Category: MidweekMessage

Midweek Message 08/04/2021


Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #69.  If this is your first time receiving the MM…Welcome!  Diana works hard trying to keep the files updated and we spent some time Monday morning doing just that. So you may be receiving this for the first time and in case you wonder why…now you know. J  If you are a “veteran” then thanks for hanging in there with me.

The past few days have sure been very “non-August” in the weather department.  It has been a nice reprieve but did you ever get the feeling that summer isn’t over yet?  I’m sorry to say, though, for all school personnel (teachers, students, aides, administrators, etc.) summer is over. Officially. School starts here in Owen County on Thursday. I am pretty sure it starts all over our area this week as well. Here are some thoughts for you to consider:

  1. Pray each day for all school personnel. Perhaps you might like to split them up into different days. For example, Monday=teachers. Tuesday=students. And so on.
  2. Pray for their safety to and from school. Pray for their safety while in school. Pray for a good environment. Pray for wisdom for the teachers (they already have the knowledge). Pray for a spirit of cooperation among students with other students and students with teachers. Pray for our school corporation and the leaders to make wise choices. Going along with the status quo, and doing what other districts are doing, may not be the best for our students.
  3. One big suggestion: be careful while driving. I have to admit one of my worst fears is early in the morning or right after school hearing a siren from a police car or the ambulance. Don’t be in such a hurry if you are driving during “go or leave school time.”


If you are the parent of a student, you have my congratulations. J If you are a student, thank a teacher that you can read this.  Just kidding. I pray for you to have a great school year.

It was great having the 3 couples and their families from Chi Alpha this past Sunday. The video was top-notch and their short, precise presentation was spot on. I told the leaders at the elder’s meeting Monday night that I appreciated the video because it focused on the students at IU. It focused on the life change Christ is bringing to lives through Chi Alpha. I want to thank you for making them feel so welcome. I love what Derek said. “It is very rare when we are invited into a church. Usually it is us contacting a church to see if we can come.” I love that OVCF’s leaders are so open to something different. Just to let you know: we are taking on a challenge we decided we wanted to do. Instead of just sending $50/month for one couple or for them to split it, we have taken on the challenge of sending each couple $50/month until at least the end of the year when we will reevaluate as the 2022 budget is worked on.

Another challenge we accepted Monday night: we support the Old Folks Home in Liberia. These folks have nothing. Until Revive Liberia stepped in these poor old folks slept on dirt floors with no amenities. The young people on Sunday morning take up an offering and each month it goes to the Old Folks Home. We supplement what is collected so it reaches $50.  Jeff shared that the need is really great since the price of rice alone has skyrocketed.  We decided to bump our giving to $100/month, at least until the end of the year when it too will be reevaluated.

Both of those are possible because of your generosity. Thank you so much for helping us meet the Biblical mandate Jesus laid down: “When I was hungry, you fed me; when I was thirsty, you gave me something to drink; when I was naked, you clothed me; when I was in prison, you visited me.” “When did we do that?” they asked. “When you have done it to least of these you have done it to me.”

Sunday morning I saw a phenomenal display of service. The Chi Alpha families all had children. They were “consigned” to sit and listen in the adult worship during first service (they would have had a chance to sleep during the sermon) until someone stepped up and volunteered to take the kids to the youth addition and allow them to be creative. I won’t mention the person’s name because she would be mad at me (and she wields a mean stick). Seriously though, she has no idea how much that meant to me, the parents of the children, and the kids. But that is what the church needs! People who will step up and say, “I will do this.”  You might be saying right now, “No way would I do that with kids. They scare me!” That might be true, but we have other areas where you could serve. Greeters on Sunday morning to simply say, “Hi! It is nice to have you.” People who will mow the church lawn. People who will learn how to do the live stream. People who will spell Jo doing Power Point, especially for the second service. (She says she is getting old and having trouble staying awake during the sermon. It isn’t the sermon. Right? RIGHT???) People with a knack for small children who will take a turn in the nursery (See Pastor Ryan about that). There are so many places help is needed. Being a servant is being like Jesus.

Pastor Ryan will be out of the office from Saturday, the 7th to Tuesday, the 17th. He will be back in the office on Wednesday, the 18th. If you have any needs please contact me or Diana. He and his family are enjoying much-needed and much-deserved time away from the office.

Please don’t forget the Laws family will be with us Saturday, the 28th for a pitch-in cookout, and then will be sharing their testimony of God’s faithfulness through Ryan’s transplant on Sunday morning. I’ll put more information in subsequent MM’s. I’d just like to ask you to set that weekend aside for a great opportunity to hear of our great God and to meet Mike, Trisha, and Ryan.

Gotta go. Hope you have a great rest of the week. I love you all.


Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 07/28/2021


Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #68!  I’m so glad you have allowed me into your inbox (and therefore, your life) for just these few short moments. You have no clue how much I appreciate it. Some people tell me I can be annoying at times (but I won’t mention Jo and Tami’s names), so I sure hope you don’t feel that way about the MM. I guess you have the best of both worlds: the MM without me! 🙂

First, I want to let you know how Saturday’s Back to School Expo went. A little history for the unfamiliar. The Expo started a few years ago and found a home-originally- at OV Middle School. Folks would come to the school and pick up their backpacks. But, like many other things in 2020, the pandemic changed the way it was done. Aaron LaGrange (the Middle School principal at the time) and Marce King, the director of the Owen County Chamber of Commerce (OCCC) got their heads together and came up with something new. Why not have a sort of parade where the students (actually their parents) drove them through different stations at the fairgrounds. These stations were teachers with signs, the high school band playing, cheerleaders with enthusiasm, a real life alpaca, and others. It all culminated with each student present in a vehicle receiving an age-appropriate backpack. This was where I worked the past two years and it is so much fun! The joy of the kids is priceless! In 2020 we gave away around 500 backpacks with the rest going to the schools. This year we gave away 600+ backpacks with the rest of the supplies going to the various schools.  I was speaking Monday with someone who works in Monroe County about the Expo and they marveled at what we did, then she asked me if there was an income limit or any stipulations. I said it was for all students and the only stipulation was they had to be in the vehicle to receive a backpack. Please understand these are new supplies, including the backpacks. Spencer Walmart (Zach Redman is the District Mgr.) played a huge part, Owen Co. Community Foundation, Boston Scientific, Youth Services of Monroe Co., Title 4D, and Valley Optical also donated funds. OVCF gave $500 for the supplies. We honestly do care about our schools and our students and want to do what we can to help out. In a very real way, your giving helps us do things like this.  So…thank you for your generosity!

It is hard to believe school starts in a week. UGH! I can hear it from many. I’m telling my age here, but I can remember when school was out the Friday before Memorial Day and didn’t start until the Tuesday after Labor Day (September). Three whole months of summer bliss. Well, no longer and I am predicting never again!  (What powers of deduction I know). Anyway, with the onset of school comes a need many students have: food on the weekends. During the summer, the Lions Club makes meals available every day free of charge. They do a wonderful job with that!  During the school year, another approach is taken. Every weekend and over breaks students in need are given food to take home. The program is called BACKPACK BUDDIES (BB) and OVCF has been involved since its inception.  Pastor Ryan and I were called in on the initial plans for it with Mr. LaGrange and Mrs. Allen. Some of our folks helped pack the bags each week that first year or two. Now, thanks to the many groups in the school who have gotten involved, we have taken a step back (except for Linda St. John who is still directly involved) and help supply the food for distribution. During the month of August, BB will be our mission focus. Diana has made up some lists of supplies needed. I’d like to ask you to pick one of them up and do what you are able to do in helping supply needed food. Just to help you put it in perspective, 200+ students took home food each weekend and during breaks last school year.  If you are reading this, and can’t physically be here but would like to help, you may write a check to the church and we will give the money to BB for them to use.  Thanks for helping us make a difference in our community, and specifically, for the students in need of food in our school system.

Speaking of school, don’t forget to pray for all our administrators and teachers. We have a new Superintendent (Mr. Cline) and a ton of new teachers. Pray for all the students this year as well. Even though things are more “normal” this year than last, adjustments will still need to be made by all.

I’d like to remind you about Mike, Trisha and Ryan Laws being with us Sunday, August 29th. To give you a chance to meet them outside of Sunday morning and to give us a chance to get together for a meal for the first time in almost two years, we are planning on having a cookout/pitch-in on Saturday, the 28th, starting at 6:00 PM. Our plan is to have it at the shelter house unless the weather dictates we come inside. We will cordon off part of the parking lot for the kids to play safely. Hamburgers and hotdogs will be provided, but please feel free to bring what you are able to eat grilled and/or a side dish. Come and go as you please, but do take a few moments to join us and celebrate with us.

I just finished a book last week called Hope Always by Dr. Matthew Sleeth. It is subtitled How to be a Force for Life in a Culture of Suicide. Every single day, someone you or I know is thinking about taking their own life. I hate to be glib but it has become a pandemic. COVID has magnified it, especially among our young people. Dr. Sleeth was an ER physician and chief of hospital medical staff who at the outset of his medical career was an atheist. He has since resigned to teach, preach and write about faith and health. He was in his 40s when he (and later his Jewish wife) came to faith in Christ. One characteristic he mentions is the loss of hope so many have. And when you listen to “experts” talk about the pandemic that is the one thing they always seem to mention: the loss of hope so many felt/feel. Of course, it is more than just the pandemic that has brought about the hopelessness of so many. I don’t have the space to go into more detail but let me just say that while followers of Christ are not immune to suicide, we do have an anchor that so many do not have. Hope you are clinging to that anchor.

The “dog days” of August have already hit us (and it’s only July). Let’s bring in August with a great month of optimism and celebration. I look forward to seeing you Sunday, Lord willing!!

Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 07/21/2021


Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #67. What a wonderful break in the weather we had this weekend and so far this week! We also have two young ladies at Hilltop this week-Charli Wood and Bella Madorin. I’m sure they are glad for the nice weather.

Speaking of camp, Hilltop is doing some wonderful things this year. After last year’s COVID-related shut down, it is so cool to see camp in full swing. Ryan and Mala Croft are the directors and they have done a marvelous job maneuvering through last year and seeing that this year goes well. Lots of good things are happening and many victories are being won. I’m not sure how many total campers OVCF has sent but I can guarantee it is better than last year!  🙂

Just wanted to let you know of a couple important upcoming events for Sunday morning. On August 1st, we will be hosting a group from Chi Alpha (CA). For the past two years we have supported Steve & Katie Averitt in their work with CA. Katie was an OV girl so we had a connection with her. However, they have decided to leave CA and put their influence for Jesus at work in the marketplace. They recommended someone to us who has been with CA and at IU for a while. Pastor Ryan, Diana and I met with Derek Britt for lunch on Monday, the 12th, and were impressed with him, his family’s commitment to Christ, and the ongoing work of CA at IU. Along with Derek and his family, there are two other families heavily involved with the ministry at IU. So we invited them to come and meet you (and you them) and to hear of their outreach at IU. I don’t work outside the church setting, and I don’t attend college, especially one as challenging as IU, so I am admire anyone who wants to share Jesus on a college campus.  I sincerely hope you will desire to hear more and will come and support these three couples who are committed long-term to CA at IU.

If that isn’t enough, I have been telling you for over a month about Mike, Trisha and Ryan Laws coming on August 29th. Mike donated his kidney to Ryan just over 2 months ago and they allowed me to enter into their journey with them. They were part of the church in Sandusky, OH (where I pastored before moving here in 11/05) before they moved to Dublin, OH (not Ireland) where Mike joined the police force. He has been there 17 years. When they moved from Sandusky, Brooklyn, their daughter, was about a year old. So it was cool being able to renew a relationship which had not been active for 17 years. Brooklyn is heading off to West Virginia University as a freshman and Ryan is starting high school. That almost never happened when a mysterious kidney disease sabotaged his, and their life. 18 months later Mike gave his kidney to his son. They have a tremendous testimony to share of God’s faithfulness and goodness and we have an opportunity to hear it firsthand.  That is also a 5th Sunday so the children will be with us that morning. What a fantastic opportunity for them to hear about God’s work in a teenager’s life!!  I’m planning on going over there next week to be with them and to work on the plan for that morning (and yes, we might get to see our grandson while there), but I am already stoked about that morning.

Update for you: Monday the Building Team met with Josh Smith to further pursue what a new building will look like for us. He came with a 2-D computer drawing of what an addition could look like. After an hour and half, we dismissed but not before there was a palpable excitement growing with the team. We will continue tweaking the design and customize it for us and then we will fill you in on it. Josh will present a 3-D animated walk-through for us all to see.  But please understand this is not going to be an overnight process. We will need to consult an architect, plans will have to be submitted to him and then the state, approval will have to be given, and then we can proceed with any physical work. As of this past Sunday, our Building Fund is just shy of $130k. That is good seed money! With the preliminary work which needs to be done, we will need to continue to raise funds. 🙂 We will go slowly, pray to make wise decisions, and follow God’s leading and plan for our future. At this point, we see us doing the addition in stages. I just wanted to keep you informed as to where we are in the dream.

One last thing related to that: it is easy to say, “Who am I? What can I do? What can I give? I hardly have enough to make ends meet let alone help financially.” While financial help is crucial (obviously) there is one thing you can do: PRAY. You will never hear me begging for money from the pulpit. I am not going to visit someone and shake their hand while the other is fishing for their wallet. That is not me at all! But I will beg you to pray for me. I will beg you to pray for the church leaders. I will beg you to pray for the youth program. I will beg you to pray for our outreach. I will beg you to pray for wisdom about our future. I will beg you to pray for the church’s commitment to the Gospel. And I will beg you to pray for our stand for the truth. Jesus used the gift of a widow (a widow’s mite) and compared it to the oversized and ostentatious gifts of the religious leaders to make a point: it is not how much a person gives but the size and focus of his/her heart which really matters. To use Jesus’ words: “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.” (Mark 12:43-44 NASB 2020).  To quote Bob Goff: “Every unselfish act of love whispers God’s name.” (Quoted in Live in Grace-Walk in Love– p. 108).  From the smallest to the biggest, if God is in it, there is no telling what He can do.  I believe that with all my heart.

I have one last thing: among all the prayer requests we make weekly, I have two I‘d like to make. Many of you know I was struck by a hit-and-run driver in November of 2016 while riding my bike. I recovered fairly well, but the past two months have revealed there is a long-term residual issue from it. I see a doctor today for my hip and hopefully will receive a solution.  The other: on June 3rd I was broadsided at the Junction intersection (hence the odd car with the Florida plates). I have an MRI on my surgically-repaired neck next Monday. Your prayers would be appreciated. Thanks.

Also, please keep praying for Pastor Ryan as he helps with his father during his illness.

I hope you are continuing to read the chapter in Mark ahead of time. This week please read Mark 4 in preparation for the sermon. See you then!

Have a great rest of the week. Remember you are loved.


Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 07/14/2021



Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #66. Thanks for letting me crash your day today. Oops that is a bad connotation there. Route 66 is associated with travel and there is that song from the movie “CARS” where they tell us to get our “kicks on Route 66.” So maybe I ought to just say, “Thanks for letting me infiltrate your inbox with my nonsense.” J


I know I said it Sunday from the pulpit but I just have to tell you how thankful I am to live in Spencer and work alongside so many caring people. We all know our community is not perfect (none is) but I saw a huge caravan of people come out this past Saturday to help serve our community. We called it “Serving Owen County Together” and it was a fine effort to team up with other organizations to make Saturday a special day for so many. The report from Aaron LaGrange was over 80 volunteers showed up for part or all of the day and we served over 800 people. We had a bunch of folks from OVCF show up to help. I know we would have had more but the change of date messed up some folks because of other plans already made for Saturday.  Don’t feel too left out though. There are plans to make this an annual event. Aaron and others received many favorable comments but one I think sums it up was given to Aaron: “I have lived in this community since 1972 and I have never seen something like this done for the little people.” Of course, she was not talking about “little people,” but she was referring to those often forgotten in the push and shove of the world.  When I left shortly after noon (I had something important to do for Sunday but can’t quite remember what it was), 🙂 there were already over 80 family units served. And I can’t say enough about Aaron’s part in all of this and Servant’s Heart Ministry out of Indy and all the vendors who came with them.  Whether big or small, try to remember we are most like Jesus when we forgive. Hot on the heels of that is when we serve. Jesus said, “I did not come to be served but to serve and to give my life as a ransom for many.”


The next big event for Owen County is our Back to School Expo. This benefits all the school children who come to the fairgrounds on July 24th from 9:30-12:00. The only caveat is that they have to be there. It will be a drive-thru event like last year when we gave away over 600 backpacks filled with school supplies. The children don’t have to get out of their vehicles. We used to collect school supplies for our teachers but feel it is more beneficial for us to contribute to this project so OVCF has donated $500 to the Chamber of Commerce for this excellent program.


Here is a quiz for you, but unfortunately I will not be there to grade you!  Question: did you read last week’s MM about the Building Team? No? Let me remind you then. The Building Team will be meeting Monday night, the 19th, with someone who has put together some designs for us to look at. The BT will look at them, discuss them, make suggestions and then continue to pray for guidance. We want to do this right. We don’t want to do something God is not in line with. We want to be functional but not overboard. We simply want a place where we can all worship together as one. There is no timeline for this to happen so I can’t say, “By next summer…”  Who knows what is in God’s plan for us (besides Him, of course)?  What you can do though is please pray for the BT and the elders as we try to decipher what God’s desire for us is.


Monday I was sitting at my desk reading when I decided to write something that was on my heart as a devotion for my “Shadow” blog. I know many of you don’t know I have the devotional blog and that’s okay. I share the following with you because of so much which is happening in our world today.

In this day and age of “justice this” and “justice that;” of riots; revenge; senseless killing and getting even, we need to hear and use and practice another word:


Jesus once said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.” Is it saying the same to you as it is to me?

Those who show mercy will be shown mercy.

Mercy is a God-promise. Lamentation 3: 22-23 says, “The Lord’s acts of mercy indeed do not end, For His compassions do not fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.” What does the word they refer to? Acts of mercy. Everyday God’s mercies are new. Mercy is a God theme.

Imagine if we would practice mercy instead of justice. God’s mercy runs throughout Scripture. Would there even be an Israel, a Jewish nation, if God only exercised justice and no mercy?  How many times do the Israelites merit justice but instead receive mercy? On the cross Jesus didn’t say, “Zap ’em good Father.” No. Instead He said, “Father, forgive them.”

I’m in that same boat. For each sin. For each wayward look. For each idolatrous attitude. For each angry thought or word directed toward Him or someone else. Justice deserved; mercy given.

According to Lamentations 3 God’s mercy will never end. It will never cease and grace will never disappear. Each and every day I/you experience God’s mercy. EACH. AND. EVERY. DAY.

And get this! It is not warmed over, stale mercy. Every day it is new!! Can’t beat that!

“Father, each day Your mercies are new. Remind me over and over of that truth and then to absorb it. Help me to live in the light of that mercy…with you and with others.”

Two notes: First, don’t think for a minute that I don’t believe there is a place for justice. I do, but that is a topic for another day. Two, all Scripture is from the NASB 2020 translation.

I’m out of space for this week. Have a great week. I love you all.

Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 07/07/2021


Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #65.  I hope you had a wonderful Independence Day weekend. After reading some rather disgusting news reports about the disrespect given to veterans, our country and its flag, I relish even more living in this free country.  Stay tuned for an article at the end of this MM.

Meanwhile #1: This Saturday is the Serving Owen County Together event taking place at the OV Middle and High School. There is much going on and we could use your help in making it a good experience for so many who need it in Owen County.

Meanwhile #2: July 17th is a ROOTS RECONNECT event. Pastor Ryan has put together a great outing! He is inviting the whole family to participate in a kayaking, exploring and a picnic at Sugar Creek. Please see Ryan for more information.

Meanwhile #3: Back to School Expo is July 24th at the Fairgrounds from 9:30-12 pm. This is a group effort of the schools and the Owen County Chamber of Commerce.  Each child will receive a backpack full of school supplies but children must be present. OVCF will be making a financial donation to the Chamber to assist with the purchase of school supplies. So if you have or know of a child who could benefit from the Expo, make sure they or their parents know…or bring them yourself.

Meanwhile #4: Some folks are wondering about what the progress is toward a new building. COVID caused us to put things on pause but thankfully many of you still continued giving to the Building Fund. We have met twice since things have opened back up and we have continued our talks. Monday, July 19th we have our next meeting. We are meeting with someone who has the ability to put together building design options based on what we have relayed to him so far. He will be making a presentation and will listen to our input for making improvements. This project is important to so many of you and we have not forgotten. Please keep one thing in mind though. No matter how eager we are for a new facility where we can worship as one body, we do not plan to go into debt for it. We believe that is God’s way and we intend on that being the way with this new addition.

Finally, no more “meanwhiles.” 🙂 I read this blog from Pastor James Emery White of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC.  Here you go:

On the 4th of July, I’m always reminded of times I’ve traveled in countries where freedom is severely curtailed. Or where the people have been freshly freed from the chains of injustice, and the joy of their release was palpable.

I was in Johannesburg on the 10th anniversary of the end of apartheid.

I was in Korea when the border between North and South was electric with tension.

My most powerful memory came from Moscow, where I was teaching shortly after the fall of communism.

One night a group of us went to the famed Bolshoi Ballet. It was a long, wonderful evening, and after we took the subway back to where we were staying, the students said, “Come and let us celebrate.” The other two professors with me were as tired as I was, but the students were so intent on our joining them, that we went.

And then we found out what celebration meant to them.

They wanted to gather in the dining room and sing hymns and worship God. And we did, late into the night, with more passion and sincerity than I have ever experienced. It didn’t matter that we didn’t know how to sing in Russian—we worshiped God together.

But I went to bed puzzled. I had never seen such passion for spontaneous and heart-filled worship. I was curious as to why they were so ready and eager to offer God love and honor. I received my answer the following Sunday when I was invited to speak at a church in North Moscow. A former underground church that met in secret (as so many churches had been), they were now meeting openly in a schoolhouse. I had been asked to bring a message that Sunday morning.

I didn’t know that I was in for a bit of a wait.

The service lasted for nearly three hours. There were three sermons from three different speakers, with long periods of worship between each message.

I was to go last.

When it was over, I talked a bit with the pastor of the church. I was surprised at not only the length of the service, but the spirit and energy of the people. Throughout the entire three hours, they never let up. In spite of the length of time, they never seemed to tire. Even at the end, they didn’t seem to want to go home.

“In the States,” I said, “you’re doing well to go a single hour before every watch in the place starts beeping.” (This was before smart phones.) He didn’t get my weak attempt at humor, but he did say something that I will never forget.

“It was only a few years ago that we would have been put in prison for doing what we did today. We were never allowed to gather together as a community of faith and offer worship to God. And we are just so happy, and almost in a state of unbelief, that we can do this now – publicly, together – that we don’t want it to end. And not knowing what the future might hold for us here, we know that every week might just be our last. So we never want to stop. So we keep worshiping together, as long as we can.”

As I left, his words never left my mind. I thought to myself, “I will never think about worship the same again. I’ve been too casual about it, too laid back, taken it too much for granted. These people know what it’s about – really about – and because of that, they have been willing, and would be willing again, to suffer for it. To be imprisoned for it. To die for it. Because they’ve discovered that it holds that high of a yield for their life. It has that much meaning and payoff and significance. It matters that much.”

And it should matter that much to all of us. (end of article)

Have a great week. Love you all and can’t wait to see you here or in the air.

Pastor Bill


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Midweek Message 06/30/2021


Hello and welcome to Midweek Message (MM) #64.  As I write this it is Monday afternoon and I understand it is supposed to be a hot one this week. Some rain possibly on Wednesday. What can I say? We live in Indiana!! 🙂 I’m going to enjoy it since I know in about 6 months or so we will be wondering where the warm weather went!! Yikes! Did I just say that?

If you were here this past Sunday or watched online you heard me make an announcement (I’m sure you pay attention to announcements) about the Serving Owen County Together event which was postponed due to the flood waters. It has been rescheduled for July 10th, which is a mere 2 weeks away. We sure could use your help again, so if you are able to do so, please sign up again at I can say that if you don’t sign up, but just show up, a spot will be found for you to help.  This is a tremendous opportunity for our community and I plan to be there (I’ll leave off the bells and whistles).

I was reminded why we do what we do as I have been studying for this new sermon series on Mark. I have given it the title of The Servant King because Jesus shows us to a “T” what it means to be a servant. We are definitely like Jesus when we serve others.

Speaking of the sermon series: please read Mark 1 for this Sunday. That will be one of the beauties of preaching through a book like this. I can ask you to read ahead by simply reading the chapter. And you can read it multiple times a week and really get familiar with it.  It has been several months since I preached through a book, and a long time since I did it this way. I preached through Ecclesiastes but it was more topical and I left out some passages.  There are 16 chapters= 16 weeks. There will be one big break in our study.  On August 29th, Lord willing, Mike, Trisha, and Ryan Laws will be with us sharing their testimony of God’s phenomenal grace, love, strength, and answered prayer. Mike donated his kidney to Ryan a few months ago and we had been praying for them. Ryan is now playing soccer. Truly remarkable. Mike is slower recovering (I’m thinking his age might have something to do with that-LOL) but they have seen God do amazing things in their lives. They will be here to share what He has done in an interview-type of format. You won’t want to miss that Sunday! So I’m asking you to put it on your calendar now. That is also our 5th Sunday of the month so the young people will be in with us.

If you have a young person in Junior/Senior High then you won’t want to miss this next announcement. On July 17th, Pastor Ryan is planning a ROOTS RECONNECT event by taking the youth group kayaking, exploring and enjoying a picnic at Sugar Creek. Just one day but it will be a whole lot of fun. The cost is $20/person and this is a whole family activity. They will be stopping on the way home to eat. If you want your child to go but don’t have the funds please let Pastor Ryan or Diana know. The church can help!! There is only one catch, he needs you to RSVP by July 5th. You can call the church office at 812-828-9840 to register since Pastor Ryan is at Hilltop Camp for Wilderness Week.  For those who may not know: ROOTS is the Sunday night youth program for Junior/Senior High youth. They take a break for the summer but this is a way for Ryan to “reconnect” with them.

Speaking of the youth group, Deeper will resume on July 7th and will meet at Ryan and Hope’s house.  They meet Wednesdays from 4-5:30 in his garage. And yes, they have snacks! And a whole lot of fun and learning from the Bible.  This will the first week back since the end of school.

As many of you know, I try really hard to avoid politics in person, and especially from the pulpit. In fact, I can promise you that nothing political will come from the pulpit. But with July 4th coming up this Sunday I would like to add some thoughts to this MM. The most recent display of disrespect given by an “athlete” sort of raises my ire a bit. A female hammer thrower, who may have been ticked off more because she placed 3rd (who really knows?), turned her back on the flag during the playing of the National Anthem. That kind of disrespect does not sit well with me when several things are considered. One, we still live in the greatest country on the planet. This country isn’t perfect but it is still the best place to live. I sometimes wish those who threaten to leave if they don’t get their way, would. Let them go where they don’t even have the freedom to say what they are saying about the U.S. Second, their actions disrespect all those who served, gave up their families and even their lives, to give us the freedom we enjoy. Third, it says that all those who fought for our initial freedom in 1776 were misguided. It spits in the eye of great men like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and others who saw a new horizon for us. It puts down all the men and women who served. It says to all the great African Americans like Martin Luther King, Jr, Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglas and others that they wasted their time and efforts to make a difference. Fourth, if they are so disgusted by the USA why are they competing for a place in Olympic history? This July 4th I hope you will take the time to celebrate living in a land of freedom. Are we perfect? No, of course not. Neither is the church, but I celebrate it anyway. Be proud of living in a free nation, made free by the blood of all races, colors and nationalities willing to serve and sacrifice.  Okay…off my soapbox. 🙂

Have a great rest of the week. I celebrate the freedom I have in Christ. I celebrate the freedom I have living in this nation. And I celebrate you.

Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 06/23/2021


Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #63. I hope you are doing well this week. After the weekend of rain and “digging out” I can imagine some of you are pretty beat.

As you now know, the Serving Owen County Together event had to be cancelled and rescheduled. I know it was a tough call for Aaron LaGrange to make but it was made easier by his 10 minute drive taking him one hour due to the downed trees and flooded roads.  I saw the wrestling he did while making that decision. Sadly, the folks from Servant’s Heart Ministry and their partners were able to make the trip here but then had to turn around and head back to Indy. I agree with those who said that those who needed the event and all it offered would have been the very folks who could not have made it here safely. Aaron is working on finding another date for them to come. When that happens I will let you know. It did my heart good to see so many folks who signed up to volunteer from OVCF. I do hope you are available to serve when Aaron does find that elusive day.

Late breaking news!  It looks like July 10th is the day the Serving Owen County Together event will take place. Listen this Sunday for more information!!

My heart goes out to so many of you who took the brunt of the storm with flooded basements, downed trees, loss of electricity, and changed plans.  I was able to ride on Sunday afternoon and was astounded at the devastation. Fortunately, some workers and random folks were able to cut up the trees which were blocking the roads. As I drove to a couple of appointments on Monday, I was reminded again of the power of a storm. As I was visiting with some folks on Monday, we talked about the storm and they talked about how slivers of trees were driven deep into their yard and how some trees were corkscrewed. Yeah, that sounds a bit more than straight line winds to me. But I am not a weatherman. 🙂  Thankfully, there were no casualties around here that I know of.

I gotta tell you some totally fantastic and yes, awesome news. Backstory first: We have been praying for Robert Herrington for the past month or so. A month to the day on Sunday, Robert was lifting weights and sat up on the bench and hit his head. Not much. Didn’t hurt. He came home for the summer that same day and began preparing for summer boot camp (he is in a college ROTC program). He slept that next day and two days later began to stutter. Badly. Test after test showed no brain injury, except a concussion. But the stuttering continued. He lost strength (he was a weight-lifter). He lost cognitive ability and memory. And he wanted to sleep. A lot. The specialists told him it could be anywhere from 6 months to a year before he stopped stuttering and got relief for the other symptoms. His outlook has been to trust God because He knows what He is doing. I admire a 20 year old with that kind of trust. Anyway, he came to church this past Sunday still stuttering.  I mentioned him during our prayer time and prayed for God to intervene and astound the doctors. Sunday afternoon he, and his sister, Abigail, were driving somewhere and he talked to her with a stutter. The next sentence out of his mouth had no stutter and he has not done so since then!  IS THAT NOT AWESOME?  Those of you who know me know I don’t use that word except to describe God or something He has done. When I visited with Robert and his family on Monday they could not stop talking about God’s intervention and goodness. But according to Abigail there was a downside to it all. Robert never stopped talking for 45 minutes after that!  Doesn’t that sound just like a sister?  I love the banter. But more, I love that they are giving all the glory to God. He still has a way to go on some of the other symptoms from the concussion, but Robert told the doctor that the others will eventually go away but “at least I can talk.”

I want to pass something along to you about your elders (but don’t tell them I said anything). Monday night we had an elder’s meeting (postponed from two weeks previously). We were asked to help several organizations with some financial needs. Because of your generosity, we were able to pass along to the OV Patriot Choir program, Hilltop Camp, and New Beginnings Pregnancy Resource Center some much needed help. And while I say a good word about their willingness to reach beyond OVCF, I can’t say enough that it was all possible because of your generosity and giving to the church. God has blessed us tremendously and you have been phenomenal in remembering the church, even during the pandemic. So thank you Wayne, David, and Jeff and thank you for being you.

This coming Sunday Ryan and Hope head back to camp for the Jr. High Wilderness Week. Along with them pray for the other leaders: Linda St. John, Cassie Lehmann, and Westin Linville. We also have some students who will be at Wilderness Week: Anna and Caleb East, LJ Jenkins, Libby Zurcher (friend of Anna’s) and Alli Anderson. On the camp side will be Kathryn Anderson and her friend, Isabella Rector. How about making it a point of your day to pray for all the above folks?

This is the summer time (as you know). I have read blog after blog, and article after article, about burnout for pastors and their staff because of the pandemic. Since all three of us worked solid during the pandemic except when we were in “jail,” (and even then we tried), I have been keeping an eye on the three of us. So I will be right up front with you and say that summer will be a time for us to gather our wits around us so we can be ready for the Fall. That means the three of us will be in and out of the office for various reasons. To visit family. To take care of sick family. To just have a day of “Aaaah.” If you need us one of us (especially Pastor Ryan or I) we will be there. If you come to the church building you might be wise to call ahead to make sure someone is here.  Diana works from 8-1:00 Monday through Friday. Pastor Ryan has Tuesday off and I take Friday off.  Thanks for understanding.

I know I have gone on way too long. Every week I wonder if I will have something to say. I know some of you are laughing up a storm with that remark, but it is true. And each week I find myself saying, “My space is up.”  Thanks for giving me the chance to come into your inbox and most of all for being your pastor. You are loved.

Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 06/16/2021



Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #62. I hope you and those you love are doing well.


Every once in a while it is good to look backwards (I don’t recommend it when cutting grass though, especially if you are “obsessed” with straight lines).  Okay, lasso me back into the corral (Diana is good at that with Ryan and me…mostly Ryan). 🙂  Seriously, it is good to look backwards from time to time.  I went back and looked at the very first MM I wrote. It was after the lockdown which asked us not to meet in person as a church body.  Here were my words: “Who’d a thunk it just a couple of weeks ago that meeting together would be our last time for who-knows-how-long?” My hope was that this MM would become a regular feature, be meaningful, informative, and a way to stay in touch. I feel it has accomplished its purpose. And I have honestly enjoyed writing it. For the longest time (what seemed like years) we were unable to meet in person, nor could I come to your house to visit, so this was one way to be “in your house” each week and you didn’t even have to make sure it was clean! That sounds like a win/win to me!! 🙂  This is now #62 and it is hard to believe that except for a week or two, this has come to your inbox. Long story short: I still hope you look forward to reading this and my attempt to communicate.


I have come to one conclusion though: doing the MM allows me the opportunity to expand on some things that we can only take a cursory swipe at on Sunday morning. For example…

  • This Saturday is Serving Owen County Together. I have been announcing this the past several weeks. We need helpers from 7-9 to help set up (you can leave after that if you want/need to). We need folks to help man the tents from 9-12 and 12-3. We also need helpers from 3-5 to help tear down everything. There is a break room with water and snacks if you need to go inside for a few minutes. Pass the word along for people to come and check it out, especially if you know people who need help. All items there are new, not used. Shoes, socks, furniture, clothing, food (That would make sense since who would want used food?), and feminine products.  I’m excited to be involved in this effort to serve our community. In fact, you will get to see my friendly (and good looking face…cough cough) as you drive in.  So…any help you can offer will be accepted.
  • This Sunday is officially the last day for the New Beginnings Pregnancy Resource Center’s “Change for Life” drive. If you took a baby bottle to fill, I’d like to remind you to return it. If you prefer, you can donate online.
  • I want to give a huge shout out to those who have been keeping our lawn cut at OVCF. Each week it has been looking really nice. At the end of the season we will include a big a thank you! There are still a few spots which need filled so your help would be appreciated.


This past Sunday, if you were here, you know we went back to serving communion by passing the trays. We will have some of the sealed cups in each tray for those who still want to use them. We have decided to NOT pass the offering plate. There will continue to be a basket on the back table for your offering. You can also donate online or put your offering in the mailbox by the east door.  Thank you, thank you, thank you for your consistent giving and generosity!!


In the first service I mentioned Ryan’s week at camp. I failed to at the second. Pastor Ryan and Hope, Linda St. John, Cassie Lehmann, Westin Linville and Macy Carlson are all faculty for Ryan’s Senior High week of Wilderness Camp. There are several young people from OVCF who are campers: Micah Nally, Hannah Pendleton, and Mollie Wainscott. You may want to pray for them!  (Makes you wonder who the “them” is, doesn’t it? Try both). I also heard we had a couple campers the previous week-Kalissa Hamlin and Tatum White.  Sorry I missed you both. You have permission to whip me with a wet noodle. 🙂


Each week we bring people to you to pray for.  Mike & Ryan Laws have been on our prayer list ever since I found out Ryan needed a kidney transplant. (He is now 15). Mike donated his kidney to his son. Mike texted me Saturday night and said Ryan is doing phenomenally and has started playing soccer. The plan at this point is to bring them to OVCF on the 5th Sunday in August to share their testimony of God’s goodness.


You will get this MM on Wednesday, June 16th. I will be out of the office that day since I was threatened with bodily harm if I wasn’t. (Just kidding. Jo is not a violent person).  We will be celebrating our 48th anniversary that day. We don’t have much planned since next week we, along with Tami, will be heading to Ohio to see Braden, our grandson, play some baseball (Wednesday and Thursday nights). I can say we will be stopping at Hilltop to visit the campers. I’m honored to have spent 48 years with my college sweetheart. I’d be lying if I said it was all peaches and cream or that I was the perfect husband (far from it). But I can testify to God’s grace and goodness in giving me the woman I needed.  Our first ever trip away where no one knew us was gifted to us by someone in the church in 2017. It will be two years this September since you blessed us with the trip to Alaska-what I consider an early anniversary gift. It was the trip of a lifetime. I am also not shy in saying I would go back in a heartbeat. 🙂  We dodged a bullet though since we initially thought about going in 2020, but went in 2019 instead. Whew! So this year we will take it easy. Visit the folks at camp. Find some place to eat (Jo’s one mandate). And enjoy the day together.


My words are not few and therefore my space is up. I changed the font so I will have room to include this message on one page. Miracles still happen! I succeeded. Have a great week.  I love you all.


Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 06/09/2021


Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #61. Thanks for allowing me into your inbox. I hope this edition is informative and educational and maybe even some fun.

For the past few weeks, here and from the pulpit, I have been telling you about a service opportunity for OVCF to be involved in.  That opportunity has been named Serving Owen County Together (SOCT) and it will take place on Saturday, June 19th, at the Owen Valley Middle and High School parking lot.  It is more than just a food give-away, unlike what was offered a number of months ago. 🙂  In cooperation with a group out of Indy called Servant’s Heart, SOCT will be offering food, shoes, clothing, female hygiene products, and other items.  The time is set for 9-3:00. Volunteer help is needed for set up from 7-9:00; manning the tents from 9-12/12-3; and tear down from 3-5:00. This is a partnership with multiple entities (food banks, clothing, churches, etc.) so it will take a lot of people to help pull this off.  Because of the number of organizations involved, it was decided to use an online sign up instead of each individual group using a sign-up sheet (like the church normally uses).  Here is the link for you to sign up:

I know some of you don’t have a computer or tablet to sign up. Perhaps you can ask someone you know to sign your name when you would like to help.  The other option is to just show up and say, “Put me where I am needed most.”

I have said it before but I think it bears repeating: this is a great opportunity for OVCF to get back into serving our community. True, it is with others, but that makes it even better. Serving for the purpose of serving is one thing; serving to “get your name out” is something totally different. Let’s just serve to serve.  The pandemic put the kibosh on our Day of Service to the community. Perhaps that was good because it caused us to pause and reevaluate concerning our purpose and attitude.  I plan to help in some way. I hope to see many of you there. The church is also providing water and snacks for the volunteer table.  You need bring nothing but a servant’s heart.

Hey! Did you know there are some people who think that Hawaii is better than Spencer? Yeah, go figure. Wes Linville, Cassie Lehman’s fiancé, went with his family. Newlyweds, Alec and Caylan (Bray) Akerson, are spending their honeymoon there. Can you honestly believe they thought it was better to go to Hawaii for their honeymoon than stay in Spencer? 🙂  Here’s a funny tidbit: Jo used to watch Magnum P.I. faithfully (actually it was Tom Selleck) and at one point wanted to go to Hawaii. She changed her mind when I told her she had me (cough, cough), and she found out all the hours flying above the ocean.

He never asks publicly for us to do this but Pastor Ryan has two weeks of Wilderness Camp at Hilltop coming up. Senior High week starts this coming Sunday, June 13-18 and the Junior High week is June 27-July 2. He gives his all to these two weeks-before, during and after-and I know he would appreciate your prayers for the two weeks. We also have campers and many volunteers on staff from OVCF. Please pray for them, too! J

One last important thought that I wrote about and ask you to think about: The Bible says, “Love God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.”  My problem is two-fold: One, how do I do that? And two, how do I know if I have?

Paul David Tripp wrote, “We can know the true joys of human love only if love for God first rules our hearts.” (40 Days of Love-p.72)

You see, I know that to be true, but I’m not sure I practice it all that much. There is no question in my mind I am guilty of idolatry-of putting people, places, and things ahead of Jesus.  I know it, but changing it is something entirely different. If I don’t put Him first, I will seek to find the answer for my rest and comfort somewhere else or in someone else. Then I will be asking Jo, or another person, or my activity to do for me what only God can do: fill me and satisfy me.

Even as I write that, I am no closer to an answer to my questions: How do I do that? And how do I know if I have? I’d like to hear your thoughts if you have any.

Food for thought. Meanwhile, have a great rest of the week. Lord willing, I’ll see you Sunday or sooner.


Pastor Bill



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Midweek Message 06/02/2021


Hello and welcome to MM #60! I’m so glad you are reading this and allowing me to be part of your life, if only for a moment. 🙂

As I write this, Memorial Day 2021 is history.  Well, at least it is in our rearview mirror. The purpose of that holiday we celebrate each year should never be in our rearview mirror. I wrote the following on my blog Monday:

I have never served in the military. When I was in high school, registering for the draft was a law. When I was in college it was a law also. When I turned 18 on October 9, 1970 I was a freshman in college. But I was required to register so I hitched a ride from a school buddy and made my way to another town in Kentucky to do so. I was never called and to this day do not know what my number was. I was exempt because I was in a Bible college studying for the ministry.

I did not go to college to bypass the draft, even though I know of some who did. They really had no business being in that college because they had no desire to really be a pastor.  Without trying to be too judgmental, their lives showed it.

I did not know what Vietnam was all about. I was naive when it came to war and political things. Call me guarded. Call me shielded. Call me sheltered. I do know if I had been called on to defend the freedom of this country, I was willing to do so.

Others did it in my place. I am grateful.  I am beyond thankful for the men and women whom we honor today, those who made the ultimate sacrifice.  I keep thinking of those who want to destroy what we have; to take it and give it away to some lawless nation; to compromise the foundation of our great nation to satisfy their own whims; and as they do, compromise their own words to get what they want. Sacrifice does not do that. Sacrifice is no where close to the “what-I-can-get-out-of-it” mentality that dominates today’s thinking. As you consider today, think of it as more than a holiday (and in many cases) a day off work. Remember the sacrifice paid for your freedom. Here is a thought: did you worship yesterday at the place of your choice?  Try that in a socialist country.  I don’t think we are perfect and I certainly don’t worship the USA. I am not a Christian nationalist. But I am a grateful American whose Christian faith recognizes the God of all humanity as the One True God and as the One who has truly blessed us.

That is not meant to be a political post at all.  I am a registered voter but I am also not naïve enough to think that either party has it right.  I am a firm believer however, that there is only one solution to where our country finds itself right now: we are in desperate need of a revival-not a political one, but a spiritual one.

And by the way: if you would like to see the video again that I showed this past Sunday or would like to pass it along here is the link:  Copy and paste it into your browser.

This coming Sunday is our graduate recognition Sunday. We will be honoring 9 graduates (7 high school/2 college) at the beginning of the 10:45 service. What an achievement for all of them. Come out and give them your support.

The big announcement for this Sunday is the opening of a staffed nursery. As Ryan mentioned this past Sunday during our Q&A time, the nursery has been open, but really just for families to use if needed, with their own supervision. Beginning Sunday there will be volunteers in the nursery during the 10:45 adult worship only.  I can’t leave this topic without saying that more volunteers are needed. And for the purpose of safety, each worker must have a background check. (It is done at the church’s expense).  If you are interested please check with Ryan.

I know I’ve been a little “heavier” on the teaching this MM but I feel like somebody needs to read this: I finished reading a book on depression last week called Beauty in the Browns (an excellent book IMHO).  He tells the story of two of Lincoln’s most successful generals, Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman. They both suffered from depression. Grant was drummed out of the army in 1854 because of his depression (or more accurately, the drinking triggered by it). At the outset of the Civil War, Sherman declared the Union would need 250,000 men to quell the rebellion. The media called him mad and suffering from the strain of military duties, he resigned, returned home to Ohio, and spent the time contemplating suicide. Sherman survived thanks to his family and Grant with getting back to work-to lead the Union army to victory.  “Grant stood by me when I was crazy, and I stood by him when he was drunk,” Sherman said. “And now, sir, we stand by each other always.”  (p.156-157) Standing by each other is absolutely essential in the world we live in. Contrary to popular opinion, we need each other.  Let’s stand with each other, committed to helping and loving no matter what.

Have a great rest of the week. I love you all.

Pastor Bill


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