MIDWEEK MESSAGE #44
Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #44. I hope your week is going well. After going almost all of December and January with barely a hint of snow and winter weather, we have gotten some lately. We can always look on the bright side and say we have not received the snow and blizzard-like conditions some folks have and did this weekend. Whew! I sure am glad I’m not in the Northeast right about now. I have a friend in Arizona and one is Florida [yes I have friends 🙂 ] who are sorta rubbing it in right now. I told them I don’t want to speak to them. We have one family who used to attend OVCF then moved to Florida to live and work and I asked him when he is moving back. He had the nerve to ask me, “Does it still snow in Indiana?” As if that should be a deciding factor!! 🙂 Above all though I hope you are staying warm and healthy.
These are interesting times we are living in. Not just the pandemic. Not just politically. Not even religiously (there is a lot of whacky stuff going on). We live in an age of unprecedented fear, anxiety and questions. I wrote in my Living in the Shadow blog (Here’s a shameless promotion: have you been reading it? Did you know you can sign up to get it in your inbox?) about reading an article last week about the Top 10 songs people turned to during the pandemic. Some I was unfamiliar with due to who sang or wrote them. But there were some which were a pleasant surprise. One was It is Well With My Soul. I saw multiple versions that were sung by many groups all over the world…by Zoom. Another was Great is Thy Faithfulness-my favorite hymn. That would be the one I want sung at my memorial service. Another is No Longer Slaves. With lyrics like “I’m no longer a slave to fear/I am a child of God” it is no wonder. Isn’t it interesting that two hymns were the “go to” songs of a generation far removed from hymns? Tragically, so many people are living in fear-not just of Covid but of life itself-and are missing out on the peace and joy Jesus offers. I heard just yesterday of someone paralyzed by fear of the future. There is one lesson (among many) I have learned over the past year as the church has sought to do the right thing and watched God come through in big ways. One lesson: God is always faithful. Always. I once heard someone say, “If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.” Nowhere in the Bible do I see God bringing us to the fire, the water, a pandemic or whatever and then saying, “You are now on your own. Good luck with that.” Nope. My Bible tells me God is a rock, a refuge, a shelter in the time of storm. It also tells me that He will never leave me or forsake me. I choose to take Him at His Word. I hope you will and do. If not, now is a great time to start. Just pray a simple prayer of “Father, I’ve done a lousy job of trying to run my own life. I’m tired of living in fear and dread. Help me to live in the light of Your presence. Help me to turn all my affairs over to You.”
The month of February has been designated New Beginnings Pregnancy Resource Center (NBPRC) month. We were just going to announce the diaper drive but as the staff was talking and then as I evaluated my sermon on “Life is Sacred” from three weeks ago, we all felt it would be a good thing to focus on NBPRC this month. They are in need of diapers size 4 & up; pull ups (all sizes); and baby wipes. You can bring them here and we will make sure they get to NBPRC. Their hours are varied and also go along with the school system schedule (schools are closed, so are they). It may be easier for you to bring the supplies here to the church building.
Just a reminder to you: your elders are praying for you every day! I have said it before and will say it again that I am so honored to be serving with men who love Jesus and love you. The fact that they would take time each day to pray for you and your family should speak volumes to you as well. May I ask you to do something? How about letting them know how much you appreciate their prayers. A word. A note. A text. A phone call. They will be encouraged by your heart.
I leave you with three sayings I have kept under my blotter for a few months:
- Jesus doesn’t collapse when your life does.
- God doesn’t run away from runaways.
- You can make excuses or you can make progress but you can’t make both.
I love you all. Thanks for praying for me.
P.S. We’d like to ask you to consider supporting Hilltop Christian Camp through the Polar Plunge.
POLAR PLUNGE INFO…
This year’s Polar Plunge is VIRTUAL, and we have the option to do it as a group. Eight brave, OVCF souls are rising to the challenge to do the Plunge this year together as a group. We have set a goal of $750 toward Hilltop’s 75th Anniversary Fund which will pay for the new zip line at Camp. You can contribute until Feb 14th directly to Ryan as cash/check (please make payable to Hilltop Christian Camp) or on the camp’s website: https://hilltopchristiancamp.com/donate (Click “Donate Directly”, then “designated” and in the comments type: “OVCF Polar Plunge Team”)
P.S. If you have questions, please contact Ryan (firstname.lastname@example.org). Thank you!!