we do. I speak for Ryan and Diana when I say we read each one and used them in formulating our “getting back together plan.” By the way, there is an attachment to this Midweek Message with our course of action. The leadership has also given some great input during our Monday afternoon meeting.

This time away has hopefully led all of us to reevaluate what is important to us. One of the most heartening things for me has been to hear from many of you via text or seeing it on FB (via Jo) on how much you miss being together. It has been over a year since I have had a Diet Dr Pepper or any pop for that matter. I can honestly say there are times I crave one. That is my hope and prayer for you: that you miss being together so much that you crave it. I want my passion for Jesus to be like that. In Ezekiel 37 we find the story of Ezekiel’s vision of the dry bones coming to life. (A future sermon sometime this summer). Please take the time to read it. That valley of dry bones is a picture of me and you. The bones are dried up; all hope is lost; they are cut off. (v.11). But when Ezekiel prophesied the dry bones came to life. (Verses 1-10). That is a great picture of how many find themselves in these tough times. If you are there, I’d like to ask you to pray for God to bring life to your heart and renew it.

Once again, I am wordy. Do you sense a pattern here? 🙂 So it is time to close this message. If I can pray for you, how about letting me know?

Pastor Bill

Don’t forget to check out the attachment about our course of action for reopening.

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Midweek Message 4/22/2020


Well, good morning (or afternoon or evening)! As always I hope and pray you are staying safe and healthy. I figure I’m not alone in hoping that this will all soon be over and we will at least begin to return to “normal.” I think it is safe to say though that the normal we once knew will not be.

I was totally blown away Sunday by the celebration of my 45 year as an ordained pastor. I wrote a little bit more about that in my Cycleguy’s Spin blog with the YouTube video Tami put together. If you could not see it or hear it but would like to here is the link that blog/video. I was truly honored and humbled by many of you responding and letting me know how you feel. I had to admit that I was totally surprised and somewhat emotional.

In a book called Dark Clouds-Deep Mercy, the author Mark Vroegop talks about the grace of lament. He introduced his book by having Joni Eareckson Tada tell her thoughts. Allow me to share her words:

“When a broken neck ambushed my life and left me a quadriplegic, I felt as though God had smashed me underfoot like a cigarette. At night, I would thrash my head on the pillow, hoping to break my neck at a higher level and thereby end my misery. After I left the hospital, I refused to get out of bed; I told my sister, ‘Just close the drapes, turn out the light, and shut the door.’ My paralysis was permanent, and inside, I died.

You don’t have to be in a wheelchair to identify. You already know that sad situations sometimes don’t get better. Problems don’t always get solved. Conflicts don’t get fixed. Children die, couples divorce, and untimely deaths rock our world and shake our faith…

…But after weeks in bed, I got tired of being depressed, and I finally cried out, ‘God, if I can’t die, please show me how to live.’ It was just the prayer God was waiting for.” (p.11)

The book of Habakkuk has a cry many of us use: “How long, Lord, how long?” In fact, 1:2 says, “O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear?” I suspect many of us are wondering that right now. There is a tendency to blame God for all of this. If He is so powerful and almighty why didn’t He prevent it and why doesn’t He stop it? All disease is the result of living on a fallen planet. It is called SIN. And even though I know God is able to prevent this and even though I believe He is Almighty, He will not go against His character or His Word. I do not know how long this current crisis will last…no one does. Except Him. But I do believe He would approve of taking Joni’s approach: “God, if I have to deal with this, then teach me how to live.”

Use this time to seek the Lord. “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Is.55:6-9) Emphasis mine 

Onto another thought: We are constantly working to make our online Sunday better. We are awaiting new equipment which will change things 100%. Someone donated the money to purchase the new equipment and I guarantee that once we get it up and running you will be amazed at the quality. Just don’t stay home to watch my handsome face once we can start meeting together again! 🙂 But until then, thanks for tuning in. And inviting others to do so. Numbers mean little; lives touched means everything. Keep inviting and making comments.

Two weeks ago I commended Terrie MacMorran for his ingenuity of involving the students while they were away. Ryan has asked Terrie to do a lesson every other week till the middle of May. I’m grateful Terrie agreed and I hope your students look forward to his lessons and taking part.

Each week Dick and Vicki Hogan select songs for you to listen to before tuning into the FB service. I hope you are taking advantage of that. We are unable to include them in our service due to copyright laws. We can use hymns because they are public domain. Thanks to Dick & Vicki for making that effort.

Again I’ve gone on long enough. Hope your week is going well. Please stay safe. If you need me for anything, feel free to text or call. Love you all and look forward to seeing you face to face soon.

Pastor Bill Psalm 37:5

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Midweek Message 4/15/2020


Well…Easter weekend has come and gone. Resurrection Sunday has come and gone.
Or has it? Of course, in one way it has. The calendar tells us it has. April 13
follows April 12 by every calendar known to man, so yes, it has come and gone. But
the truth of the Resurrection has not. For the Christ-follower, the truth of the
resurrection is a reality that filters (or at least should) into every aspect of our
lives. According to Paul in I Corinthians 15 death has been swallowed up into victory
and neither death nor the grave has any sting. What a wonderful truth!
Every Monday Diana, Ryan and I meet for staff meeting. Some days we have tons
to discuss. Others Ryan and Diana bring videos for us to watch and laugh at. (Never
me you understand. I have to be the “mature” one of the group). 🙂 This past
Monday, as we did the week before, we spent some time evaluating our online
service via FB. Diana has chosen to stay home on Sundays and since she is an
“outsider” now (I’m trying to think who gave her that nickname), she affords us a
unique view we would not normally have. We spent over an hour talking through
yesterday’s online offering. You can help us out. She will be posting a 3 question
survey that will take you about 1 minute to answer. We need your honest answers.
Thanks. Just make sure you give me a 10. (Remember I know where you live!) 🙂
Actually, that won’t be part of the questionnaire.
I read a story this week: A lumberjack was preparing to cut down several trees in a
mountain forest. As he began, he noticed a beautiful bird building its nest atop one of the trees.
Not wanting to harm the bird or its young, the lumberjack took a mallet and pounded on the tree
until the bird (quite annoyed) flew to another tree and began to build its nest there.
The lumberjack did the same thing with the second tree. The bird and the lumberjack repeated
this dance a half-dozen more times, until the bird abandoned the forest altogether and built its
nest on the side of the rock face.
I imagine the bird never understood why the lumberjack was pursuing it,
systematically attacking its shelters in the trees. But his motive, of course, was
compassion. He knew every tree in the forest was about to come down. He wanted
the bird to build its nest in a place where his axes couldn’t touch it.
I bet there are many people who feel like that bird right now. Our whole world is
being shaken, rattled and rolled and we just aren’t sure where to “light.” Things we
have taken for granted have been either taken away or shaken really well. Things
we have clung to have crumbled in our hands.

What if God, in love, was attacking foundations that will crumble anyway? Didn’t
Jesus talk about that in Matthew 7:24-27? (I’ll let you read it). That’s why it is so
important to have a firm foundation, to be standing on the ROCK. I’m no prophet. I
have no clue when this will end. I DO KNOW THIS though: God is with me in the
storm and will not abandon me. He has not before and will not now.
Last week I gave a shout out to Terrie about his extra mile for his students. This
week I want to be a little prejudiced and talk about what Jo did for her pre-school
students. She put together Easter bags-candy, juice packets, a He is Risen craft,
chalk and a book of the Easter story for young beginners (to be read by their
parents or sibling). Friday afternoon we delivered them by leaving them on door
handles and porches. She also included goodies for any siblings they may have had.
We had a blast doing it and getting out. I drove 85 miles but it was so good to see
pictures of smiling faces. Way to go Jo! Do you know someone who is going out of
their way during these challenging times? Let me know. I’d love to give them a
shout out.
You know…no matter how short I try to make these I just can’t. I think I have
someone using a cattle prod making me go longer. 🙂 I think you know by now that is
just me. I miss seeing you all and look forward to the Sunday when we can meet and
celebrate together again….whenever that may be. Love you all.
Romans 8:38-39. Paul said that about God. I agree. Stand with Him.

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Midweek Message 4/8/2020


Talk about a dinosaur! I am using a font called Comic Sans. I was listening to a podcast last week and all three of the hosts and one of the responders said they could not stand this font. It was old and funky (my translation). I’m like, “Hey! That is one of my favorite fonts for writing notes because it is so clear.” Oh well, I guess I’ll stand out a tad bit more now. 🙂

May I ask you a question? Do you miss me as much as I miss seeing you? If your answer is No please don’t tell me! It would hurt and crush me and I’m not sure I would ever recover. Jo would have to dig me out of the hole I found myself in and that means, since she has never used a shovel before, I would never be found. I am so ready for this whole thing to be over!! Preaching to an empty house is fine for Sunday morning practice at 6:00 in the morning, but it is not okay at 10:00. I so appreciate those of you who have taken the time to text me and ask if I am doing okay. I had one say, “Bill, are you doing okay? You are such a social creature I was wondering how you were.” I am a social creature and I live for and love to see people. I especially live for Sundays when I get to see you in person. But for now, there is no other choice. I heard someone put on our FB that when this is all over we ought to have a big party. I totally agree!!

I do hope the FB video of the service has been helpful. We are trying to improve that every week. We are listening to and taking all suggestions to heart (except for the ones that say to do all hymns all the time). 🙂 If you listened live last week, you noticed no Worship Team (WT) was present. They feel it is very important they observe what the protocol is, especially because of family exposure. So we tried using videos. They were fine until FB bots took note they were recordings of others and removed the sound. The only video left was Old Rugged Cross because it is Public Domain. Even though our license allows us to post videos, we are not taking a chance of FB shutting us down permanently. So this week look at the church’s FB page for links to songs the WT was going to sing. You will be taken to YouTube where you can listen to the songs to your heart’s content. I’d like to encourage you to listen to them beforehand and then join us live at 10:00 for a couple Easter songs (hymns) and the message.

I know having Resurrection Sunday online is no one’s idea of fun. It certainly isn’t mine. I was so hoping this thing would have ended and it would have been so cool to have our first time back together to be celebrating the resurrection of Jesus. But

it is not to be. I had to get over my disappointment by focusing on something else. I did it by focusing on what really mattered: the reality of this last week of Jesus, which began on his ride into Jerusalem and ended (but really is the beginning) with His resurrection. For my morning Quiet Time this year I have been using One Perfect Life by John MacArthur. It takes Jesus’ life and puts it in chronological order and puts all related Scriptures together. So I decided to jump ahead and start this week by reading the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. My hope is to finish on Sunday with the Resurrection. I’d like to suggest you prepare yourself for Sunday by considering doing something like that. Maybe not to the same extent, but perhaps an abbreviated version. Make sure you read the Gospel accounts (all 4) related to His trial, crucifixion, burial and resurrection. Just a suggestion but I do think it will help prepare your heart for Resurrection Sunday. My sermon is titled “Seriously?” and I’ll be using Acts 2: 29-36 as my base. Diana will be sending you the bulletin; it is also on the church’s website; and will be put on the church’s FB page. It would mean so much to you (and to me, honestly) if you would be ready to listen.

I have to give a shout out to Terrie MacMorran. Ryan told us in staff meeting Monday that Terrie wrote a whole lesson for the upper elementary students he teaches, mailed it to them with a self-addressed stamped envelope for their response to the “contest” he is having. Way to go Terrie for being so innovative! By the way: do you know someone else who is doing something unique to keep in touch with their students? How about letting me know. I’d love to include a shout out here. (And yes, even though it might embarrass you).

Whew! I am not only a social creature, I am also long-winded. 🙂 I’d like to ask you to do me a favor in order for me to wrap this up without a lot of words. (How’s that for a surprise?) Would you mind checking out the following link to see a thought I had?

One more thing…seriously! Our Easter offering has traditionally gone to Missions except what is specifically designated. The Leadership’s commitment during this time is the same, so all giving from April 6-12 will be included in that. Thank you so much for your faithful giving!

Thanks. See you soon…in person I hope. Love you all

Pastor Bill

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