Category: MidweekMessage

Midweek Message 05/26/2021

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #59

 

Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #59!  I hope this edition of the MM finds you having a great week and enjoying God’s blessings.  We do serve an awesome (the only time I use that word) God.

 

As I write this I would bet my last dollar (if I was a betting man) that there are some awful tired, but somewhat emotional parents after this weekend. Since many of our high school grads this year attended OVHS, graduation was this past Saturday. That meant, for many, attending the graduation, setting up for a party, entertaining, and eating, until the last person leaves (finally) and you can crash (is that a sigh of relief I hear escaping your lips?).  Congratulations to all the graduates-high school, trade school, and college.

 

The biggest item on my agenda in this MM is to remind you what this Sunday is: the 5th Sunday Family day!  (I thought I’d give you a hint just in case you forgot).  This Sunday is the first of our new “experiment.”  When a month has a 5th Sunday, our plan is to have the young people who are normally in the youth programs join us in our worship.  We want them to see what “big people’s church” is like and not be afraid when it is time to move up. It will be worth it. We will have young people who are more aware of what happens in “big people’s church.”  We will most certainly have a greater appreciation for those who spend their Sunday mornings teaching our young people about Jesus. Let just go off on this side road for a moment. It is easy to forget that there are adults who give up their adult worship time to teach our young people.  It is almost like “out of sight, out of mind.”  I know we don’t intend to think or feel that way but it is easy to let it happen. Saying something this week turns into “Oh, I’ll tell him/her next week.” Or for those who don’t have children it sometimes doesn’t even cross their radar of the sacrifice some are making to teach the children.  Most don’t see it as a sacrifice, but as an honor, an act of worship in and of itself and the ministry God has called them to. It’s “work as worship” with a focus on discipleship. They are more focused on giving than getting something for themselves. Please make an effort to let them know how much you appreciate their time and willingness to teach our children.

 

As a side note: if you are concerned about the possibility of it being too crowded for you or if you are concerned about the “noise level” (which I will assume is going to be higher than normal), we do have the first service at 9:00.  I would welcome you coming then!

 

We have a special treat for you this Sunday also. Well…at least we hope so. We have had a video sent to us which is ideal for a church to remember the purpose behind the Memorial Day weekend. As I write this we are checking into the possibility of us showing it, not only in person, but also on the live stream. Both FB and YouTube have bots that will spot the use of a copyrighted song within a few stanzas and will then shut the site down, at least for that day. We then have to make an appeal for it be lifted. We are seeking permission to show the video and live stream it. At worst, we will show it in person and have to block its transmission via live stream. If that happens, please look on the church’s FB group or for next week’s MM. I will include the link to the video and you can watch it that way.  In fact, as I type this it just hit me: I’ll post the video anyway. Some of you may want to watch it again or even share it with someone you love or who needs to learn why we celebrate our freedom.

 

Do you remember reading in last week’s MM about the service opportunity we have as a church? No? Hmmmm…It is an Outreach Event which will take place at the OVMS/OVHS parking lot on Saturday, June 19th, from 9-3:00. Help will also be needed from 7-9:00 to set up and from 3-5:00 to tear down. There was a meeting last night to put more plans into place to make it something exceptional for the people of Owen County. It is a great opportunity for us to serve our community! I’ll be sharing more in next week’s MM.

 

If someone were to ask me to name my favorite Scripture I would say, “Psalm 37:5: Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will help you.” The greatest chapter in the Bible is Romans 8. Verses 28-29 challenge me to be conformed to the image of Christ no matter what the circumstances.  But verses 31-39 are what I would call the pinnacle, the highlight of the chapter. To know God is for me. To know God stands with me. But what can be greater, more refreshing, more satisfying than to know that nothing can separate me from God’s love?  I can’t think of anything.  To know that I will go through loss, heartache, and disappointment is one thing, but to know that nothing (read: N.O.T.H.I.N.G.) will separate me from the Father’s love is overwhelming.  Drive a nail through that truth today.

 

My space is up this week. Have a great rest of the week. See you Sunday!!

 

Pastor Bill

 

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Midweek Message 05/19/2021

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #58

 

Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #58.  Thanks for letting me come your way and into your inbox.  I hope this week has brought you good news and God’s blessings in ways you never even dreamed of.

 

After the school year we have had with all the COVID protocol, it is hard to believe graduation is upon us.  We have a fairly long list of both high school and college graduates. We have been asking for your help in giving us names of the graduates.  Here is a list of the ones we have. If we are missing anyone, it is important for you to get ahold of Diana at the church office (812-828-9840) or via email (secretary@ovcf.org) to let us know.  We plan to recognize all the graduates on Sunday, June 6th.  Well…here is the list:

  • Kristi Arnold (OVHS)
  • Colby Beckwith (OVHS)
  • Justin Chandler (Lighthouse Christian Academy, Hendersonville, TN)
  • Meilynn Dow (OVHS)
  • Grace Pendleton (OVHS)
  • Gracie Wainscott (Wainscott Academy) 🙂
  • Kahner Welch (OVHS)
  • Tiffany Frye (B.S. in Organizational Leadership from Indiana Tech)
  • Amanda Hutchison (Bachelor in Nursing from WGU)

 

Like I said, we have tried very hard not to exclude anyone. So please let us know if we have!

 

I thought I would let you in early on something OVCF is going to be involved in.  You might remember the food giveaway at the Middle School that had traffic backed up onto the highway. There is going to be another Outreach Event which will involve much more than food.  Clothing, feminine hygiene products, and shoes will be given away as well. An organization out of Indy by the name of Servant’s Heart is partnering with the Spencer community to make this possible. Aaron LaGrange, principal at OVMS, has been the one to spearhead it. It is scheduled for Saturday, June 19th from 9-3:00 at the OVMS and OVHS parking lots. We will not have to provide any items for the giveaway. What will be needed is people willing to “man” the tents where the items will be available. It will be split into shifts so no one is there all day (unless you want to be).  At this point they are talking about 7-9:00 for set up; 9-12:00 for the first shift; 12-3:00 for the second shift; and 3-5:00 for the tear down. There is another information/planning meeting scheduled for Tuesday, May 25th.  I will have more concrete plans for you after that meeting.  I just want to give you a heads up so you might consider where and when you can help.  For years we did the Day of Service (DoS) but due to COVID, and possibly it running its course, we have not had a DoS for two years.  This will be a great way for us to be involved in our community again! It is time for things to happen and for us to be actively involved in some way. Think about it…please.

 

Here is another friendly reminder about the 5th Sunday coming up, May 30th.  We will be inviting the young people to worship with us that morning. The nursery will be open for any who need it (but not “manned”). Ryan and I will be sharing the “preaching time” in order to just talk with you.  Look for a different approach that morning!  I think you will like it.  The Grand Opening for the nursery is planned for June 6th.  Your help is needed for that ministry.  Contact Ryan if you would like to help in the nursery rotation.

 

Ladies, don’t forget your hike this Saturday at MCSP. Plan to meet at Deer Run/Trail 9 at 1:00.  Please call Gail Kempe (765-346-0492) if you have any questions.

 

In my journey through the NT, I cracked open the book of Ephesians this week.  In 1:15-23 Paul prays a powerful prayer.  I’d like to break that prayer down a bit.

  1. He thanks God continually for them (the Ephesians).
  2. He prays for them to be given spiritual wisdom and insight so they may grow.
  3. He prays their hearts will be flooded with light (enlightened) so they can understand the hope they have been given.
  4. He prays they will understand the greatness of God’s power seen in raising Jesus from the dead and that He is seated at God’s right hand.
  5. He prays they will understand God’s authority in all creation, especially His church.

His concern is more than “God bless them” or “God be with them.” To run the race and finish well we have to go deeper.  It starts with praying for others and for yourself.  Let’s all make a commitment to do so.

 

Hope you have a great week. Love you all.

 

Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 05/12/2021

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #57

Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #57. Mother’s Day 2021 is now history.  Even though it was not an “all-out” Mother’s Day, it sure beats last year’s version.  Jo & I were watching a program Sunday afternoon that featured a  mother/daughter reunion. For almost two years they have only been able to see  each other through a window. This year they were finally able to hug and see each  other in person and play cards (mom always wins). It was a heart-warming story and  the mother was a winner in so many ways. Oh…I forgot to tell you she was a very  spry 105. And yes, you read that right-105. Let’s all try to remember that  Mother’s Day is not and should not be just one day out of the year. Like we say  about the “Christmas spirit” and the “Easter truth”- it should never run out. Try  it!

Do you remember from the last MM about me saying to stay tuned for a further  announcement and more clarification? No? That may mean you didn’t read it OR  you suffer from the “Disease of Forgetting.” Here it is! If you have been reading  the bulletin and listening to announcements (you know…that time when everyone  shuts down or goes to get a drink), you have heard of some events which will  happen in the very near future.

∙ On Sunday, May 30th, we will be having a Family Worship Sunday. At the  children’s ministry training and lunch at the end of February, involving the  youth in our adult worship was discussed. From the time they hit 3, until  they reach 7th grade, many young people are never exposed to adult worship.  For 9 years we unintentionally “silo” the children into their own worship and  program. It was suggested to include the children in the adult worship. May  30th will be our first opportunity to try this out. Ryan says, “Our goal is to  partner with parents and elevate them as the primary spiritual developer  in their kids’ lives.”

∙ On Sunday, June 6th, Pastor Ryan is hoping to open the Nursery as a staffed  nursery. Starting with when the pandemic shut things down, our Nursery has  been available to parents with nursery-aged children to use if needed, but it  has not been staffed. The plan is to open the Nursery on that first Sunday

in June with adult helpers in the Nursery. Our hope is that the Nursery will  be a place where you will feel comfortable leaving your child (if you are so  inclined) and know that he/she will be taken good care of. As in the  children’s department, every worker must fill out a background check and be  cleared to work with children. If you would like to help and be put in the

rotation, please let Pastor Ryan know. You may call the church office (812- 828-9840) or email him at youthpastor@ovcf.org.

There is another way you can help us. Every year we try to honor our high school  and college graduates. This has been a strange year in many ways and we have  tried our best to figure out who the graduates are, but there is always the fear of  forgetting someone. If you, or someone you know who is involved at OVCF is  graduating from high school or college, please let Diana know. We plan to honor  the graduates at the second service on June 6th. You can call her at the church  office (812-828-9840) or email her at secretary@ovcf.org.

We have a number of folks I would like you to pray for. Kim Paquette’s surgery to  remove two brain tumors was successful. They are waiting on pathology reports. Marcia Morris, Jeanna Srinivasan’s mother, had a knee replacement last week. Madi  Arnett is to have a knee replacement this coming Monday. Colby Beckwith is  recovering from his ACL surgery. Kathryn Anderson visits her Lyme doctor this  week and Becca, her mother, asked for prayer for her. And if you were listening to  the service Sunday-in person or online-I mentioned my friend’s son, Ryan Laws.  Ryan was given a kidney by his father a couple of weeks ago and the most recent  test showed a slight raising of the creatinine level. This could be a glitch or it  could be a sign of rejection. Please be praying for their family. Why not stop right  now (if you can) and say a prayer for all the folks mentioned.

Hey ladies! The Women’s Connection Ministry is sponsoring a hike at McCormick’s  Creek State Park on Saturday, May 22nd, at 1:00. Gail Kempe is the one in charge so  if you have any questions please contact her at 765-346-0492. Information is in  the bulletin this week and on the church Facebook group’s page.

I began reading this week in Psalm 19 and 20. Psalm 19:1 stood out to me: “The  heavens declare the glory of God and the sky above shows his handiwork.” Indiana weather  has remained constant-you can always depend on it being squirrely. Sunny and in  the 70s and two weeks later frost on the car windows. But what cannot be denied  is the creativity of God. The sun by day; the moon by night; the stars that light up  the sky; the greening of the Spring; the host of different flowers; and the species  of birds (Hint: over 35,000 of them); they all declare to us the creativity of a  creative God. Enjoy Him and His creation this week. I love you all.

Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 05/05/2021

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #56

 

Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #56. I’m so glad to have this chance to visit with you. I hope your week is going well. If not, then I hope today’s “Hump Day” (don’t cue in that stupid GEICO commercial) will start a change in your week. I have a lot of different “stuff” for you to think about in this edition of the MM. I’m hoping there is something for everyone.

This Sunday is Mother’s Day (MD)!  I’m looking forward to spending the day honoring the woman who has put up with me for almost 48 years (June 16).  Her MD present has already been bought and used several times. So I’m off the hook of trying to figure out what to get her. 🙂 I can tell you though that she is most certainly looking out for you all.  (This is a “tell on Bill confession”).  A couple of weeks ago we were in bed when she asked me what I was going to preach on for MD. Oops! I had developed my “Eyes Wide Open” series and forgot to leave a special one for MD. So I came to the office the next morning and immediately made some changes in my sermon schedule and inserted one on mothers…the one I will preach this Sunday. Whew! She sure saved me from a last minute, “Oh no!” then a frantic pace trying to write a sermon at the last minute. And she saved you from a half-baked prepared sermon.

I am so excited to be working with the elders (Wayne Akerson, Jeff Carlson, and David Robertson) of OVCF.  Some people have the mistaken idea, usually because of previous experience, that the church is “run” by the pastor or pastors. What he/they say goes. They wind up almost like a dictator. OVCF is not “run” that way. We would say Jesus is our Head and the elders and pastors work together. In previous MMs, I would tell you how the elders are praying for you.  Monday night in the elders meeting, I said it had been 6 months since we implemented praying for all of you. For those unaware of what I’m talking about: I divide up the directory (this time into 19 names) and “assign” the names to each one and we commit to praying for you during the month. Monday night I asked if they wanted to continue the prayer and unanimously they said, “Yes!” That got me stoked! These guys care so much about you that they make it a practice to pray for you specifically. You are that important to us!

Look for next week’s MM for an important message and clarification. That’s all I’m going to say about that. 🙂

Did you know we are doing something right?  It’s always nice to hear something like that isn’t it? This past Monday I copied two blog posts (not mine) and shared them with the elders. They were by Karl Vaters, the pastor of a small town church. Both posts were about online church. One was how important it was, but also how inadequate it was. The other was about tracking attendance. We were not the only ones who had to go virtual when the pandemic hit. But I’m happy to say that we are definitely doing some things right! A big tip of the hat goes to our “Sunday Morning Live” crew! No names lest I forget someone, but you know who you are. THANK YOU!! Every Sunday we report in the bulletin how many were in physical attendance and also virtual. Those two numbers (according to the post) are to be counted separately. Check one for us. The only one we can’t track is who watches it later.

But here is where you can help. One of the important items we need to do is to have an online presence. What that means is simply acknowledging someone signing in and then contacting them to see how we might help them or if we can pray for them. That’s it. If needs are expressed then funneling them to the right channel is important. I’m looking for a few folks who might like to do that. Not every week but how often will be dependent on how many offer to help. Would you like to be an online presence for OVCF? Please let me know.

Have you heard about the Nursery and the 5th Sunday?  Sorry. You will have to wait until next week to learn more. 🙂

I want to leave you this week with something special, something that spoke right to the core of my being. I wrote it for my Living in the Shadow blog. (I’d be honored if you would take the time to subscribe to receive it in your email and read my daily devotion blog). Well, here it is:

I was blown away by words from a devotion I read Tuesday morning. Rather than babble on, I thought I’d just print them here. The words are from Day 5 of 40 Days of Love by Paul David Tripp.

“Don’t be discouraged today. No matter how alone you feel, you’ve been blessed with the Father’s love.”

“I love the depiction of God’s tender care in Isaiah 42:3: ‘A bruised reed he will not break, a faintly burning wick he will not quench.’ What a beautiful word picture! Imagine walking through the bush and coming across a young tree with a bent and almost broken limb hanging at a rather grotesque angle. You spontaneously complete the job, ripping the limb completely off. Your heavenly Father would never, ever be that thoughtless. He wouldn’t think of breaking you the rest of the way. He comes to you in grace to comfort, strengthen, encourage, and restore. His love toward you is tender and faithful. He is near you when it seems no one else is. He will care for you when no one else does. He will heal your wounds when no one around you seems to see how wounded you are. He will never mock or take advantage of your weakness. He will not let you go unnoticed or disregarded. If you are his child, it is impossible for you to be alone and unloved because your heavenly Father is with you and reaches out to you in tender, restoring love.”

He ends with these words: “Yes, life can be very hard, people can be very cruel, and at times you are left alone, but you are never completely abandoned because your Father is with you in tender, restorative love.”  (Pages 18-19)  {End of devotion}

 

I want to leave those beautiful words with you today. I hope they will sustain you through the rest of this week, as well as for the long haul. It has become a cliché the past year but you are not in this alone (and I’m not talking about the pandemic. I’m talking about life). With God’s help you got this. You and He can handle anything.

 

And I’ll close by saying that I love you all and I look forward to seeing you soon.

 

Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 04/28/2021

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #55

 

Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #55. It’s always nice to have you take the time to read and (hopefully) feel comfortable to interact if you want to.  I do hope this week has been a good one for you and you have been able to enjoy the sunshine.

 

I want to give a shout out to the Worship Team from this past Sunday and this coming Sunday.  Dick and Vicki Hogan, our Worship Team leaders, are on a well-earned vacation visiting some of the HGTV haunts and family. One is in Mississippi, and the other is in Waco, TX (Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Farms). Although I’m not very handy I do like watching Fixer Upper. Jo says I remind her of Chip. Hmmmmm. I guess whether that is a good thing would be determined by what you think of him. I think he is witty, funny, engaging, able to take ribbing, and a whole slew of other good qualities. 🙂  Anyway, thanks to the Worship Team for leading our worship. I’ll not mention names because they would want it that way.

 

I want to give you a giant thanks for your prayers for Mike and Ryan Laws. Mike, Trisha and Brittainy were part of our church fellowship for a very short time after I moved to Sandusky and became the pastor, before Mike took a job with the Dublin police (Ohio not Ireland). Ryan came along after they left (he is 15) and everything was going well when suddenly he just wasn’t feeling well. Long story short, April 21st (last Wednesday) Mike donated his kidney to his son. What a powerful act of love!  Mike is home and doing well. Ryan is to come home today (Wednesday) if all goes well. I read a text Mike sent me this past Sunday during prayer time and have put the text and a picture of them on the bulletin board in the hallway. I hope you will stop by and take a look.

 

Have you ever had one of those “this could have been a very bad thing but it has turned out to be a good thing” events?  I had one this past Friday that still blows me away when I think about it. Every year I have my bike serviced by Bicycle Garage Indy in Greenwood. That is where I bought the last two and so I tend to be faithful to where I bought something. This past Friday I took my bike to have two new tires put on it and to have a tune-up so that it is safe and ready for the summer riding season. I had an early appointment with the intention of taking Jo to lunch and hanging around Greenwood for a couple of hours so I could take it home with me when it was done. We were sitting at lunch when the store manager called me with bad news. I thought he was going to say it needed more than tires and a tune-up. Nope. I needed a whole new frame. There was a crack on the inside of the frame down by the rear shifters and derailleur. There would have been no way I would have ever seen that until the frame busted and sent me spiraling or worse. The frame is under warranty but my size is a detriment, as has been COVID. Bike makers are so far behind that if I ordered a bike today, it would not be available until the end of 2022. Fortunately, Trek had some frames available for warranty claims and hopefully, will get it to BGI so they can build me a bike soon.

 

How could that be good given how much I like to ride? If that frame had failed while coming down a hill; if that frame had failed while on 43 and cars coming up from behind me; if that frame had failed when I was all alone…well, I don’t even want to think about it. Jo says I told her after my last wreck (the one that broke my collarbone, three ribs, and split my helmet in three places) that if I had another wreck I was done. I think I was delusional and under the influence of medicine when she says I said that. 🙂  But the truth is I may very well have been done. I still shudder when I think about it. And I am immensely grateful to God for His watchful eye while I was riding and having me get it to the shop as soon as I did. I have always believed that God does not do evil or make His children suffer.  God’s goodness and protection overwhelm me.  {Note: I’m sorry honey. I’m not quite ready to retire the bike just yet. And I still think I was not myself when you said I said that}.

 

Have a great rest of the week. We have had some visitors recently which always perks people up. Have you taken the time to welcome them?  Love you all.

 

Pastor Bill

 

 

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Midweek Message 04/21/2021

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #54

 

Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #54. Being gone this past Sunday makes it seem like forever since I’ve seen you. While it is nice to take a break every once in a while and know that Ryan will do a good job, it is always nice to be back. I look forward to seeing you Sunday.

 

I heard and saw we had some visitors this past Sunday. I was excited to see that and was disappointed I wasn’t here to greet them. If you are reading this and you were one of the visitors, I’m coming for you! Just kidding. I do look forward to meeting you and welcoming you to OVCF if you come this Sunday. Meanwhile, I hope those of you who are regulars took the time to say Hi and welcomed them.

 

Yesterday (Monday) Jo and I got our second vaccine.  So far, other than a sore arm where she took the nail and pounded it in, I’m doing okay. So is Jo.  I have mentioned it before, but just in case you haven’t heard or read, I did have COVID around Christmas and then was fighting a battle with my digestive system. Several procedures and eventual surgery took care of that. I chose to have the shot because I want people to feel safe around me. I have never taken a flu shot and had to be “forced” to take the pneumonia shot and booster, so it is a big deal for me to get one. But if it is one more thing I can do to help people feel safe around me, I decided I would do it. Now…you have no excuse to hide from me! 🙂

 

Sunday morning Jo and I drove to Maryland Community Church in Terre Haute to meet some friends from the church I pastored in Terre Haute, then went out to eat. Lee and Rene were super people whom I loved dearly. They did a marvelous job adopting and raising a son with Asperger’s syndrome. Jeremy graduated Valedictorian of his class at Terre Haute North and then with a 4+ GPA from Kelley School of Business. He is working for a firm in Madison, WI and was also able to come to lunch with us. Lee is a 4 year colon cancer survivor and it was wonderful to see them and visit. While Scot, Maryland’s Senior Pastor did not preach, the Discipleship Pastor, Nick Strobel, did an admirable job speaking about Greed.  Using the story of Elisha, Naaman and Gehazi found in 2 Kings 5, he brought some good thoughts to the table. {Please take a moment and read the Scripture. I won’t have summarize it for you}.  After Naaman went on his way with Elisha’s blessing, Gehazi chased him down and lied about Elisha wanting his money. Here are the three points Nick brought out: (Main thoughts his; commentary mine)

  1. Greed starts small. It warps our purpose. God’s ultimate purpose was that Naaman know and acknowledge God as the only God. But Gehazi’s greed warped that. Man will always pursue what we think will save us. We will not pursue things because we think it’s dumb.
  2. Greed warps our Sin multiplies. Gehazi had to lie to Naaman to get what he wanted. God will never ask us to do something which is against His Word. N.E.V.E.R. When someone says or does something sinful or evil with the caveat of “God told me” you can pretty well guess He didn’t.
  3. Greed warps our understanding of salvation. God gave Gehazi what he wanted. The sin he chased became his death warrant. Greed can’t save. If you read the story, Naaman was healed of leprosy. Gehazi spent the rest of his life as a leper. Sad ending to what had been a promising future as the understudy/servant to Elisha.

 

Why did this mean so much to me? It never ceases to amaze me how God prepares one for something which is to come. Let me explain: last night (Monday) the Building Team met again to continue discussion about an addition. We know most of what we want and need. Greed says, “Aww, just go ahead and do it.” Wisdom and God’s leading says, “Nope. Follow me. Don’t get greedy and go outside my will and parameters.” The addition we would like to do is not flashy or over the top but we will not compromise our “debt free” approach by moving too fast. We have to find the line of moving by faith and believing by faith. I was pleased the folks present last night are of the same mindset. “Build as we have it.” Conventional thinking (cultural and religious) says, “Build it and people will come.” Wisdom says, “We will wait.” Waiting is hard but it is the way to go. Pray with us about this please.

 

You will be receiving this Wednesday. Today is the kidney transplant of Michael and Ryan Laws (old friends of ours from Ohio). Mike is giving his kidney to his teenage son. Would you please stop and pray for them? Thanks.

 

Today is also Administrative Professionals Day. It used to be called Secretary’s Day but that is one of those changes society has made. Ryan and I are honoring Diana by taking her to lunch (Mr. Hibachi). I can’t keep this a secret but have you let her know how much you appreciate her work for OVCF?  It’s never too late!!

 

Have a great week. I can’t wait to see you Sunday! Love you all.

 

Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 04/14/2021

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #53

Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #53!  I know I made your day showing up in your inbox since you were waiting with bated breath to see if I had decided the MM was done or would continue.  Surprise! And that is the correct word as many of you responded to my short survey last week. Thanks for taking the time to let me know you appreciated the MM. I’m glad you have enjoyed it and found it to be a good way to stay connected. That, after all, was the reason I started writing it to begin with.  A couple of you added that if it is a burden for me or Diana to do it then it would be okay to discontinue sending it.  I enjoy writing (as seen by my blogs and my journals) and like the discipline it takes to sit down and write.

As you get this edition of the MM, Jo and I will be heading toward Ohio (or may have already arrived depending on when you read it). Our grandson, Braden has his first ballgame on Thursday evening, but since Janna has him on Wednesday this week, we wanted to see him and take him out to eat after practice.  On Thursday morning we will be heading up to Sandusky so Jo can see her sister. Vicki has been in a nursing home with dementia for almost two years now and it has been since before COVID started that Jo has had a chance to see her. They were going to allow her 15 minutes for a visit but when Jo told them we would be driving 7 hours and haven’t seen her since February they signed her up for a “compassionate care” visit. 30 minutes. But that is better than nothing and sadly, we are not sure if she will even remember us. We would appreciate your prayers for the extra driving, but also the emotional toll it may take, especially on Jo. Seeing your sister going downhill is not a fun thing. Some of you know how that is. Our plan is to stay until Saturday so we can go out to eat Friday night with Janna and her friend, Mike. Ryan is preaching Sunday so we are planning on being elsewhere.

Some who don’t know our situation may wonder why I leave when Ryan preaches. It certainly isn’t because I don’t respect him. He has my highest respect. It isn’t because he does a terrible job. He doesn’t. He is a good communicator. I leave because it is “his day” not mine. If I am here, then people want to put their focus on why I’m not preaching. I also need some time away to stay fresh. Besides, I want you to miss me!!  🙂

Just a heads up: After next week’s sermon (the 25th) closes out the series on Ecclesiastes. I will be preaching an 8-week series called Eyes Wide Open. I’m going to look at how Jesus treated people: the leper, the centurion, the woman at the well, and others. We are going to see people through the eyes of Jesus, which I believe will be helpful as we come in contact with people from all walks of life. I am enamored by how Jesus related to the outcasts of society, the ones no one wanted to be around. One week we will look at how Jesus dealt with religious people (Pharisees) who thought they were always right. I think it is going to be an exciting series to do (it is one I have never done before) and I am looking to learn a lot.

Hey Ladies! Just a reminder, OVCF Connections Women’s Ministry has planned a Coffee and Chocolate event! Before the pandemic hit, the ladies had a couple of well attended gatherings. They are trying to get back on track and it sounds like this will be a great time to do just that. It is Saturday, April 24th from 2-4:00 in the church auditorium. Sally and Hope have worked hard to make this special. Please join them!

I am currently reading a book called After Doubt by A.J.Swoboda. If you follow any religious news at all, one of the biggest bombshells in recent years has been what are called “deconstructions.” In short, it is people (men and women) who turn their back on faith and all they have known and sometimes deny God exists and sometimes just walk away from faith. Because of people I read about, this has been a hard read, heart-breaking actually, to see how and why people do that. Two quotes stand out from the last page I read:

“People who tell me there is no God are like a six-year old saying there is no such thing as passionate love-they just haven’t experienced it.” (William Alfred-p.56)  Just because we don’t believe doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

And here is one for the ages: “We won’t be judged on whether we liked the Truth. We’ll be judged on whether we followed Him” (Swoboda-p.56) The Apostle Paul wrote “Let God be true, and every human being a liar.” [Rom.3:4] No matter what man may say; no matter how much they may “broker” their thoughts about who God is; they cannot change reality. God is God.  Faith is not based on our feelings, even though our culture wants us to base right and wrong on them. Truth is truth and cannot and will not be changed. He is Truth. Jesus said, “I am the Truth…” Nothing will make that go away.

Have a great week. I love you all.

Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 04/07/2021

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #52

Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #52. I am honored you are taking some of your valuable time to read this MM. I seriously don’t want to waste your time so I have something I’d like to present to you.

I started this to keep in touch with you during the pandemic. Although it is not over yet, it seems like we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. So here is the favor I have to ask. Because I value your time and mine, I’d like to know what you think of the MM. I have included a real short 3 question survey. Please take a moment to read it and answer it. Please return the answers to me at pastor@ovcf.org or if you are concerned you might hurt my feelings (you won’t), you may reply to Diana at secretary@ovcf.org. Here you go:

  1. Do you read or do you not read the MM?
  2. If you were writing it, what improvements would you make?
  3. Do you think I should continue filling your inbox with the MM?

 

That is it. Three simple questions. We send this to about 100+ email addresses. Diana also posts it to our FB page and it is also posted on the church’s website. That is a lot of extra work for something not read or wanted. So would you please take a moment and send an email to me or Diana and answer the three questions? And trust me: I’m not looking for pats on the back. Just answers. You can do it anonymously if you prefer. Thanks.

No pressure on that survey. It’s just that the earth may go out of orbit and the sky may fall if you don’t respond. 🙂

Well…Resurrection Sunday was all I had dreamed it would be. It was so good to see people face to face I hadn’t been able to see for what seems like an eternity. Our online service is essential but nothing can take the place of a church community being together.  The best part were the visitors who came and the smiles on people’s faces. To see and hear about the activity in the youth area warmed my heart. To see the generosity of so many knowing that unless designated the offering would be going to missions. And boy did you guys come through!!  In fact, you came through in spades. We were able to give 5 missions $1125 each, plus our regular offering was outstanding. I was especially stoked by the missions offering. Some missions have really been hurting due to the pandemic so the gift we were able to give speaks highly of your heart. Thank you so much!

I’m not foolish enough (plus I have been around the block a few times) to think this coming week will be like this past Sunday. But I sure can dream! 🙂 I look forward to seeing the momentum this gives us.

I’ll be resuming my series on Ecclesiastes this Sunday. Ryan will be preaching on the 18th (Eccl. 12:1-8) and then I will finish it on the 25th. My next series will be “Eyes Wide Open,” a look at how Jesus responded to individual people, especially those who were considered outcasts. Then beginning the first week of July I plan to start a 16 week series on Mark-“The Gospel for Busy People.”  That could always change though so please don’t hold me hostage if it does. 🙂

Transparency time. Some will say, “Oh-oh” but rest easy. Whenever people look at the church and judge its “success” or not, it is often judged on numbers and offering. I have to admit being caught up in that in times past. Even with Resurrection Sunday, I had to guard against that thinking. “We were ‘successful’ because our building was full and our offering was good.” But I know that is not the way to judge the church.  Just today (Tuesday) I finished a book called A Church Called Tov.  That is pronounced with a long O and is the Hebrew word for “good” and speaks of the whole idea of a church developing a goodness culture, as opposed to a toxic culture.  It was quite revealing and challenging. I hope to write a study of the book and go through it with the elders first, then if it goes well with anyone who wants to study it.  Here are two conclusive thoughts it brings out at the end of the book:

A tov church is a Christ-bearing church. Its culture embraces the pursuit of “Christoformity,” a life surrendered to Jesus for the sake of others. (Recap of thoughts from pages 217-219)

Growth is good, but the purpose of the church is not numerical growth or filling seats. The purpose of the church is conformity to Christ. (p.219)

Just those two thoughts alone give rise to ideas to ponder. Following Jesus is more than words; it is actions- actions which are good. Hence, a tov (goodness) culture.

That’s it for the week. I hope you have a fantastic week. I love you all.

Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 04/01/2021

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #51

 

Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #51! I really appreciate that you have entrusted some of your valuable time to allowing me into your inbox. I know there are a whole lot of other things clamoring for your time and attention so thanks for taking the time to read this small attempt to keep in touch with you.

The past few days have been typical Indiana Spring days. Rumor has it (but since when can the weatherman predict the weather?) that Resurrection Sunday is supposed to be sunny and in the 70s. Now you’re talking!!

Speaking of Resurrection Sunday. I have been announcing several important items concerning that day. I’d like to reiterate them for you one last time or just in case you haven’t heard them. 🙂

  • We will have two services-one at 9:00 and one at 10:45 (this service will include children’s programs). These times are for both in-person and online.
  • Even though we will add some seating, we will still be limiting the seats. If you are concerned about the spacing for the chairs, we will be using the youth addition as an overflow during the first service only. The service will be streamed to that area. The young people will be occupying that area during the second service so it will be unavailable. If you are still concerned, please feel free to join us online.
  • Until this past Sunday, I failed to tell you something really important. Our practice for the past few years has been to use the Easter offering for missions. We’d like to continue that practice this year. Unless designated (like for Building Fund), all monies will go to missions. For those of you who are not familiar with what we do: we take the offering for that day and give it all away. In this case, we divide it up among the missions we support on a monthly basis, and sometimes even add a mission, and send it to them as a way to bless them. I believe God has honored that commitment in ways we cannot see-for us and for them. Please keep that in mind when you consider giving for Easter.
  • This Sunday is the first Sunday of the month, typically the Sunday of our masked service. But at last month’s service they graciously changed it to next Sunday, the 11th, so they could spend Sunday afternoon with family and friends.
  • Above all, please remember the meaning behind the day of celebration: Jesus is alive! For some it may just be another Owen Valley Sunday (remember that song Pleasant Valley Sunday by the Monkees?), but for Christ-followers it is a day of celebration. So whether you are in-person or watching the live stream, please take time to celebrate the greatest day in history.

 

The Christian group, Fee, did a song called O Happy Day with these lyrics: “The greatest day in history/Death is beaten You have rescued me/Sing it out Jesus is alive!/Empty cross and empty grave/Life eternal, you have won the day/Shout it out Jesus is Alive! He’s Alive/O Happy Day, happy day/You washed my sin away/O happy day, happy day/I’ll never be same.”  It is a great, up tempo song that will get your feet tapping and bring a smile to your face. Go to YouTube and type in Fee O Happy Day and it will give you several options or use this link: https://youtu.be/GirtIPZRZeg

Go ahead. I give you permission to stop reading and listen. But please come back!  🙂 By the way, our worship team will be leading us in this song on Sunday, so please give the song a listen!

Springtime also means sprucing up. Dick Hogan mowed the church lawn last Saturday for the first time this year. J  Diana will have a sign-up sheet for volunteers to mow and weed eat the church lawn on the info table. We sure could use your help with that this summer. We could also use some volunteers to help with the flower beds around the building. If you would like to do that please contact Diana to coordinate times with her. One of the first impressions people get is what the building looks like at first glance. If it looks clean and nice that makes a positive impact. But the opposite is also true. If things look shabby and unkempt they will often just turn away without a glance inside or a chance to meet people. So if you can help, please call the church office or sign up at the info table.

Resurrection Sunday is always a big day in the life of any church. We are no different. Please pray for all involved in the celebration of the Savior’s resurrection from the grave. I look forward to celebrating with you.  I love you all.

Pastor Bill

 

 

 

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Midweek Message 03/24/2021

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #50

Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #50. 50!!! As the saying goes: “Who’da thunk it?”  Of course if you look at the bigger picture who would have thought this whole virus thing would still be going on? Certainly not me.  As I think back I can honestly say I don’t know what I was thinking. Know what I mean? 🙂

I am writing this early this week, Monday to be exact. We will be heading to Ohio sometime tomorrow (Tuesday) to see Janna and Braden. (Braden if you are talking to Jo. LOL)  Many of you know that 2020 saw the end of Janna’s marriage and the arrangement is that she gets him every other week and the “off Wednesday.” This is her week to have him and since his dad is picking him up early on Saturday for Spring Break out-of-state, Janna will also have him this Wednesday.  With baseball in full swing for Braden and April a pretty full month already for me, Jo asked if we could take a trip over to see him.  Yeah…like twist my arm! This weekend is moving weekend for Janna (she is moving into another place) so this will also give us a chance to offer some help. I’m still limited to what I can do because of the gall bladder surgery almost 5 weeks ago but I think I can still lift a fork or spoon when needed. 🙂 We hope to be home around noon on Thursday. Your prayers for a safe trip would be much appreciated.

It was good to see some faces in the audience yesterday we haven’t seen in a while. I was pleasantly surprised of the number of folks who were here despite it being the end of Spring Break.  The greatest surprise visitor was Kayliana Beckwith. She is now a month old and has my utmost respect (or is that jealousy?) for the full head of brown hair. It was in a mohawk and mom and dad said it just stays that way even though they try to change it. I can remember when Braden had one. I cannot remember when I ever had one. Anyway, it was good to see Matt and Mary bring her to her first church service. And…I put her to sleep while I preached!  She had an excuse, but the adults?  Now…that is a different story. 🙂  We had some other folks who were here also. (I even got hugs from them). It is nice to see people slowly make their way back to the church building.

We’ve been announcing the past several weeks about our Resurrection Sunday service. As we have been saying, we have chosen not to use Abram Farm this Easter. Bill & Suzie are very gracious to us but we just think at this time this is smarter and safer. We will be offering two services that morning-one at 9:00 and the other at 10:45. They are our normal times so it will not throw folks off who plan to watch it via live stream. We know there will be those who would love to be here, especially since it is Easter, but are still hesitant in being in a crowd where masks are not required. We respect that, so we are making it so that those who are used to tuning in at a certain time will be able to do so.  We will also have the children’s worship area available for use during the first service for those who want to come but are concerned about the crowd. We usually have a masked service on the first Sunday afternoon of the month but they were kind enough to move it to the next week. So if you prefer to come to a masked service, April 11th at 1:30 is our next one.

Just this morning I finished reading Tim Keller’s new book, Hope in Times of Fear. It is subtitled “The Resurrection and the Meaning of Easter.”  In 2002 he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. He recently retired from being the pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, a church he started in 1989. Shortly after he announced his retirement, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. So writing on the resurrection is pretty important to him. As it should be to all of us. His final words at the end of the last chapter, titled “Hope for the Future,” were these words: “Jesus has secured this for us by his death and resurrection. When this assurance abides in us, our immediate fate-how the current situation turns out- can no longer trouble us. Defiance comes from looking at ourselves. Hope comes from looking at Him.”  I’d just like to add a few words. Whether it be the pandemic, whether it be the prospect of cancer or natural causes taking our life, or whether it be a hardship that wears us down, we have the assurance of a hope the world simply cannot offer. Someone might say, “What a blind hope! There is no God and there is no hope beyond the grave.” Although I disagree, that may be so. But I’d sure rather place my faith in Someone and something greater than to die and regret the choice I made. It is like someone has said, “If I die and I’m wrong I’ve lost nothing. But if you die and you are wrong, you have lost everything.”

 

FYI: Jo and I got our first COVID vaccine this past Tuesday. Our second shot is scheduled for April 19th.

I hope you have a great rest of the week. Know that you are loved.

 

Pastor Bill

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