Category: MidweekMessage

Midweek Message 11/04/2020

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #33

Good morning and welcome to MM #33!  I appreciate you taking some time from your busy day to cozy up and read this.

It sure is hard to believe Thanksgiving will be here in just a few weeks. Even amidst the year we have had time still seems to fly right on by us.  This came home to me even more as I have been working on sermons. I finished my two sermons involving Thanksgiving and have been working on my Christmas sermons.  Now, that will get you wired!  Christmas already?  Yep, in less than two months.  6 ½ weeks. 51 days. Sorry I don’t know the amount of hours, minutes and seconds. The math taxed my brain to figure out the weeks and days.  🙂  Anyway, time flies by us. I guess that is why one of my philosophies to enjoy life while I can. Make the best of it now. No, I’m not espousing my best life is now. I am saying that we need to live life fully and abundantly as Jesus said we could.  (John 10:10)

One of the “most fun” things I have done over the past couple of years is the Real Men Read program.  It was sponsored by the United Way in Bloomington. They asked for men to read to Kindergarten classes. Ryan was the first of us when he started reading to Cara King’s class at MCES.  He liked it so well I thought I would try it. I have been reading to Mrs. Lee’s class at SES for the past 3 years. The RMR program was suspended this year in Owen County (for some crazy virus thing) so I contacted Mrs. Lee about reading on my own. Tami, our daughter, is a Kindergarten teacher so she has plenty of books I can borrow and Mrs. Lee said that it sounded like a great idea. We have had to make some changes, like I had to read outside the first time. It has been cancelled several times for various reasons (one of them because it was raining) but today (Tuesday) I am scheduled to read. It has to be outside, which I am okay with. That may be sort of tough to do in the winter months though.  🙂  So I will enjoy it while I can.  Maybe I can do “Frosty the Snowman” one of those days!!  Given how cold it might be maybe I could find a book about Frosty and his popsicles. Okay…I can see you rolling your eyes as you read.  But then again, maybe I gave you a chuckle at my lame attempt at humor.

The past few weeks I have tried to focus on the youth area and highlight them some. This week I’d like to begin a couple of weeks focusing on some adults. During the pandemic when we were shut down, we were just one of many churches who were not ready for broadcasting our services. But that first Sunday, Tami took her iPhone and broadcast to our FB group. I heard I was like a bad Japanese movie- the audio and video were not in sync. Each week Tami worked hard at making it better and she succeeded. I was still like a bad Japanese movie. An actor I’m not. 🙂 Then someone donated money to buy some new equipment and the quality changed overnight. First, thanks to the person who made the donation! Second, I owe a big, huge shout out to Ryan for getting the equipment up and running! He was way out of his comfort zone when we started this. I can’t say enough about how Ryan persevered, wanted to give up, then kept going. Until…Joe Pavich stepped up to the plate. Man, Joe was a lifesaver. He saved Ryan’s sanity. And he saved a lot of headaches. Each week it improved. Joe trained Karen Turner to do the live stream and she now does the first service.  Austin, whom Ryan met while doing ministry at the high school, is now involved in helping with the second service. So my shout out this week goes to those involved in the streaming of our weekly services. Thanks Ryan, Joe, Karen and Austin!

One last thought: I mentioned earlier than I have been working on Christmas sermons. My theme is A Grand Production. (Every time I type that my fingers want to do “Grandi” instead of Grand. Why is that?) It hit me this morning how appropriate the Christmas message is. Today, Tuesday, is voting day.  I have no clue how it will turn out. Neither do you.  I would ask two things though: First, we all remain civil to each other even though we may disagree on our choices. Second, we pray for our country no matter the results. Only God can bring the spiritual revival which is needed. But what struck me as I worked on my sermon this morning was how relevant and how the Christmas message of “Peace on earth” is so desperately needed. And just think: we have the story to share.  There is no question our country is in an upheaval.  Hate speech. Mean acts. Vitriolic words. Cities burning. Peoples’ lives taken for granted.  I wrote a blog about what Jesus has done for E.VE.R.Y.O.N.E. because to Him All Lives Matter.  I based it on Romans 10: 9-17 where it uses the word “Everyone” twice and the word “All” once.  The love of Jesus is for all people-no matter their class, color, creed, political persuasion, lifestyle, status, job, or lot in life. He loves each one and offers His peace to all.  My prayer for you, for me, for our world, is to come to Jesus, the only One who can give the meaning to life so many crave.

Well, I’ll step off my soapbox and say thanks for reading.  I hope you have a great rest of the week. I say this seriously: I love you.

Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 10/28/2020

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #32

 

Good morning and welcome to Midweek Message #32. It sure has been an eventful time hasn’t it? Jo and I went to the Owen County Chamber of Commerce Annual “Banquet” that wasn’t a banquet at the Tivoli Monday night. This community sure is blessed with some super people. Aaron LaGrange was pictured as Wolverine (it was super hero night) and honored for his work with Backpack Buddies. In his short speech he mentioned those who are part of his “inner three” and one of them was our own Linda St. John.  Also, while Marce King was giving a very good overview of this past year, she talked about the Back to School Expo that was moved from the Middle School to the Fairgrounds. She recognized OVCF for its donation to the Chamber for the purchase of supplies.  In the past around 400 backpacks with school supplies were given away. This Expo gave away over 600+ packs! I was honored to help on that day but was really proud of the church when we were mentioned.  And to top off the evening I had the chance to meet one of Tami’s high school friends and a friend who represented Duke Energy. When they found out about Backpack Buddies, they presented Aaron a check for $2000 to help. That was a phenomenal gesture to benefit a program for 1 out of 5 kids in Owen County who would go without food on the weekends and school breaks.

 

Speaking of youth, I want to highlight a few.

  • First, I owe an apology to Hannah Pendleton. When I was praising the teachers and helpers in our youth area in last week’s MM, I did not know Hannah had helped the previous Sunday. So I humbly apologize and grovel for forgetting to mention Hannah. Is that good enough Hannah? 🙂 And no, she graciously said nothing. I told her mom ahead of time.
  • Second, did you know that every Sunday some of our teenagers lead the young people in worship? No? Well you should know that Gracie and Mollie Wainscott, Emily Wyatt, Micah Nally and Justin Chandler (runs the Power Point for them) do that. They come early on Sunday afternoons to practice before Roots and then early on Sunday mornings to set up. I love that our teens are involved in such a meaningful way. Thank you teens for leading the way!
  • Third, each week two ladies help at the check in desk. They may not be young people, but the fact they are helping in the youth area classifies them as such. (You can pay me later MJ and Kori). Mom and daughter make sure all the children and parents are taken care of every Sunday by checking them in and giving them their name tags. Some may not think it is important but not this guy! Nor Ryan! Nor any parent who has children entrusted to us on Sunday morning. Thank you MJ and Kori for being consistent and steady in your appearance and ministry.

 

I’d like to let you know of something which is developing. In the past we have offered a Thanksgiving meal at the Lion’s Club from 11-1:00 on Thanksgiving Day. Covid has changed a lot of things and one of those is the meal this year. We have decided to only offer delivery or curbside pick-up at OVCF this year. I will miss the personal interaction that we had with folks who came to eat lunch with us, but this is a good alternative for this crazy year. However, this may not happen at all. Unless someone steps up as a coordinator for the meal by Wednesday, November 3rd, we will have to cancel the meal. Jo, Tami and I will be in Ohio for Thanksgiving (Wednesday through Friday) so we will be unable to be involved on that day. We will be willing to help get you started and I will work with the person who steps up to be in charge of delivery. That really doesn’t leave much time but it can be done!! So if you are reading this and would be willing to oversee the meal, please let me know ASAP. We (Jo & I) plan to coordinate the Christmas breakfast so that meal is covered.

 

Operation Christmas Child is in full mode (more boxes are available). The church is donating money to Tri Kappa for their “Christmas Shopping for Kids” program. Christmas breakfast will happen (unless something alters that plan) and we plan to give bags of food to those who need them.

 

Here is some great news!  Our offering last week (Anniversary Sunday) was over $4800. We divided the money evenly between Operation Heal Our Patriots, Dottie’s Refuge (a local women’s ministry), and a clinic in Liberia, where Frog is working hard to get the clinic open. Thank you so much for being so generous.

 

This Sunday’s sermon is on “What about Searing Loss?”  I’d love to have you check in-either in person or online.  Until then, know you are loved.

 

Pastor Bill

 

 

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Midweek Message 10/21/2020

Midweek message #31

 

Good morning and welcome to a new MM.  I don’t know if you are still liking this or not, but I do want to thank you for allowing me to drop by into your inbox.  Even if I go into Junk Mail I guess that is better than being rejected completely.  I have a very fragile ego, you know. 🙂  Anyway, I do hope your week is going well. The weather sure has changed hasn’t it? Like almost overnight.  We sure needed the rain though and even though it put a crimp in my reading to Mrs. Lee’s Kindergarten class Monday (and my planned ride afterwards),  I was glad to hear that sound on the roof of my house and the church building.

 

Sunday was a big day for OVCF. We have been together as a church family for 16 years. It was a fun day. I was glad to have Wayne give an update on the Facts & Figures side of things, our Building Fund, and our Mission giving.  Hope and Sally talked about the Connections Women’s Ministry.  Dawn introduced the kickoff for Operation Christmas Child {Side note: most of the boxes were taken! That is fantastic so look for more to be available this week}.   Ryan gave us a great report about the youth program from pre-pandemic to now. Then I was excited to share what is happening in the future.  In case some of you are unable to watch the video due to computer issues or were unable to catch all the details, I hope you don’t mind a short recap from me.

  1. There will be no Fall Day of Service due to the safety and hesitation of some people. But we still want to serve our community. So we are offering the Thanksgiving lunch by delivery and curbside pick-up. (We promise we won’t try the Frisbee delivery system) 🙂  I still need a coordinator for that!
  2. We will do the same for the Christmas breakfast. Along with that we will offer bags of groceries to those picking up or accepting delivery.
  3. We will not be doing the Giving Tree this year but will, instead, be giving money to Tri Kappa to help with their “Christmas Shopping for Kids” project this year. They buy for children whose names have been given to them through the school. There are various reasons for our actions this year, but at least for this year we will be partnering with a local organization to make Christmas special for children in need.
  4. The Building Team meet on 10/12, the first time since the pandemic shut things down. We are exploring options for adding space and will be brainstorming some on 11/9. Your prayers would be much appreciated.

 

My comments Sunday were all focused around two intangibles:

  • Our Mission: To Connect People to Jesus
  • Our Vision:
  • Be passionate pursuers of Jesus
  • Be models of truth and love
  • Be involved in our community

 

Then I made this statement and our whole morning showed this to be true:

 

“IF YOU CAN EXPLAIN WHAT’S GOING ON, GOD DIDN’T DO IT”

 

There is no logical explanation for how OVCF has come through and thrived as we have navigated our way through this crisis which has gripped us all and affected each of us in some way. The only explanation I have can be found in Ephesians 3: 20-21:  “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think {My addition: “or imagine”}, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever, Amen.”

 

If you would like to get a better picture of what all was said yesterday by everyone, I’d like to encourage you to check out the church’s FB page or YouTube channel.  Oh, and don’t be overwhelmed by the time stamp on the YouTube video. They combined both services into one video. Yikes! A three hour service!! Double yikes!! I’ve been accused of liking to talk but that is sort of much. Anyway, you can slide the button on YouTube and catch either the first or the second service.

 

I’d like to give a big shout-out to the adults and their helpers who have been teaching the youth during our 10:45 service since we opened that area one month ago.  A huge shout-out to Jasmine St. John and Stacy Wood for teaching the pre-school age. Kaedence Beckwith has also been a helper. JuliAnne Wiegand and Erin Pendleton have been teaching the Elementary class Age 6 through Grade 3. Their helper was Gracie Wainscott.  Terrie MacMorran and Steve Pendleton have taught the Elementary students Grades 4-6. Helpers have been Cooper and Cammie King.  What a tremendous blessing they have been so a great big Yip-yip goes out for them!

 

I’ve come to the end of my page limit for the MM. I have enough room to tell you that I love you all and to have a great rest of the week!

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Midweek Message 10/14/2020

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #30

 

Well, good morning!  Welcome to MM #30!!  You may be wondering how in the world I can find things to say and keep this going.  If you think that then you don’t know me! 🙂 Jo says I have no trouble not saying things or finding things to comment on. And she thinks she knows me. *shoulder shrug*.  Anyway, I have some really important things to share with you this week so I hope you will hang in there with me to the end.

 

I am totally stoked about this Sunday. It is OVCF’s 16th Anniversary as a church family. A lot has happened since 2004. I’m sure those who are still here from its beginning would concur. But this Anniversary will be different than years past. In past years we have tried to view it as a celebration followed by a pitch-in. The latter is a no-go due to current circumstances, but I also have decided to take a different approach for the morning.  In the past it has usually been Ryan and me tag-teaming the morning and talking about our Mission and Vision. But Covid has changed a lot of things, one of which is the church scene.  So with the title of “What about OVCF?” I decided to do more of a State of the Church Address. Where does OVCF stand currently? What are some of our plans? How has God blessed us? What are the plans for the Connections Women’s Ministry program? What about Operation Christmas Child this year? What are the young people doing and how is the youth program going? Obviously, I am not able to answer all those questions so I have enlisted help. So you are actually going to hear from several different people during the morning. (And they have promised me to stay in the 3-5 minute range. J But you can put those stopwatches away).

 

My thoughts will be centered on the phrase I mentioned to you in MM #27: “If you can explain what’s going on, God didn’t do it.” I’m excited for what God has on the horizon for us. Obviously, I have no idea what that is. But I want to be prepared for it as best as possible.  Here’s the kicker: while we can wait and pray and pray and wait for God to do His work, it is also important for us to put forth some effort. So I’m going to use my time to present (in short order) some church growth strategies that cost zero dollars. ZERO dollars!!  Believe it or not there is such an “animal” and I can’t wait to share them with you.

 

There are also some things we will be doing which benefit our community.  B-u-u-u-u-u-t you will have to wait for Sunday to hear what one of those ideas is.  But here is another:  Let me preface it with this. Every week Sarah Hicks, one of the administrative assistants from the Owen County Chamber of Commerce (OCCC), takes this MM and posts it on the Chamber website. I did not ask her to do that; she volunteered from the very beginning. So I’d like to turn it around for a moment.  The OCCC of which I am a board member works hard for the Spencer community and Owen County. Covid has taken a bite out of several ideas but they have worked hard to get around them. For example: the Back to School Expo was always held at the Middle School. This year it was held at the OC Fairgrounds and was a rousing success with over 600 backpacks filled with school supplies given away (and OVCF donated money for supplies). The Chamber is all about Owen County.  Every October an annual banquet is held where the participants have a ton of fun but also honor some local heroes. The banquet also offers a silent auction, but that is not possible this year. In fact, the banquet is at the Tivoli and limited to 150 patrons. So to make up for the lack of a silent auction, they are sponsoring a Super Hero 5K from October 1st -November 20th.  You sign up and then you have the time between those two dates to complete walking, running or biking your 5K.  For more info or to register online go to myowencounty.chamber.com.

 

Monday night, the 12th, the Building Team met. I have some exciting news to share with you at the anniversary. So does Wayne, one of our elders. You WILL NOT want to miss his presentation for sure! I think you will be humbled by God’s goodness to us, just as I have been.

 

Finally, an FYI for you: I will finish my Q & A series on November 22.  I’ll then begin a series focused on the Christmas story. Amazing isn’t it? Christmas is in about 2 months!! Due to the strange year we have had it sure seems like just yesterday we were celebrating Christmas. Then again…maybe you feel like it has been forever.  I will begin 2021 (please hurry up and get here so we can shut the door on 2020) with a series on Ecclesiastes I’m calling Life Matters. Following that I’m preparing to preach a series from the Gospel of Mark.  But as they say in commercials: the Mark series is subject to change. 🙂

 

Thanks for taking the time to read this MM. I seriously appreciate you doing that. I hope it keeps you up-to-date. I’ll look forward to seeing you this week-in person or online.  Never forget: you are loved more than you know.

 

Pastor Bill

 

 

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Midweek Message 10/04/2020

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #29

 

Hi there my friends! Welcome to MM #29. Diana will be out of the office for a few days as she and Jim celebrate their anniversary so I thought I would work to get this to you sooner. She and I had several conversations this past week about our (all three of us) work during the pandemic and how instead of it “ticking down” our work actually “ramped up.” That is not bragging nor meant to be taken as though we are looking for pats on the back, but all three of us continued doing what we always did with a little more added on. We kept our regularly scheduled office hours and then some. Again, that is not so we can be patted on the back. We did what we all felt needed to be done to keep you (the church) updated and informed. It led to the three of us reacting differently to the daily pressure the virus brought. She is taking a well-deserved vacation away from me and Ryan. 🙂

 

The next week, the 12th to the 14th Ryan will be taking a few days for some family time. Ryan gets a break from me and Diana. Hmmm. The common denominator for taking a break from someone is…Me. Do you think they are trying to say something? 🙂

 

Sunday, the 18th, is OVCF’s 16th anniversary. It most certainly will be different from previous anniversaries due to the restrictions still in place but that does not mean we cannot find a silver lining in the day. We will be having two services due to space limitations instead of one service (which we like to do on that day). We will not be having a pitch-in meal. That is a real bummer since I like those!! LOL I’ve titled my sermon “What about OVCF?” and plan to bring you up to date on how we weathered the past 8 months. Diana has done a great job of helping me out with attendance and offering figures so I can share an accurate report.  I also have planned several other items which are still in the works. Keep in mind our offering that day will be given away. More next week. I look forward to seeing you there.

 

I waited until the end to share something with you that is on my heart.  I’d like to share a personal story with you then make an application. When I was at a church as their pastor it came time for me to leave. Jo’s father had died and I knew she wanted to be closer to her mom. I told her I would start looking. Unfortunately, nothing opened up. I was unhappy being “forced” into more of a CEO role in the church. I was and am a pastor-a shepherd-not a CEO.  (Thankfully, that movement has largely died out except for those who are of the megachurch variety). But a movement was underfoot that would eventually terminate my ministry there. I resigned at the suggestion of a very dear friend. I reacted pretty well at first but when the questions started, I didn’t react very well at all. I particularly blamed one man. As time moved on I did not know Tami, my oldest, was affected the way she was until she told me and I helped her write a letter asking forgiveness from this man for the way she felt. His reaction was the opposite of what I thought was good and I left there with some very strong animosity. But living elsewhere afforded me the chance to remove myself from people who fed that and also gave me time to heal. Part of that healing was sending a letter to him apologizing for my actions and thoughts. He never responded back but I was free-from my own prison and free from wishing ill-will on him.

 

The Bible is very clear on what should be our response to our enemies or people we don’t care for. “Pray for them” is what Jesus said and modeled. “Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing,” were His words on the cross. It blows we away the vitriol and hate-speech from those who supposedly are open-minded and “loving people.” When RBG died I did not cheer. When the atheist, Stephen Hawking died, I did not cheer. In the case of the former, I prayed for her family to be comforted, because I knew as a Jew she did not accept Jesus as the Messiah, the One whom she would be standing before. I could not cheer. I could not cheer the death of an atheist who would be standing before the God whom he said did not exist. It really does not matter to me what you think of President Trump, but to cheer his and Melania’s Covid diagnosis is beyond decent. To hope he dies as some have tweeted (even using the “f” word) is simply beyond the pale of common sense and decency. (BTW: where is FB & Twitter when stuff like that is said?) Politics aside, I don’t wish anyone I know or don’t know or disagree with to get this disease. Instead of rejoicing in the news, why not pray for the man and his family? He does have a son you know?  I don’t agree with homosexuality but I certainly don’t hope someone catches AIDS. That is ridiculous! It is high time we stop shooting arrows of hate and start shooting arrows of respect, decency, and love.

 

As followers of Christ we need to be different. We need to follow our Savior’s example. Be an answer; not a problem.  Point people to Jesus, the One who is the solution. I love you all.  Have a great week.

 

Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 9/30/2020

MIDWEEK MESSAGE 28

 

Hello my friends! Welcome to MM #28!  As I have said in the past, I’m not sure how long I will keep doing the MM so each one is worth saving. They may soon be very valuable as a collectible to be used in the future. You know…as a place to put dirty boots or shoes; line a bird cage; teach children how to make paper airplanes; you know…important stuff. 🙂 I know. You are thinking “it is too early in the day to deal with Bill’s sense of humor (weird).”  Anyway, when you read this I do hope you are having a great day.

 

I’ve been reading a book on leadership called The Uniform of Leadership by Jason Romano. Jason worked at ESPN for almost 2 decades so he is very familiar with the world of sports. Jason uses the uniform a player wears as his illustration and beginning point. In one chapter called “Lead Like Tami,” he writes of an employee at ESPN who worked in the cafeteria. After her first initial introduction to Jason, she knew his name, and over time asked about his wife and daughter, both of whom she knew by name. But it wasn’t Jason alone, it was the whole world of ESPN. She knew and welcomed everyone with a smile and a genuine question of interest. Not a “How are you?” and then move on to another person. Jason said she made you feel important and like you were the only one there at that time. She smiled and greeted everyone similarly, even through a bout with cancer. When she moved on after 18 years, her going away memorabilia banner was like no other. Totally full with hardly a space to write another word. Jason writes that three things epitomized Tami’s leadership: positivity, a servant’s heart, and investment in others. (p.58)

 

I had to stop and ask myself a tough question-one that I will ask you as well: If narrowed down to how you influenced others, what would people say? Asked another way: how will people remember you? As a grouch? A troublemaker? A contrary person? A rebel? A complainer? (or some other adjective). Or will they remember you for your positivity? Your servant’s heart? Or your investment in others?

 

Okay, now on to other things. We had our first week of youth church this past Sunday since March. It was so good to see so many young people back. I do believe some of them have most certainly grown taller since the last time I saw them. Sheesh!  I believe Ryan was pleased with the turnout (a little over 20 with both youth and adults). I honestly feel it will continue to grow each week as word gets around and parents know we are doing our best to keep safety as a high priority. My benefit was seeing some of the parents back as well.  And I absolutely love that!! Meanwhile, the service is still being live streamed and will continue into the future.  Of course, that means some of you will still be missing my joyful presence and laughter-filled demeanor. Sad…so deprived.  🙂

 

We have some coming events I’d like you to be aware of and put on your calendar.

  • In the middle of October we will be starting Operation Christmas Child. With the upheaval of the past 8 months or so, the hardest hit has probably been children. Many have seen their worlds rocked with uncertainty. This is one small way to help.
  • We have not given up our dream of more space. We simply put it on hold for a while. Now that we are back meeting and find ourselves tight because of limited seating, the need for space is back on the front burner. The Building Team will be having a meeting on October 12th to get back in the game.
  • October 18th will be our 16th anniversary as a church family. I am planning on some different things that morning during the message time. It will definitely be a different kind of anniversary than we have had in the past. Unfortunately, we will not be able to meet as one that morning. We will still have two services-9:00 and 10:45. But someday….

 

I want to end this MM with some prayer requests for you to keep in mind. They are not listed in order of importance nor with great detail.

  1. Addi Hutchison- she is recovering from surgery this past Friday. Addi is the 3 y/o daughter of Caleb and Amanda.
  2. Mike Basey- left hip replacement on Wednesday, the 30th.
  3. Ryan’s stepmother, Ginger, had back surgery Monday, and his stepfather, Rusty Turner, had another stress test Tuesday. Pray for healing and wisdom in both cases.
  4. Whitley White & family on the loss of her unborn daughter last Thursday. They named her Alaina Marie. Pray for God’s comfort and presence to be real for them.
  5. For OVCF. That God would direct us and we will follow.

 

Have a great rest of the week. Love you guys and look forward to seeing you whenever possible.

 

Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 9/23/2020

MIDWEEK MESSAGE 27

 

Hi everyone!  Welcome to MM #27. I hope this touch of Fall weather finds you comfortable and relaxed and (for some of you) drinking hot chocolate and dreaming of snuggling up with a fire and a good book.  Then there are some, like me, who are already dreaming of next Spring. 🙂 I couldn’t believe it the other morning. It was in the 40s when I walked out my front door, and this past Sunday morning Ryan saw some frost on the tips of the grass here at the church property. He said the sun was shining at just the right angle for him to see it. I’d say I want to go back to when it was warm but I’m pretty sure I would be the only one who would say, “Take me back.” I don’t know of anyone who would want to repeat the summer of 2020.  Oh well, it is what it is. I just hope you are having a great week so far.

 

This past week I finished reading a book called Jesus Revolution by Greg Laurie and Ellen Vaughn. It was a fantastic book on the early days of the Jesus Movement/Jesus People (JM/JP) from the mid ‘60s to the early days of the ‘70s. It was primarily Pastor Greg’s involvement in the JM and how he came to Christ and was used by God to have the ministry he does today. Several thoughts stood out as I read it. I didn’t do my usual highlighting of sentences, primarily because I didn’t know what to expect, and because I was so captured by it that I wanted to read uninterrupted. One quote stood out to me, one that I would love to adopt for OVCF: “If you can explain what’s going on, God didn’t do it.”  There is a long backstory to that quote which I don’t have the time or the space to go into right now (maybe in a sermon), but suffice it to say that the quote is dead on. I’m reminded of Paul’s words in Ephesians 3:20-21: “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”  I honestly believe OVCF is poised to see some of its best days ahead. And I believe it will be far more than we ever imagined.

 

This Sunday we open our children’s department at the 10:45 service! Ryan is stoked, as are the teachers who will greet and teach your children. Okay…okay… some of you parents are also ecstatic. Let me assure you that every health precaution has been taken into consideration and we will do our best to make it a safe and healthy experience for all children. I know Jo has gone to great lengths to make the Pre-school classroom as safe and healthy as possible. Please feel free to ask her. We are also doing that so mom and dad can rest easily. 🙂 We want you to worship with the adults and know your child will be safe.

 

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t excited about Sunday. I know some of you have said you will be back when the children’s department opens again. I expect all 200 of you here this week. Okay…so I can dream can’t I?  🙂  I honestly do look forward to seeing many of you Sunday. Phones, cards, driveway visits can only do so much. They most definitely are not a substitute for seeing you in person and giving you a hug (if you want one).

 

We are limited in our space and with no overflow due to the children’s programs, the same thing still goes: if you are uncomfortable or don’t feel safe, please don’t feel obligated to come. We will still be doing the live stream. Due to the ongoing need for people to help with doing the live stream, we will be live streaming the first service for sure at 9:00, but Joe Pavich is investigating being able to save it for 10:45. We will let you know. However, you can alleviate that if you would consider volunteering to do the live stream. You will be trained on how to do that. We are also looking into better equipment for the live stream since we anticipate having to move the camera out of the aisle.

 

One last thing…a very serious thing…not joking. Would you please say a prayer for Alexander Chambers? I was texting with Christine (his mom) after she thanked me for the live stream and I asked her how the kiddos were doing. She said Alexander is having some circulation issues. He wakes up and his fingertips, lips and toes are bluish-colored. Would you please say a prayer for Alexander, as well as Jimmy and Christine? I am still convinced God is going to use that young man in a powerful way some day.  Thanks from them and me.

 

I hope you have a great rest of the week. I love you and look forward to seeing you if possible.  If you have any questions about what is going on, please feel free to contact the church office (812.828.9840). We will do our best to answer your question(s).

 

Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 9/16/2020

MIDWEEK MESSAGE 26

Happy middle of the week to all of you! It sure has been a beautiful week so far. Crisp early mornings. Warm and comfortable afternoons. It is hard to believe that my calendar says next Tuesday is the first official day of Fall. I definitely have mixed emotions on that. I see my cycling weather coming closer and closer to a close and cooler weather (can anyone say winter?) just around the corner. But let’s enjoy the couple of months we have ahead of us and not even worry about winter.  However, we could use a little bit of rain.

Before I go into some “details” I’d like mention, I thought I would share something I read this week (again) as I was studying for a sermon. My sermon is the one scheduled for October 4th entitled “What about Doubt?”  If you have been reading these Midweek Messages you might remember me mentioning to you about a fantastic book I read called I’ve Seen the End of You by Dr. Lee Warren. Dr. Warren is a brain neurosurgeon who specializes in GBM (Glioblastoma). He has been a combat surgeon in Iraq and is now living and practicing in North Platte, NE. His book is a phenomenal read subtitled “A Neurosurgeon’s Look at Faith, Doubt, and the Things We Think We Know.” As I was using the book for research on the sermon I ran across a quote that really jarred me. To put it into context, Dr. Warren had lost a patient to GBM while operating and then was unable to save a baby who had been shaken so badly his brain was severely damaged (and they also found other abuse). He was sitting in the hospital chapel really angry and frustrated at God and at his own inability to save those people. The chaplain, who had also lost 2 children of his own, shared something with Dr. Warren which included this quote: “The remarkable thing about fearing God is that when you fear God you fear nothing else, whereas if you do not fear God you fear everything else.” (Oswald Chambers, p. 152)

Fearing God is not being afraid of God. It is better understood as reverence.  The chaplain’s explanation to Dr. Warren was this (using the example of a father and his son): “God is so big and powerful and mighty and dangerous and righteous that He’s kind of terrifying. But He’s also good. He promises that everything that happens is redeemable, that He can use it to make us more like Jesus.” (p. 152) There are lot of things happening in our world that can terrify us if we allow them to. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out. But we don’t have to give into despair or fear. Keep your eyes on the Father not on the news headlines. Okay…off my soapbox. Or is that step out from behind the pulpit? 🙂

The big item I’d like you to be aware of is our upcoming Youth Relaunch. It is actually coming in several phases.

  • This coming Sunday evening ROOTS, the Jr/Sr High youth group will begin meeting for the first time since Covid hit. It will be from 5-7:00 here at the church building.
  • Phase #1- Sunday, the 27th, is the relaunch of the Sunday morning children’s programs at 10:45. Ryan sent out a survey to all the teachers, as well as one to all the parents, and was able to analyze it and see there were many parents who said their children would come. All the areas of the children’s worship will be in operation, except a staffed nursery for now. When Gov. Holcomb says, “Stage 5” that will give us the go-ahead to open that. But besides that, all systems are “Go” for a reopening.
  • Phase #2- 3 weeks after that “Go” from Governor Holcomb and he lifts the mask mandate, nursery and all classes will return to normal.

 

I gotta tell you this though! I am so excited for this to be happening. I am aware of what the pundits say: “Things will never get back to what they were. Get used to a new normal.” And you know, I agree. But I’m okay with that. There are some things that can go the way of the dodo bird and that suits me just fine. But I have to admit that I sure miss seeing many of you. There are, of course, some who have slowly made their way back. And I’m sure there still will be. But I am so stoked to see you. I will have to guard against being “down” if people don’t come back like I hope.

All of this will require a change in the Live Stream. We will not have the overflow room for Live Stream in the second service because that room will be in use. If you are concerned about the crowd or proximity to people I encourage you to try the first service (9:00). Not only is the crowd generally thinner, but we will also have access to the overflow room if needed.

Have a great rest of the week.

Pastor Bill

 

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Midweek Message 9/09/2020

MIDWEEK MESSAGE 25

 

Good middle of the week my friends! I am writing the beginning of this MM on Monday morning so I can honestly say, “I hope you have a wonderful Labor Day!” Perhaps more appropriately I can say, “I hope you had a wonderful Labor Day.” I sincerely hope you took the time to consider how blessed we are and that we live in this great country-flaws and all.

As I wrote the heading to this week’s MM, I typed the number “25.” It is hard for me to believe I have been writing this for that long and this whole mess has been going on that long. I just hope you enjoy reading it and hearing how things are going in our/my neck of the woods. Hmmm. Since I live in town I’m going to have to find another way to say that. I don’t have any woods…or trees for that matter. Some of you know that I write a daily devotion blog at http://livingintheshadow.ovcf.org/ where I have a couple of daily readers. I think there are more but they don’t leave comments so who knows? 🙂  If you would like to know what I think on a more daily basis {Caution: proceed carefully} please check it out. I’d be honored if you would come by. Come to think of it I’m not ever sure my own family reads it. But I know where they live and sleep!!

Top on the agenda is to remind you of our Volunteer Appreciation Night at the Tivoli this Sunday night. For the past oh-so-many-years (that is Grandi-speak for I don’t know) the three of us on staff (Diana, Ryan and me) have been treating you to a night of thanks for your volunteer service to the church. We started out at the church building with a catered meal and a prepared program of laughter and speeches, but then we decided to switch it up and go to the Tivoli. It was a great success so we have continued doing that. This will be the third year.  We provide a free popcorn and drink for you (anything extra is your responsibility) plus we have a ton of door prizes we have drawings for. We ask that you plan to arrive at 5 and we plan to start the movie no later than 5:45. We will be showing Incredibles 2, a movie the whole family can enjoy. Just a heads up: we will have to observe the Tivoli protocol of wearing a mask when we enter and when getting refreshments. You don’t have to wear them when sitting down.

*Note from Diana:  Bill, Jo and Tami did not RSVP but we will let them attend anyway! J  We are looking forward to seeing you all!

In case you were not here or online Sunday, Ryan announced the plan to restart the Sunday morning youth programs on September 27th.  He has consulted the teachers and helpers for their thoughts and they have put together a plan for getting things started again. Many of you parents were good about responding to his questionnaire and expressed your desire for the youth classes to restart. Thanks so much for making your thoughts known. I am excited to see things open up some and will be super excited to see many of you.

The only caveat to that is the Nursery will be open for you to bring your nursery-aged children to but it will not be staffed…at least not until Governor Holcomb says we are in Stage 5.  Ryan is taking some of the toys out and is asking you to bring some of your own for your children so there will be no “sharing of slobber.”  i.e. We can keep things disinfected and not share germs!  J

If you have any questions about any of the youth program restarting, please harass ask Ryan.  Thanks to all the teachers and helpers who will help make this a doable option for our kids.

I understand from Tami that the Live Stream is not going to the church’s FB group (the private one). But she also tells me that someone has been sharing a link for it from our group page (Thanks Christine!). I’m sure you know this already but the Live Stream goes to the church’s FB page and also to YouTube automatically. You can watch it there. Tami says she is going to go and check out (again) why it is not being streamed to the private group. Meanwhile, please keep signing in for us. And thanks for letting us know about what was happening this past week. We have no way of knowing if something is awry unless you tell us. I understand we finally got it fixed. Ryan found some settings off. Unfortunately, Ryan had to leave playing drums during our music set to fix things. It would be great if he didn’t have to worry about that. If you would like to learn how to do the Live Stream we could certainly use your help.

Here is what is coming up in the sermon department for the next few weeks in the series Q & A. This week’s will be “What about Stones?” After that will be “What about Words?” “What about Storms?” “What about Doubt?” “What about Anger?”

One more thing you can be thinking about: Did you know OVCF will be celebrating our 16th anniversary on October 18th? More to come.

Just know I love you and look forward to seeing you.

Pastor Bill

 

 

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Midweek Message 9/02/2020

MIDWEEK MESSAGE 24       

 

Good middle of the week to all of you! I hope this week is not treating you too badly.  We have all had those nights when we don’t sleep that well. I went to bed the normal time and slept pretty solid…until about 12 or so. I thought I had been asleep forever and woke up so wide awake I thought it was surely time to get up. But I was mistaken so rather than bother Jo with my tossing and turning I went to my recliner in my “cave.”  I did doze off but about 2:00 I woke up and thought surely it was time to get up.  Well, it wasn’t but my mind wouldn’t shut down so I just went ahead and got up. I’ve always believed that if that happens God must have a reason for me to be up. I mean, it has to be more than me dozing off in my chair in the office and Diana catching me! Right?  So…there was. Several reasons actually.

Reason #1. Sermons. Future sermons. Sermons for the end of September/first 2 weeks of October. Already started. Preliminary work done. Outline done. “Hey Bill! You are not going to preach those.” “Say what God?” “That’s right. No can do.” “Seriously?” So I came to the office early and scuttled the three sermons (I’ll save all the material for another time) and worked on moving what I had planned for the last week of October/first two weeks of November to this new slot. I want to believe God smiled because that first one flowed together as if I had been working on it for weeks. Case in point: I’m working on this now instead of later. (Besides, I may be napping a little later but please don’t tell Diana! She is a terrible taskmaster “waker-upper.”  🙂

Reason #2. This is even far more personal, in that I’m giving you a look inside my head (which can be scary or echo-ey), I mean my heart. This morning (Tuesday) during my Quiet Time I was reading in I Thess. 2. Beginning in verse 3 Paul wrote: “For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our heart. For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed-God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others…But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.” (Verses 3-8)

I started thinking about me…and you. I couldn’t help it. Then the questions started flowing through my brain. It was all I could do to move on in my QT and read and journal. I began to reflect on the almost 15 complete years (November) I have been the pastor of OVCF. I am not naïve enough to believe I have not slipped up or said something I shouldn’t have or made an ill-advised comment. I most certainly have been misunderstood (as have we all).  I have been maligned (as have we all). I have been accused of saying something that anyone who knows me knows that would not have come from my mouth (as have we all). But the one thing I know which can’t be said is that I ran or tried to run rough-shod over you. It says in Psalm 78:72 that “David shepherded his people with an upright heart (integrity) and guided them with a skillful hand.”  When my days are done here or on earth, I pray those words can be spoken about me, that the imagery Paul uses of a mother and a father who care for their children in I Thess. 2 will be said about me. I do love each of you (even if you don’t want it) and still look forward to seeing many of you in person soon. 🙂

Speaking of that…expect an announcement soon from Ryan about the Sunday morning youth program. I’m not going to steal his thunder because that is “his baby.” The Sunday night youth program (ROOTS) will be starting up soon as well.

Route 66 (a two-year study through the 66 books of the Bible) will start September 15th. It isn’t too late to sign up. And here is something new: there is a possibility for the class to meet during an afternoon (Tuesday or Wednesday). Would that be more to your liking rather than getting out on Tuesday night at 7? If so, let me know. I’ve had 2 express night driving is out for them and another with a conflict on Tuesday night. Let me know if you are interested.

I start a new series this Sunday that I’m calling Q & A.  Each sermon has a question for the title. What about Work? What about Stones? What about Words? What about Storms? What about Doubt? What about Anger? Those are the first six. I have the others but due to the shifting around I alluded to earlier, I am still working on the order. I’ll keep you up to date.

Well, thanks for putting up with me listening to me again this week.  I hope this MM has been a blessing to you and an encouragement. Have a great rest of the week. Know you are thought of, prayed for, and missed.

Pastor Bill

 

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