Category: MidweekMessage

Midweek Message 8/19/2020

MIDWEEK MESSAGE 22

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 8/11/2020

MIDWEEK MESSAGE 21

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Pastor Bill

 

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Midweek Message 8/05/2020

MIDWEEK MESSAGE 20   

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 7/29/2020

MIDWEEK MESSAGE 19

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 7/22/2020

MIDWEEK MESSAGE 18

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 7/15/2020

MIDWEEK MESSAGE 17

Good morning!  Well…at least it is to me as I write this. Maybe I would be safer saying, “Good 2nd week of July to you!” Sounds sort of strange to say that (no comment from the peanut gallery) so I’ll just say, “Hi and hope you are all doing well today.”

This past Sunday I took the day off. We left early Friday for Ohio and watched Braden play a game Saturday morning then came home. We did something different.  We took the National Road (Route 40) home. We picked it up at Rt.42 in Ohio and took it all the way to I-465. I told Jo it was a pleasant drive; a few small towns along the way; but much more pleasant than driving 75 with semis bearing down on you because the speed limit does not apply to them. It took us a tad longer but it reminded me of the movie CARS where the old town was forgotten and bypassed when the interstate came in. Rt.66 was a distant memory. We have been taking 40 to Richmond but this was the first time we drove a much longer route. I learned something: sometimes the fastest way to get somewhere is not always the most pleasant or most relaxing.

We attended worship with some friends in another town, but I must admit, Jo cheated. She turned on the livestream to see how it was going (without sound of course). I know I missed being here with all of you. But I’m sure Ryan did a good job. Thanks to Ryan for taking a very hard passage to preach on. I took all the easy ones and gave him the hardest. 🙂 I sure do appreciate knowing the pulpit is covered well.

I NEED YOUR HELP! This current series of “Promises, Promises” finishes the last week of August. I have begun brainstorming a new series I’m calling “Questions.” At this point I’m thinking it will run from September 6th to possibly November 22. Then comes Christmas!  (I thought you would appreciate me putting that reminder in there for you). Anyway, as I was brainstorming questions people/Christ-followers ask, it struck me to ask you. What questions do you have that you would like me to consider preaching on?   Here are the guidelines;

  • Absolutely NO political questions. In last week’s Midweek Message (#16) I said this pulpit will not deal with personalities or politics. I will not endorse or speak against a person by name. So if you ask me to endorse one of the presidential candidates that question will find File 13 real quickly.
  • That being said, I also believe the unborn and SSA (Same Sex Attraction) are moral issues and not political, so keep that in mind.
  • Not all questions will be answered, but those that are will be answered biblically.  Some may be carried over into another series next year. I’m already thinking of a theme for 2021. Maybe something like “Things will be better in 2021” or “Let’s forget 2020 happened.”  I saw a meme the other day that showed the DeLorean (Back to the Future car) with the words, “Whatever you do Marty don’t punch in 2020!” Anyone else feel that way?  🙂
  • There are probably more guidelines so I’ll make this disclaimer here: Some questions will not be able to be answered by me (or Ryan). Therefore, it will go unanswered.

 

I just finished reading an absolutely phenomenal book by Dr. Lee Warren called I’ve Seen the End of You. Dr. Warren is a neurosurgeon whose specialty is brain surgery. He is also an Iraqi veteran and a victim of PTSD. When I saw his book on my desk (and yes, I ordered it), I thought, “Oh man, this is going to be beyond me.” But once I started I had trouble putting it down. Here are some quotes from his book to invest in your week:

  • If you have questions, ask away. Just be prepared when God answers. (p.5) Quote from Pastor Craig Groeschel
  • Doubt is not the absence of faith. You can doubt and believe at the same time. (p.45)
  • You can’t fix stupid, but you often have to operate on it. (p.48)
  • Prayer does not move God to do things He is disinclined to do…Prayer is God’s way of bringing our priorities into line with His. (p.113) Quote by Pastor John Piper
  • The reason Jesus stopped in the garden to pray, to ask for a different outcome, even though He knew the answer already was because the purpose of prayers isn’t to bend God’s will to ours. The purpose of prayer is to bend us to God’s will. (p.150)

 

Well…I come to end of this chit-chat. I look forward to hearing from you if you have any questions. And I’ll end this with saying, “I love you all” and look forward to when I can see you in person.

Pastor Bill

 

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Midweek Message 7/8/2020

MIDWEEK MESSAGE 16

Tell me again. This is early July correct? Okay, just checking. They used to talk about the “dog days of August” with its high temps and oppressive humidity. Maybe the calendar got switched! Nope. July 7, 2020. Well, no matter what day it is I hope you are having a good one filled with the goodness of God.

This past weekend we celebrated an unusual 4th of July. The virus thing put a kink in a lot of normal plans for celebrating the 4th. Fireworks displays were for the most part a disappearing act. Communities changed their festivities. Even families were more cautious. That can’t always be a bad thing when families spend more time together. We had a very quiet “grill out” Sunday afternoon. Jo grilled me some lamb chops and a brat (which I didn’t eat until supper several hours later) and some hamburgers and hot dogs for she and Tami. Corn-on-the-cob, potato salad, baked potato (for me and Tami) all made for a nice family meal. We only missed Janna and Braden but he was playing ball.

After Governor Holcomb’s most recent announcement of going to Stage 4.5 instead of Stage 5, it appears our decision to cancel the Abram Farm event was a good one. To be honest, it was a disappointment. Even one of the elders stated that last night in our meeting. But he also added: it was the “safe” thing to do. And I also believe it was the wise thing to do. But I was encouraged by their next words: contact Abram Farm and see if there are any dates in the future we can set up.  I jokingly said, “If nothing else we have Christmas!” But I am going to check to see if it is possible to have a date sometime in October. I’ll let you know.

It has been awhile since I mentioned something we have here that is very important. It was brought to my attention last night in the meeting and it is worth mentioning again. Every Sunday, we have been gathering on a very limited basis. I so appreciate those of you who have ventured out. And trust me, this is not a guilt trip about to be laid on you. I know there are various reasons why folks are staying away. I get it. I don’t resent it or you for choosing to stay home.  I have had folks say, “Bill, it is so nice to watch church in my recliner” or “Bill, I watch it in my pj’s and a bowl of cereal in my hand.” I laugh because that’s the way it is. I also know some are staying away because of safety for themselves or a family member who is a health risk. I get that. Back in my Midweek Message #10 I wrote that Jo asked me about my thoughts and I told her I was “cautiously optimistic” about people returning. I still am. I miss seeing you, for sure, but I don’t want you to come back and regret it. All that to say, i.e. going around Robin Hood’s barn to say this: please keep in mind that we have an overflow area if you feel uncomfortable being in “big church.”  🙂  Since we have been meeting there have been a few who have utilized that space. It is a good space to come with your children since they have some room to roam. It is also a good space to come and feel safe while still feeling like you are part of the worship.  It looks like we will be using this space for at least some time into the future. The children’s worship will be delayed until we feel it is wise to open. Plus with school in session it will give our young people a chance to adjust to new things.

Speaking of youth: did you know Ryan prepares something for the children who come on Sunday? They have been a “hit” for them and it helps keep them preoccupied but learning as well. Which makes it a win-win. 🙂

There has been a lot of unrest the past few weeks as you well know. I have chosen to remain mostly silent on it for various reasons. I refuse to enter the political arena for one. I am convinced that politics do not belong in the pulpit. And I am very guarded about what I say outside the pulpit. I have very strong feelings about morality and various attempts at normalization some groups want to see happen. I will speak out about moral issues. But I will not speak out about politics in the pulpit nor endorse anyone. If you listened or watched the livestream/podcast this past week, I quoted a CNN commentator who made an anti-God statement. That is different. He was not a politician and I can’t sit back and watch someone defame God’s Name or say He isn’t needed or is inferior. We will continue teaching and preaching the Bible. To do anything less is cheating God and not giving Him the glory which is His alone.

Ryan will be preaching this Sunday. It has been since September that I have had a Sunday off and when I was working on this series I asked him if he would be willing to take a week. He said yes so you will have a chance to hear him. We plan on attending church with some friends elsewhere. Lord willing, I plan to be back in the office Monday. And yes, we are traveling to Ohio. 🙂

Have a good rest of the week. Maybe I will see you when I stop by some day. If not, still know that I love and miss seeing you.

Pastor Bill

 

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ovcf.org/ovcf_wp/2020/07/midweek-message-7-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2/

Midweek Message 7/1/2020

MIDWEEK MESSAGE 15

Well, I sure hope this finds you doing well and staying safe and healthy. If there was any doubt summer in Indiana is here (maybe a tad early) all you have had to do is stick your head out the door. Hot, muggy, sunny, with a dash of pop up storms and you have your proof!  Personally, I like it hot. I like not having to put on layers of clothes to get warm. And the heat is much easier on my joints. And before you say it…I know I’m older. Just remember I said that about the joints when you get to be my age. 🙂

As I write this section of the MM it is Tuesday. Saturday, July 4, is the day Governor Holcomb is planning on moving Indiana to the next stage. In theory it would say we could go full bore. And we would be right to do that…if it was right for us. In some ways, honestly, I want to do just that. But I also know that we need to be wise about things. The leadership is united in this. We may add more chairs but will do our best to make people feel as safe as possible. We will still not have children’s programs but will be able to use the youth area for overflow. Also, some parents have used that area to watch the live stream and give their children some “free space” to roam. The doors to the classrooms are closed so they are confined to the common area. All we ask is you help us by cleaning the chairs and surfaces you touched. So if bringing your kids is a concern, there is an option for you.

That safety factor is what also prompted us to cancel our one service worship at Abram Farm. There were still many who felt unsafe being in that space and especially with having a pitch-in following. So on July 19th we will be having two worship services in our building as we always do. If things continue to progress we will work on another time to have worship together. It may be Christmas but it will happen! Do you realize Christmas is only 6 months away?? I thought I’d throw you a little curve with that one. 🙂 In all seriousness, I have heard from many of you who agree about our decision to not use Abram Farm for the one service. Thank you for understanding and also your words of support. I’m convinced we are doing the right thing for all of you.

I thought I’d let you know of something I started doing late last week. I know there are many who would love to come to the church building on any given Sunday but have chosen to stay home. I’m just making the rounds to say hi to folks. I’m staying outside and keeping my distance. Maybe I’ll come your way soon.  I do hope if you are one of those who are not coming yet that you are taking advantage of our live streaming of the services. I really feel it is the “wave” of the “future now.”  We were not ready for live streaming by any stretch of the imagination. But I am so proud of the people who adjusted and made it happen. We are also in the process of getting a new desktop which will make the experience even better. Right now, we have had to compromise using the two front TVs during our worship time. That will change once we get the new computer. There is no question that live streaming is here to stay. I know many travel during the summer for various reasons-vacations, sports, camping, etc. I’m hoping if you are one of them you will take the time to watch the live stream sometime during the day or week. That will help you stay in touch but also help keep your faith growing.  The mission of OVCF is “To Connect People to Jesus.” Our first vision statement for helping to make that a reality is To Be Passionate Pursuers of Christ. I am firmly convinced that we cannot take people where we ourselves have not gone or are not attempting to go. If you go on an excursion-climb Mount Everest or backpack trails or whitewater raft the Colorado River-you want someone who has been there before. If not it spells disaster. I used to lead bicycling tours. Before every tour I would map out and mark the route, print maps, and familiarize myself with the route. I didn’t want to appear inept or ill-prepared and certainly didn’t want to get lost!  So let me challenge you: please take the time to bolster your faith by watching the live stream or listen to the podcast. It isn’t the same as being there, but it is a fair substitute. And let add this: if you ever have any questions on something I said or need further information, please feel free to contact me. I do whatever I can to accommodate your questions.

I’m going to be gone July 12th. Ryan is preaching for me. I was somewhat shocked when I looked at the preaching schedule and realized I had not missed a Sunday since September-one for our trip to Alaska and one for a wedding in Missouri. Yeah…it is time for me to take a back seat for a week and just listen.

It is good to have Ryan back in the office this week after being gone on a family vacation and a 15th anniversary backpack excursion he and Hope enjoyed. The three of us function well together. Besides, I think Diana tires of hearing me all the time and needs the diversion for her sanity. 🙂 Welcome back Ryan!

I’m going to close this missive now. Don’t stand and cheer. If you do, please don’t tell me. I love you all and look forward to seeing you.

Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 6/24/2020

MIDWEEK MESSAGE 14

Seriously? 14 weeks of my rambling? ‘Fraid so. But here I am again. Bothering your inbox with more of my midweek ramblings message.  I hope this finds you and your family doing well.

I’m going to start right out with a matter of great extreme importance. When I strike through great and put extreme then you have to know it is of the utmost importance. I’m not sure how long it will take to express this so please hang in there through it all with me. Here we go:

Our greatest desire has been to make sure you are safe. We have talked about that in our COVID plans from beginning to end. As we began reopening, we emphasized our desire to keep you safe. All the measures we have taken during our in person worship has been for that reason. We leave the doors open. We have you get your own bulletin and communion cup. We have a basket for you to leave your offering. We have asked you to stay away if you don’t feel safe or you are feeling sick. We have tried to put all the right protocols in place. We hope you have seen that.

It is with that safety in mind that we have come to a somewhat tough decision. We have decided to CANCEL the planned one service meeting at Abram Farm for July 19th. There were some people who not only expressed some concern about the one service, they especially were concerned about the pitch-in following. So to alleviate any concerns, we think it is best to cancel the whole day. Well…not the whole day. We will still have Sunday. And we will still have two services at the church building. 🙂 But I would rather err on the side of wisdom and being cautious than have a bunch of people possibly get sick as a result of our good intentions.  There will be another day somewhere down the line when we can meet together. Until then, we will continue doing the two services on Sunday as well as live-streaming on the church’s FB page, group and YouTube.

Speaking of the live-stream: it seems to be working out very well.  At this writing I do not know how many YouTube views there were since Ryan is the one who does that, but Diana said that two Sundays ago we had over 200 views.  Sure, there is a give or take in that since it doesn’t tell us how long they stayed but still! That means we are reaching people outside the church walls. And I am excited about that! If you are one who checks in at one of the live-streams, thanks.  I hope it is helping you stay somewhat connected to the church and also growing your faith.

One of the things I have heard is how some people in other churches have gone weeks, even months, and not heard any word from their church or staff. We have tried to communicate on a fairly regular basis with you by several different means. If there has been any one particular method that was meaningful to you, would you mind hitting Reply or Reply All and let us know? Diana is going to keep a record of your answers so the staff and leadership can evaluate how we are doing, what we may need to do better, and what we can do in the future. I know you are busy and/or may think we don’t really want to know, but we do. So please take a moment now (people tend to forget if they say, “I’ll take care of that later.”) to let us know your thoughts. If we can improve and you feel squeamish about sharing it with the whole group, then feel free to privately email me (pastor@ovcf.org) or Diana at (secretary@ovcf.org).  We value your opinion and appreciate any of your feedback.

I wrote in my Living in the Shadow blog that the big C church (the church as a whole) was under attack. I included a quote by G.K Chesterton: “Christianity has died many times and risen again; for it had a God who knew the way out of the grave.” The attacks on the big C church are hot and heavy right now. Speak up and we are accused of being homophobic, bigoted, opinionated, etc.  Stay silent are we are accused of prejudice, pride and lack of compassion. The small c (local church) is also under siege. The enemy would like nothing better than for us to implode. Jesus said Satan can’t destroy the church, but I’m convinced if he can get God’s people to focus on problems and minutia and gossip then he can win. Do your best to focus on the good and what God is doing. We are not perfect but we are trying to be like Jesus. It takes each one of us enduring and focusing on Jesus to further the cause of Christ. As has been said by many others: “You can either be part of the problem or part of the solution.”

Have a great rest of the week. I love you and look forward to connecting with you again in a more personal way. Who knows? Maybe I’ll see you Sunday.

 

Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 6/17/2020

MIDWEEK MESSAGE 13

Welcome to the middle of the week and, of course, that means you are the recipient of the highly anticipated, Spencer-renowned, Midweek Message.  I know you woke up on Wednesday with the most exciting thought ever: today is the day I received Pastor Bill’s Midweek Message. Then you went directly to your computer or phone to see if it has arrived yet. No? Well…you should. 🙂 Seriously, I do hope you and those you love are doing well and staying safe and healthy.

I must confess that I am writing this in spurts over several days. We found out midweek last week that Braden (our 13 y/o grandson) plays his first baseball game Tuesday, the 16th. When you get this it will already be over.  The 16th also happens to be mine and Jo’s 47th anniversary so I am going to take her to the game and plan to spend the night in Columbus, OH.  We will probably take him to IHOP for French toast (his favorite there) and then head home.  It’ll be a whirlwind trip but you make great “sacrifices” for your grandchildren. I’m suspecting every grandparent knows what I am talking about.  Some friends of ours were planning on taking me to a belated Christmas gift to Indy to see Jeff Allen, a Christian comedian. I asked if Jo could come along. 🙂  That was supposed to happen in April but “rona” happened. They rescheduled it for June 15th and well…”rona” is still around. So Texas Roadhouse it is instead. I can taste that salmon already and, as I write this part, it is Thursday. Man, I’ll have to deal with a lot of drool if I keep this up.

There is one factor which everyone has had to deal with during this “rona” thing. Churches. Businesses. Schools. Organizations. Families. Individuals. It is called Change. We try to avoid talk about change a lot in the church. You know the arguments raised: “We never did it that way before” (called the 7 last words of the church). “Why do we have to change? Why can’t we go back to what it was before ‘rona’?” Everyone is faced with change. Real change takes place slowly. It is like a car or truck in first gear. On trucks it is called “the creeper gear.” For obvious reasons. So many get discouraged and give up. Breaking habits or years of tradition is harder for some than others. Some people go kicking and screaming into a new year or decade on the calendar, let alone being asked to change their whole method of doing things.  For some reason, churches seem to have more difficulty changing than other entities. Being asked to change the way we do things is as painful for some as it was to get away from using the King James Version of the Bible. You’d a thought someone had asked them to chop off their head and commit high treason.

Truthfully, we have no option but to change.  A failure to change is a sure recipe for death. Church will no longer be “church as we knew it.” Just the fact we are doing online church, and will continue doing so, is a perfect example. Jo once asked me if I thought people would come back after the whole virus thing is passed. My honest answer was “I hope so but the reality is some will; some won’t. I have to accept that and move on. I will continue doing what I need to do-preaching, teaching, ministering the best I know how-no matter if they come in person or watch from home. It is a good option; I don’t think it is an adequate substitute for in-person church, but people watch online for various reasons. I will continue being their pastor and let them know I love them.” So if you are an online watcher, thanks for tuning in.  Since I don’t know who tunes in, if I can be a pastor to you, then please feel free to contact me.

I want to remind you again that we will continue slowly moving into full in-person services. We will continue using safety measures to help you feel comfortable when coming to the church building. Our first full expression will be July 19th at Abram Farm (unless Governor Holcomb directs otherwise). We will be starting at 10:00 and follow with a pitch in. Abram Farm is a beautiful facility and Bill & Suzie are most generous to us. You can sit outside to eat if you prefer. We will also have tables set up inside. We just look forward to seeing everyone in one place (if you feel comfortable joining us there).

I’d like to ask you to stop reading this for a moment and remember to pray for our law enforcement folks. A glance at the news (only a glance is worth it) shows they are under siege. I read recently that two bicycle companies have stopped selling bikes to cops. I want to scream out, “Get a life!” One is a French company and one has a factory in Wisconsin. I wonder…no better not go there. We have several in our church fellowship who are involved in law enforcement. Last week the church donated a bunch of cleaning and sanitizing supplies to the Sheriff’s department as our way of showing support. They put their life on the line every day for us. The least we can do is show them respect for doing their job.

As always, I have gone on long enough. Have a great week. See you this weekend!

Pastor Bill

 

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