Category: MidweekMessage

Midweek Message 03/29/2023


Hello and welcome to a milestone: Midweek Message #150! Many of you are newer readers and do not know that the MM was started during the shutdown during you-know-what.  I knew for many having me visit was not an option so I started the MM as a way to communicate with you about what was happening at OVCF. I combined it with what I called “drive-by’s,” where I stopped in your driveway or close to your house and prayed for you. Unless you caught me and asked me to come closer (several did), it was my way of staying in touch with you, but also to let you know that I was thinking of you and praying for you. It is hard for me to believe that I have sent out 150 of these Midweek Messages. I owe a debt of thanks to Diana for being my editor and to you for allowing me into your world each week.

Please be praying for Julie Allen. She is our school-related person to pray for this week as she serves as the S-OCS Corporation Nurse.

We had a big day Sunday! Congratulations to Sherry Pavich on her baptism. Following the second service we made our way to the YMCA in order for her son, Joe, to have the privilege of baptizing his mom. Sherry moved here to be near Joe, Emily and Charlotte, her granddaughter. (Hmmmm, now why would she do that? ☺ )  Since the move she now has twin grandchildren, Thomas and Margaret, too. She began worshiping with us immediately after moving here and has been involved in my Route 66 class that meets on Wednesday nights. Several weeks ago Sherry asked if she could meet with me to talk about baptism and that night we set the date for the 26th. What a thrill to see Joe baptize his mom.

There are a couple of church events happening this week you might want to be aware of.

  • Friday night is the Connections Women’s Ministry Recipe Swap from 6-8:00. They ask that you bring one of your favorite dishes and the recipe for them to sample and share.  You are also welcome to bring your favorite cookbook or recipes to share. Please contact Macy Carlson at 812.606.9646 if you have any questions.  (Take note: my address is 563 E. North St) ☺
  • On Saturday morning there is an IDES training session from 9-1:00. This seminar is open to all, but is especially focused on the church being prepared for disaster. This is not focused only on an active threat situation, but more on what and how the church needs to be prepared for a natural disaster (like the flood of ’08 or a tornado) and how we can help our community.  There is no charge.


This coming Sunday is what is commonly called Palm Sunday. I’m excited because 1) I get to preach on the cross; and 2) it means there is only one week left until the consummation of why we celebrate this time of the year: Resurrection Sunday. So let me give you some reminders about what is coming:

  • Palm Sunday’s sermon is called “It is Finished” and will deal with the questions of what Jesus meant when He said that on the cross.
  • Friday, April 7th (Good Friday) the office will be closed.
  • Resurrection Sunday. There are some things you should know about that morning.
  1. We will be having two services AT OUR BUILDING at 9:00 and 10:45.  We weighed the pros and cons of having one service at Abram Event Venue and although it would be nice to be together for one service, the logistics of music/band, set up/tear down, sound equipment and live streaming can be a real challenge. We decided to keep things simple.
  2. It may be crowded that morning so if you are concerned about space, I’d like to suggest you consider attending the first service. Our second service (which will have the children’s classes) at 10:45 will likely be the most attended, so if you are able to come to the first service, we invite you to join us at 9:00.
  3. Regarding the children’s programs: The nursery through 6th grade will meet as usual.  I also want to say how much I appreciate the folks who are teaching that week. Their commitment to our youth is admirable and I can’t begin to say how thankful I am for that.
  4. Please remember that all monies given that Sunday (unless designated) will go to the missions we support. Our practice has been to take our Resurrection Sunday offering and divide it among the missions we support and bless them with a little extra. This is something we started years ago and God has blessed us tremendously. I’m glad we have leaders (Wayne Akerson, Jeff Carlson, and David Robertson) who still feel strongly about continuing to do that. In next week’s MM I’ll give you the list so you can see the wide range of missions we support.
  5. Finally, please be praying for the church that morning. The enemy (Satan) wants nothing better than to disrupt the victory we celebrate. To celebrate Christ’s victory also means we celebrate his (Satan’s) defeat.
  6. If you have any questions about that morning please feel free to call the church office.


A reminder about sermons in the month of April.

  • April 2- “It is Finished”
  • April 9- “Alive!”
  • April 16- Will Reed preaching on “Religion”
  • April 23- “The Boast of the Cross”
  • April 30- Pastor Ryan preaching on “My Emmaus.”


May 7th I will be starting a series on fear and anxiety called Faith Over Fear. 


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


Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 03/22/2023


Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #149.  Thanks so much for letting me into your life in this way.  As a young pastor (which I am no longer) I used to spend hours driving around looking for people to be home so I could visit them. Several things changed that approach and it is no longer feasible or wise to just drive around hoping people will be home.  I am truly grateful you allow me to come into your life during the week through the MM.

Please be in prayer this week for Betsy Breedlove. Betsy is our Educator of the Week and is the Instructional Technology Coordinator for S-OCS schools.

Years ago I made a decision to not complain about the weather. Sun, rain, ice, snow…it is what it is. Since I am not the Creator of it all, I have absolutely no control over what happens (despite what some environmentalists may say). God, the Creator, is the One who is ultimately in charge, so I’ve decided to simply keep my mouth shut and accept what is. (Complaining feeds an ugly attitude). This past week’s weather put that to the test. Can someone please tell me what is going on? ☺  Rain, sun, cold wind, and (ugh) snow flurries? Seriously on that last one? Then I think…it is only March and it is Indiana after all.  Not too much longer…I hope.  Fun fact: I wrote this part of the MM on Sunday morning during some down time. After our church worship service was over, I had someone come up to me and say, “Bill, I’m not supposed to but I’m going to complain about the weather.” Is that not funny? Or at least prophetic on my part? ☺  I’m typing this right now on Sunday afternoon and the sun is shining.  I’m ready, God! Bring it on!

In keeping you informed about the Building Team and our proposed expansion, here are some updates.  We have a virtual meeting in April to discuss ideas with the company we’ve been talking to and just before Spring Break we also talked with someone else who expressed an interest in being in on the process of building our addition.  We are still in the planning stages of design so nothing has been set in stone.  We are still committed to building the addition debt-free and I believe the current state of our economy bears witness to the wisdom of that decision.  While there is probably not a one of us who would not like to meet together in one worship service, we simply cannot and will not take on a huge debt to get things done faster.  I have said this before and will say it again: during the pandemic, many churches had to close or lay off staff or cut programs because of the debt load they had incurred and the lack of giving of the people. We were blessed in several ways. First, we had no debt. Second, you continued to give faithfully, allowing us to keep ministry happening.  We were even able to help some folks during that time.  I feel very blessed to be a part of a church fellowship that seeks God’s heart in all things, especially this: The church is not about buildings but people. I am so thankful for the leadership team I work with at OVCF who shares this vision.  Thanks to Wayne Akerson, Jeff Carlson, David Robertson, Pastor Ryan and the whole building team for their belief in this effort. All that to also remind you: please keep praying for the Building Team as we seek the best route to follow for the building and wait on God to give the green light.

Speaking of the Leadership Team: did you know we spent almost 6 months studying and reworking the Mission and Vision of OVCF? It was presented by Pastor Ryan and me during our Anniversary Sunday in October. I thought I would just take a moment and remind you of our Mission and Vision (since it has been six months since it was presented).

OUR MISSION: Connecting people to Jesus

OUR VISION: (How we want to accomplish that)

  • Pursuing Jesus Passionately
  • Demonstrating Jesus Visibly
  • Revealing Jesus Clearly
  • Preparing Disciples to Obey Jesus Faithfully


These are the principles and values that we try to make sure drives our every motive and plan. If you would like to know more, please ask or you can go to our evolving web site (we are in the process of making changes to it a little at a time) and check out who we are and what we are about.

Shameless plug coming: Every day (Monday through Thursday) I write a devotional blog called Living in the Shadow. It is fresh every morning and I write from my heart. You can bookmark it on your computer or you can go to the site and sign up for an email to be sent to you reminding you of a post. You can even feel free to comment if you would like! I promise I won’t bite. ☺ I would be honored if you would consider becoming a regular reader. The address is

In last week’s MM I wrote about the change in my preaching schedule. Instead of restarting Revelation on the first week of May, I have sensed the Lord telling me to do a series on fear and anxiety. I have titled it Faith Over Fear. Since that announcement I don’t know how many folks have confirmed that is what is needed.  Frankly, I’m a little worried about it. ☺ I almost feel I’m in over my head, but then God reminds me He is taller than me. I have begun reading several books on the subject. One is I Choose Peace by Chip Ingram. Another is Winning the War on Worry by Louie Giglio. Tami recommended one to me by Louie called Putting an X through Anxiety. In “Winning” Louie writes this: “Worry is so prevalent in our society and throughout our daily lives that it often feels inescapable…Like barnacles on the bottom of a boat, worry has a way of subtly attaching itself to our thoughts. Worry often starts below the waterline, out of sight, out of the forefront of our thoughts. At first it’s just a simple what if…” (p.viii). I know fear and anxiety is a real issue for some. While I “worry” about preaching on a subject like this, I also know that God will be the inspiration for helping folks deal with the anxiety they face. Please pray for me starting NOW! Thanks.

I hope you had a good Spring Break. Have a good rest of the week.  I have it on good authority there are only 42 days of school left as of today. ☺  Remember: I love you.

Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 03/15/2023


Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #148. I know this is somewhat of a crazy week for some of you so I thank you for taking the time to read this issue.

I said this week is crazy. It is Spring Break week around here and that means “Travel!” I told Jo Saturday evening there would be a lot of folks gone Sunday. I wasn’t wrong. There are a lot of people who get “out of Dodge” whenever the opportunity hits. I expected it but am so grateful for the folks who stay home and make OVCF their destination on Sunday morning. I also had some folks tell me they would be watching the live stream. Several weeks ago I said and will repeat it again: I am so glad we have the live stream. That is just one example of something good coming out of something that was not so good (COVID). Thanks again to everyone involved in making the live stream happen each week.

I have been so appreciative of the men who have taken on the somewhat uncomfortable task (for them) of giving our Communion thought over the past month or so. So far the men who have stepped up and shared their thoughts and hearts have been Bobby Anderson, Robert Herrington, Bruce Davis, Steve Pendleton, Charlie Shipley, Brad Brinson and Joe Pavich. After this past Sunday we are half way through the list of men who have volunteered to give the Communion thought. I will share the rest of them when the current list ends on April 30th. Each one of them have approached it differently and with great feeling. They have shared their thoughts and hearts with us. It is good to see the men step forward. I hope you have taken the time to let them know of your appreciation.

Please be praying for all our students, educators, administrators and staff as they celebrate Spring Break! Every teacher and administrator I have spoken with has been looking forward to having the week off.  To all of you who are part of OVCF: have a safe, relaxing and enjoyable week.

I’ve always said that God has a sense of humor. I might think He is leading me down a certain path and then…oops…change happens. Sometimes my “hearing” is not always the best and sometimes I “hear” Him loud and clear. For several months I have been telling you that I will be taking a break from the series on Revelation for the months of March and April and focus on To and From the Cross. Then beginning in May I would return to Revelation. That was true…until Thursday of this past week. It began as a little blip on my radar and has become a full-blown storm. I simply could not shake this idea, this feeling that I am supposed to go in a different direction in May. As I prayed and thought about it some more, it became a more definite “do this” from God. So I am delaying getting back to the series on Revelation to do a series on fear and anxiety. They seem to be “kissing cousins” and both are running rampant through our society and through some of the lives I come in contact with. At this juncture, my series title will be Faith Over Fear. My main scripture will be Philippians 4. At this point, after this series is done, I will dive back into Revelation. To make it even more challenging is that I have already started planning and working on the Revelation series and have the first four sermons started (Rev. 6-8:13). But when God says, “This is the direction I want you to go in” the last thing I, or anyone wants to do is to go against that directive. We will eventually get back to Revelation…I promise. ☺

In last week’s MM, I mentioned I had another quote to share with you but would save it. It comes from an Alisa Childers podcast I was listening to where she was interviewing Amy Davison who was one day away from becoming a witch in the Wiccan movement. (You have to be actively involved in Wiccan for one year before you can become a witch). One day away and she knew something was not right. She and Alisa were talking about feelings being the driving motivation for so many today. Then she gave this quote which came from a book called Mama Bear Apologetics: “Feelings are a great check engine light but a terrible GPS.”

I’ve preached often about feelings and how they play an important part of our Christian walk…both good and bad. It is good, and it is necessary, to have emotions. After all, happy, sad, laughter, tears, anger, and others are part of our DNA. To deny them is not honesty. An emotionless person is a…well…a sad person. That’s not an emotional sad, but a person devoid of emotion is more like a robot.

On the other hand, some people are way too emotional.  Emotions run their life and often decisions are made that are not always the best.

Neither one is good. Nor is it good to have your emotions run your Christian walk. Do you remember the lyrics to the song “You Light Up My Life” from the 70s (1977 to be exact) sung by Debby Boone?  Part of the lyrics were “It can’t be wrong; it feels so right.”  Put that in scenarios. “It can’t be wrong to have this illicit relationship because it feels so right.” “It can’t be wrong to take this drug because it makes me feel so good.”

Feelings can be, and mostly are, deceptive. Subjectivism is dangerous. People who rely on the “reality” of subjectivism forget the objectivism of faith. The truth of the Bible takes a back seat to our feelings. “Hell can’t be real because God is love and wouldn’t condemn anyone,” for example. “Surely this relationship can’t be wrong since it makes me feel good and God would not want anything less for me.” Truth takes a back seat.

Don’t allow subjective feelings to override the truth of God’s Word. Feelings are good, a must to have. But to be directed and led by them is dangerous. Feelings will lead us down the wrong path; only truth will set us free.

Pastor Bill


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Midweek Message 03/08/2023


Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #147. It is so good to have this chance to visit with you and to share a few things which are on my heart. Thanks for allowing me into your life in this way.

Please remember to pray for our School Resource Officers Daniel “Opie” Rhinehart and Bill Browne. They do a tremendous job with our students talking with them, reading to them, and also feeding them donuts (which just happened to be the same day I went to the school to read to the K classes). Yeah, let’s talk about the effects of sugary donuts and chocolate milk on children. ☺  Pray for their wisdom and safety throughout the week.

HERE IS AN IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT FOR YOU TO REMEMBER!! Make sure you set your clocks ahead this coming Saturday night. Daylight Savings Time begins on Sunday the 12th.  It’s a good thing that is the start of Spring Break for S-OCS schools. I can see a lot of students trying to catch up on that hour of sleep they lost. But I know no one would ever use that as an excuse for falling asleep in church Sunday morning or failing to watch the live stream. ☺ ☺

I very seldom give a recommendation for a movie. Not only am I pretty much unable to do that because of not going, but there isn’t a whole lot out there I would put my stamp of approval on. But I’m going to break my tradition here and recommend you see one this weekend. This past Saturday afternoon Jo and I went with some friends to see Jesus Revolution at the Tivoli. I also know some of our folks went Saturday night. Since I was born in 1952, I am unashamedly a child of the ‘60s.  I was especially influenced by the music (I still like that music also). Due to circumstances beyond my control, I was not heavily influenced by the dress (bell bottoms I did wear) but not much else drew me. (Have you noticed though recently what goes around comes back around? I see some of our teens wearing bell bottom jeans! Talk about feeling old!). Anyway, during the ‘60s a movement took place in southern California then spread across the country. It was called the Jesus Movement. Chuck Smith was the pastor of Calvary Chapel, an old, dying church made up mostly of a few old people. He was challenged to open his church to hippies who wore dirty clothes, no shoes, some seldom took baths, had long hair and were very often strung out. His open door policy led to the beginning of the Jesus Movement and many of those hippies having a life changing experience with Jesus. One was a musician named Chuck Girard, a founder of the first Christian “rock” band, Love Song. (He is the father of author, Alisa Childers, whom you have head me mention before). Another one was a man named Greg Laurie. Greg was raised by an alcoholic mother. He eventually gave his life to Christ and in less than two years was preaching at a start-up church in Riverside, CA.  I have always respected Pastor Greg because even though he is the pastor of a megachurch and holds crusades like his hero/mentor, Billy Graham, he has always been down-to-earth in his approach to ministry. I have seven of his books, one of which is his life story, Jesus Revolution. Long story short (sorry I went on so long), you will not be disappointed seeing the movie. I laughed at the humorous parts, especially when an old man in the church defied walking out and went across the aisle and sat with the hippies and said, “Let’s hear it, Pastor Chuck.” I will admit tears flowed when I saw young and old come to Jesus and go down to Pirates Cove to be immersed. Tears welled up when I was challenged by the presentation of the simple but powerful truth that gripped Pastor Chuck Smith and Pastor Greg (and Cathe, his future wife). When his daughter sat down with him and told him how proud she was of him for opening the door to the hippies I about lost it (as I am right now as I type this). The movie depicts flawed people who were still used by Jesus to influence a generation. It is playing this weekend at the Tivoli. I honestly do not believe you will be disappointed that you went.

This past Sunday when I stood up to preach in the second service I was blown away. I made reference to the Jesus Revolution movie and how Pastor Chuck stood up to preach and was overwhelmed by the number of hippies who had come to hear him preach. I felt that way Sunday. So many new faces! I was humbled, scared, and would have probably cried if given a chance. WOW! You guys have done some inviting and that leaves me speechless. (I can hear the peanut gallery comments now). Someone once described evangelism as “one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.” I saw folks who came as a result of your invitation and that is exciting. YOU DONE GOOD! ☺

One more Jesus Revolution comment: Pastor Greg Laurie lost his son on July 25, 2008 unexpectedly in a car accident. It rocked his world…not shattered it…but rocked it good. Pastor Ryan was telling us in staff meeting a last week that he saw an interview between him and Pastor Chuck Smith. Smith knew he was dying from cancer but he said something to Greg that when Ryan shared it I had to write it down. Here it is: “Don’t ever trade what you do know for what you don’t know.” Never trade what you know about God for what you don’t know. It is common to question God’s goodness when tough times come, but don’t ever allow those doubts to override the surety of God’s faithfulness.

I have another saying I heard this week on a podcast but I’ll save it for another day.

We are about a month away from Resurrection Sunday. Please remember that we will have two services that day at the normal time: 9:00 and 10:45 A.M.  It is always a good day to invite friends and family. Also, all the offering will go to missions we support unless designated otherwise. More information to come!

I pray the rest of the week will be a good one and I hope that knowing I love you makes that week go a little bit better.

Pastor Bill


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Midweek Message 03/01/2023


Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #146. I’m inching closer to that 150 mark. It is hard to believe I have been at the MM that long and I have had my trusty editor-in-chief (Diana) keep me in line as to what I write. She deserves a ton of credit for the MM being as “sane” as it is. And as I say it almost every week: thanks for taking the time to read this.

At staff meeting two Mondays ago, Pastor Ryan (Ryan from here on) talked about how he was still working through the mountain of cards he received for his 10th anniversary in the ministry. He said he wanted to include something in the bulletin and I invited him to say something here in the MM. So the following are his words:

On Sunday February 5th my mind and heart were blown (in the very best way!) as I was surprised by so many loved ones! What I thought was going to be a surprise for my wife turned out to be a moving expression and gesture of love from you all to me on the 10th anniversary of my ordination into ministry. I was shell-shocked, dumb-founded… and completely moved in my spirit. I felt so loved (and a little sheepish with all that attention on me – LOL!). I’m STILL, two weeks later, opening cards and reading your kind words. Thank you for heaping up so much love on me, and all the East crew.

You, our church family here at OVCF, truly make “going to work” each day a joy. I cherish your friendship and your partnership. I love to laugh with, worship alongside and run to Jesus with you. I don’t think I could ever quantify or express my gratitude for you and the encouragement you’ve always given me. Suffice it to say: It’s immense ☺ Let’s keep pursing his kingdom and his righteousness together! May we join with the Spirit in Christ’s mission for Owen County.

I had a friend comment to me how cool it was what you all did for Ryan. He was watching the live stream and was totally blown away by your acts of kindness for him. The video was especially touching for him to hear the young people say, “Thanks.” He even took the time to text Ryan himself and put in his .02 worth. As I said in the video, and have said it many times from the pulpit and in person to many of you, hiring Ryan is the best thing we have done. Historically, we were coming out of the financial hurt we had experienced and had just remodeled our building. Ryan (and Hope) are a great team and I am honored to be working alongside him; to call him my brother-in-arms; to know of his integrity and work ethic; and to know he loves your children and the youth of this church.

Please remember to pray for Mandy Bowman this week. Mandy is the Director of Student Services for S-OCS.

It was good to have Ryan and Mala Croft with us this past Sunday. They are the Directors of Hilltop Christian Camp. We make every effort to send our young people to camp by offering camp scholarships. Scholarships pay half of camp tuition fees, but you must fill out a scholarship form and use the church’s scholarship code when you register. We do not want cost to prevent anyone from attending camp! For more information, please see Pastor Ryan or Diana.

This past Sunday was the last sermon in the first part of the Revelation series. For the months of March and April I am taking a different path. With Palm Sunday and Resurrection Sunday in April I thought it would be good to take a trip to the cross. So I have entitled my series for those months To and From the Cross. Here is a list of the upcoming sermons for those two months (as promised in last week’s MM):

  • March 5- “Don’t Forget to Remember”- Mt. 26:17-30
  • March 12- “The Sting of Failure”- Mt. 26:69-75
  • March 19- “Insults and Paradise”- Lk. 23:26-43
  • March 26- “From Darkness to Light”- Mark 15:33-39
  • April 2- “It is Finished”- John 19:28-37
  • April 9- “Alive!”- John 11:25-26
  • April 16- “Religion”- Will Reed Preaching
  • April 23- “The Boast of the Cross”- Gal. 6:14-18
  • April 30- “Your Emmaus”- Pastor Ryan preaching


The plan right now is to start back with Revelation 6 the first week of May. I’m also working on a couple other possible series to break up the Revelation series (so we don’t get overwhelmed). I’m tossing around one called “Make Fruit Great Again” (Gal.5:22-26 aka The Fruit of the Spirit) and one on the Model Prayer (Matthew 6:5-15).  Those will take us at least to the end of the summer, maybe into the fall. I honestly do not know how long the Revelation series will last. I don’t want to get us bogged down in minutia, nor do I want to get into the “prediction game” of the signs of the times so often prevalent in a series on Revelation. I want us to see it for what it is: The Lamb Wins!  I would deeply appreciate your prayers as I continue developing and working on these sermons.

Thanks again for your time. Enjoy each day. Live the adventure. And remember: I love you.

Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 02/22/2023


Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #145. Thanks for taking the time out of your busy day to read this edition of the MM.

Please remember to pray for our Educator of the Week, Brady Tragesser. He is the Special Education Director at S-OCS.  While I’m at it, let me remind you to pray for all our administrators and teachers. This is a stressful time for all of them. I’m sure they are looking forward to Spring Break which will be coming in a few weeks.

I asked you in the last MM to pray for the earthquake victims in Turkey and Syria. The last number I heard was over 43k people have lost their lives, but as recently as Friday they were finding people still alive.  I had a friend who read the prayer request and the article which was attached in the link I included and he sent me some figures which were eye-opening. “The expected death toll from the earthquake is the size of the total population of Elkhart and 25 times more than Spencer.” It is hard to put that into perspective when we live in a small town but maybe that would help. I did receive a nice thank you from Valarie for asking you to pray and she was going to let her friends in Turkey know we are praying for them. The impact of our prayers will be felt all over the world.

Please keep in mind the diaper drive for New Beginnings Pregnancy Resource Center. The last “official” day will be Sunday, February 26th. That does not mean they or we won’t take the donations after that date. I had someone ask about ordering them and then having them delivered to the church address. That works also. That is an option for you if you are one of those folks who hate shopping. NB does a good work for folks of all ages, color, ethnicity and need. Please consider helping. They have given us a list of specific needs:

  • Baby wipes
  • Diapers, size 3 and up. Pampers and Huggies brands are especially needed due to skin sensitivities.
  • Pull-ups, ALL sizes needed.


Thanks ahead of time for being willing to help.

This coming Sunday is a big day for us! Ryan and Mala Croft will be here to present a short update on Hilltop Christian Camp in both services. After their presentation in the second service, they will making a further presentation to the young people about camp and conclude with a special treat. I’m sure most of you know it, but our very own Youth Pastor, Ryan East, is dean of two weeks. He does the Junior High Wilderness and Senior High Wilderness weeks at camp. He gets a lot of help from his wife, Hope, as well as several other adults from OVCF. If your teens love camping and “roughing it,” then they will want to know more about the Wilderness Weeks with Pastor Ryan. All that to say we hope to have a number of young people become interested in attending Hilltop this summer. The church helps each camper with at least ½ of their fee (there is a scholarship form to fill out). Please talk to Pastor Ryan or Diana to see how the church can help, and to obtain the scholarship code! ☺

I don’t know if you were here or listened online Sunday but I preached from Revelation 5. One of the responses to “the Lamb standing, as though it had been slain” was done by the four living creatures and 24 elders who were falling down (similar to bowing) and singing. This past week I read the following devotional I’d like to share with you. It is by Marvin Williams in Loving God Loving Others published by Our Daily Bread-(p.37):

The ancient Greeks and Romans rejected kneeling as a part of their worship. They said kneeling was unworthy of a free man-unsuitable for the culture of Greek and appropriate only for barbarians. Some scholars regarded it as an expression of superstition. Aristotle called it a barbaric form of behavior. This belief, however, was never held by God’s people.

In Psalm 95:6, the psalmist indicated that kneeling expressed a deep reverence for God. In this verse he used three different Hebrew words to express what the attitude and position of the worshiper should be.

First, he used the word bow. This means to sink down to one’s knees, giving respect to the Lord. The second word he used was worship, which means to fall prostrate as a sign of honor to the Lord, with an associated meaning of allegiance to Him. The psalmist then used the word kneel, which means to be on one’s knees giving praise to God.

According to the psalmist, kneeling in God’s presence is a sign of reverence rather than a barbaric form of behavior. The important thing, however, is not just our physical position but also a humble posture of the heart.

He finishes with this: our attitude in worship matters far more than the position of our worship. (some editing was done to shorten it)

I know the Scripture from the past two weeks and again this coming week has dealt with worship, but it should make us wonder why. I think it is because we have taken worship so much for granted that we need to be reminded of its importance. Anyway, I hope this prepares you for Sunday. And remember the challenge I gave: please read chapter 5 and pay particular attention to the three hymns found in verses 9-13.  Pray for the Scripture to speak to you this week.

This coming week is the last of the first part of the series on Revelation. I’m going to take a two-month break and focus a series on To and From the Cross. The first Sunday of May I will be back at Revelation 6 (and that is when it will get…”interesting”). In next week’s MM I will give you the sermon titles for the months of March and April.

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

Pastor Bill


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Midweek Message 02/15/2023


Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #144. I’m not sure where and when I heard it this past week, but someone expressed my thoughts to a “T.”  They said they hoped the groundhog was wrong. After the mild, but windy weather this past week (I consider it mild as long as no white stuff is falling from the sky), I’m most inclined to agree. I hope you were able to stay earthbound. ☺

Please remember to pray for Jeanna Srinivasan as our Educator of the Week. She homeschools her daughter and son, as well as being involved with teaching in the homeschool co-op her family belongs to.

I began writing this on Sunday so by the time you read this it will be old news. I’m going to make a prediction about the Super Bowl. I predict either the Chiefs or Eagles will win.  I’m so wise it scares me. One good thing has taken place in the NFL. Since the tragic incident with Damar Hamlin (collapsing on the field), there has been a renewed interest in God and prayer, especially among the NFL. For now, the “woke” NFL has become a sport where God has, in many ways, come front and center. Both SB quarterbacks (Mahomes and Hurts) are godly men who wear their faith very prominently. There have been other players who have spoken up about the importance God plays in their life and in their game. Brock Purdy, the last player chosen in the NFL draft last year and given the nickname “Mr. Irrelevant,” is very outspoken about his faith, even after his rise to prominence to being a vital part of the 49ers offense. And Damar Hamlin is not wasting his brush with death by staying silent about his faith.  It is easy to be skeptical about all of this, but I say, I don’t care where it starts, I will only say our country needs a revival. And in case you were born under a rock: the Chiefs won. Now for baseball!!!

I received a really nice card this past week from one of the couples who attends OVCF. They were really grateful for the live streaming of the service which allows them to keep up with the sermons and what is happening at home. I say that to encourage all those who are involved in the live stream week in and week out. Who knew that when COVID hit, and we would have to start live streaming our services that it would continue to be such a vital part of our outreach. Each week we have people who watch our live stream-some local and some not. I am so glad there were some who had the foresight to start the live stream and then make it possible for us to upgrade our equipment. Here is what I’d like to ask. If you receive this MM and watch the live stream, would you mind taking a moment and email me at and tell me how it has impacted you? I’m not looking for accolades; I’m looking for words of encouragement to pass along.

On another subject: some of you may be wondering what is happening with the plans for building expansion. I looked back through past issues of the MM and found that last time anything was said was MM#126. So I thought I would bring you an update:

  • After several months waiting for one company to get back to us (who had been recommended to us) I contacted another company. They never returned a phone call so at the advice of Jeff Carlson, one of our elders, we contacted Morton Builders. The rep called me back within an hour or so and we have been working with them on our project.
  • We have been receiving pretty solid communication with our rep but we have asked him for more information on a suggestion their design build team made. There was a significant cost difference in the original design we gave them and an additional option they gave. We have asked and are waiting for more info on that suggestion. With the economy the way it is right now, we are going to take it slow and follow God’s leading in it (which we should do anyway). We don’t plan to get ahead of Him and then regret it. As soon as we hear something, and the Building Team has gone over the plans, we will make sure you know.


This past Sunday Robert Herrington gave our Communion Mediation. Robert leaves Tuesday for Fort Benning, GA for active duty. I am grateful he was willing to help out while he was here and now I pray God will use him even more in his new assignment. I’m sure he would appreciate your prayers. I’m positive his mom and dad (Scott and Heather) would deeply appreciate your prayers for him. You know…each week we pray for our Military and Law Enforcement Officers, and it would be easy for it to be something we just check off our list. Following the Educator of the Week list, we will be asking you to pray for each one of our Military and LEOs each week. They deserve better than they get and the good ones we have here should garner our respect. Very soon we will be asking you to pray for them.

One more thing: I think all or most of us are aware of the earthquake that hit Turkey/Syria. It is easy to say, “Well, that is another part of the world”, and while that may be true, that does not leave out the fact that they expect over 53,000 people to lose their lives. I received a text from one of our people on Sunday night-Valarie Akerson. Valarie is a professor at IU and texted: “I have so many former students and colleagues in Turkey affected by the earthquake. Please include them in your prayers.” Further texting back and forth revealed that some were here as students who moved back after graduating. Some are professors in Turkey now. As far as she knows no one who was a former student has lost their life. I told her I would pray; the church would pray; and that I would include it in my MM.  Monday morning I found the following article I would like to ask you to take time to read:



Valentine’s Day is a day to tell those you care about that you love them. So even though I am a day late, I will tell you: I love you.


Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 02/08/2023


Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #143! Animals are unpredictable in many ways. I cannot say enough how I hope Punxsutawney Phil is wrong this year. He supposedly is predicting 6 more weeks of winter. I vote for no more weeks of winter!  Anyone standing with me? J

Sunday was a special day for OVCF. On February 3, 2013 we were privileged to ordain Ryan East into the ministry. Pastor Ryan and Hope were already volunteering here at OVCF in the youth department, so as his heart for God and for youth became more and more evident, it seemed natural for him to move into this stage in his life. It was a big move to make though. He had a solid job with IUCU and 5 mouths to feed, but he and Hope were both willing to step out in faith and accept God’s call on their lives and our invitation to go full-time at OVCF. I have said it in the past and will continue saying it: calling Ryan to be part of the staff and leadership of OVCF is probably the best decision we have ever made. I’m glad there were some thoughtful people who foresaw his 10th anniversary and wanted to do something special to honor the occasion. I’m honored to call Pastor Ryan a friend, a comrade in arms serving OVCF together, and one I would trust with my life (he is a black belt in TKD). J  Thanks to the ladies who made Sunday a special day, and thanks to so many of you who helped in doing that.  It was also good to see some old friends come to share in the occasion. And thanks to the God who will forgive Hope for her little white lie to cover the truth of the occasion. J

Remember to pray for Jenny Hess this week. Jenny is our Educator of the Week and homeschools her two children: MiaRose and Meilynn. John and Jenny and the girls are newer to our church family, but many people here have known them for years.

I would like to ask for your prayers about something. I’m guessing many of you do not know that I have been asked recently by our new Owen County Sheriff, Ryan White, to be the chaplain for the OCSD. After speaking with him to get details, talking to Jo, the elders, and to Pastor Ryan and Diana (to get other opinions), I decided to accept that offer. While I feel somewhat unqualified in some areas, I also know there are some ways it is an extension of my ministry to people (counseling, helping those who may be grieving, etc). I did not take the decision lightly, and actually gave up one of my outside commitments to do this. Of course, no one knows how often I will be called upon to help in reaching hurting people with compassion, but when (not if) that time comes, I want to be available and ready.  Thanks for praying.

I share the above with you because I want you to know how much Pastor Ryan and I are trying to be involved in our community.

  • Did you know that Pastor Ryan visits the schools once a week to have lunch and visit with the students? He goes for no other specific purpose than to let them know he is willing to be where they are and to meet them on their turf.
  • Did you know that every month I read to the Kindergarten classes at PES, GES, and the three classes at SES? And did you know that Pastor Ryan reads every month to the two Kindergarten classes and to a Pre-K class at MCES? I’d like to get something like the   Real Men Read program into Owen County again with some reading help starting in September of ’23.
  • Did you know there are other areas we are involved in as well?

So…pray for us please! Pray we keep our priorities straight. And pray that we can touch lives with the love of Jesus without “preaching” to them.


To close out this issue of the MM, I’m going to borrow from a devotion I did on my “Living in the Shadow” blog on February 1:

I read a short blurb recently about how some years ago, 300 whales were found marooned on a beach.  Scientists speculated that the whales had been chasing sardines and became trapped in shallow water when the tide went out. By chasing little sardines, these gigantic creature were ultimately lead to their doom.

The application to us is easy to make. How many people do you and I know who are now or will get “beached” due to chasing little things? What makes it even worse is that it happens before we realize it.

I’m reminded of several Scriptures-both from the mouth of Jesus.

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” (Mt. 6:24)  {As an exercise, substitute another word for money-sports, fame, pleasure, people acceptance, etc. and see how it fits}

The other is found in the same chapter of Matthew: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Verse 33)

I’m sure you can add more Scripture. Like the book of Ecclesiastes. Like Matthew 22:37-38.

I will grant you that it is a daily battle. I know it is for me. To stay focused on that which is important-on WHO is important-on WHAT is important-is a titanic struggle of great magnitude. But it is one we must fight. To choose to chase sardines is a losing game. It only leads to “beached” lives. A dead end.

To choose to pursue God and His kingdom may not yield much fruit here on earth, but the reward is out of this world!

I love you all.

Pastor Bill





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Midweek Message 02/01/2023



Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #142. I hope your week is going well and you have seen God working in your daily activities. After the snow event which didn’t happen (I’m not complaining) last week, this week is supposed to be pretty tame. I have not, however, heard a teacher or student complain about the day off.  I know I never did!


Please remember to pray for Hope East, our Educator of the week. Hope homeschools her three children as well as being actively involved in the youth program as she works alongside Ryan. Sunday, Pastor Ryan asked us to pray hard for Hope.  I’m not sure why… ☺


This past Sunday I mentioned during the sermon about the way each letter to the churches of Revelation flowed. I was unable to include it in the weekly outline for the bulletin and I know it was a lot of material to write down, so I mentioned I would include it in this Midweek Message. Here is the material I used concerning the flow of thought in each letter:

  • Jesus presents Himself with certain attributes suitable to the church being addressed.
  • The situation or particular problem is addressed.
  • On the basis of #2, Jesus issues either an encouragement to persevere or to repent.
  • That forms the ground for issuing a call to respond by heeding to what He has said needs done.
  • Finally, if they respond correctly they are promised an inheritance.


As I said in the sermon, this formula can be applied to each of the seven churches in chapters 2 and 3. My hope is that you will go back over the two chapters with this flow of thought in mind and look for these ideas. In fact, it will make a great personal study for you.


We all had a great time at the Tivoli this past Sunday night for the church movie night. Many thanks to Linda St. John for offering the evening for Pastor Ryan to use for ROOTS. Thanks to Ryan for inviting our OVCF family to participate.  It is good to see your church family and friends outside of the church gathering. It is really good to laugh together and joke around. I also saw a lot of faces I had never seen before. Many of them were young people who attend ROOTS. I love it! And I loved seeing so many with young children there.


Let me remind you again about our mission for February: New Beginnings Pregnancy Resource Center (NB). I know you save every one of the Midweek Messages sent your way (Ahem!), but just in case you don’t, please let me reiterate to you what we are trying to do for NB. Every year they have an annual diaper drive in February to prepare for the many clients that come their way. Donations may be brought to OVCF during the month or you may choose to take them directly to New Beginnings at 189 N. Main St here in Spencer.  The following is a list of their most needed items:

  • Baby wipes
  • Diapers, size 3 and up. *Pampers and Huggies brands especially needed due to skin sensitivities.
  • Pull-ups, ALL sizes needed.


I would love for us to overwhelm NB with our love and support in supplying these needs beyond their wildest dreams! Let’s make it happen!


This past Sunday was our 5th Sunday Family Worship. It was a great day. I honestly believe it was the best attended 5th Sunday we have ever had. At the end of the second service, I made a comment which I believe I should make again. We had a large group of teenagers present Sunday, as well a pretty large group of elementary students. I have to brag on all of our young people. They were phenomenal! I know it isn’t easy listening to some old codger yap on about churches in the Bible, but Parents! You would have and should have been proud of your young person if they were in that group. They were attentive (unless they have great poker faces) and very respectful. So….

  • Thank you young people for being so respectful.
  • Thank you young people for making your parents proud you are their child. ☺
  • Thank you mom and dad for bringing your child and staying to worship with them.  I think the young people deserve some ice cream and you deserve a well-earned pat-on-the-back and a big Atta Boy! (The young people can thank me later for that suggestion).


The next 5th Sunday Family Worship is April 29th and Lord willing, Pastor Ryan will be preaching. April holds many good things. Palm Sunday and Resurrection Sunday on April 2 & 9. Will and Theresa Reed will be back with us (Will is preaching) on the 16th. They will soon be heading to Colorado for training and then on to Nairobi, Kenya. We want to give them a great send off.  April is also the second month of the Revelation “break.” May 7th should get us back on track for that series: The Lamb Wins.


My sermon for Sunday is “He Knows-Part 2.” We will be studying the impact of God’s Omniscience in chapter 3. I look forward to seeing you there. Laughing with you. Studying with you and allowing God to change our lives. Remember: I love you.


Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 01/18/2023


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Pastor Bill


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