Category: OVCF News

Midweek Message 04/07/2021

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #53

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great week. I love you all.

Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 04/07/2021

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #52

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pastor Bill

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Volunteers Needed for Grounds Upkeep

If you’d like to volunteer to help with upkeep of the OVCF grounds, please sign up. We supply the mower & fuel.  We have a trimmer & leaf blower as well!  Thank you

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April Mission Focus – Supplies for Hilltop Camp

Please pick up a wish list & return donations to OVCF on Sundays!

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Midweek Message 04/01/2021

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #51

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Pastor Bill

 

 

 

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Coffee and Chocolate

Ladies, please join us for a Connections Women’s event!

Coffee & Chocolate

Saturday, April 24 from 2-4 PM at OVCF

Please bring a chocolate-type dessert to share!

Questions? Sally (812-821-4792) or Hope (812-585-1693)

 

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Midweek Message 03/24/2021

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #50

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 03/17/2021

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #49

Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #49. Thanks for letting me into your inbox this way and taking the time to read the MM. Just when I think it might be time to hang up my pen computer, I have people email or text me that they really appreciate hearing from me this way.  I have a story to tell you so I’m going to get right to it. I am actually setting aside working on a sermon this morning in order to write this while it is still fresh in my brain. (It gets scary if I wait). My story is actually a dream I had last night (Monday).

I woke up in a sweat. My t-shirt and pillow drenched. This was different than other nights. It wasn’t the temp that woke me. The dream was vivid, almost real.  I am writing it down as I remember it, as I sat in my chair and relived it after getting out of bed at 1:00 this morning. Here is my dream:

I was the age I am now and the pastor of a church. A small church like this one. I was out of the room at the time but they were enjoying a pitch in meal. There were, I’m guessing, close to 100 people there. Included in that number were about 5-6 from a previous church where I was dismissed under a cloud. The previous church was making changes. It was reaching people who were not “their type.” Suddenly the long-time members were not comfortable with the piercings, and the gauges, and the grunge-look, and the “perverts” who were finding love and acceptance in the Gospel. A bottle of booze was found in a drawer in my desk and business cards of a “working girl” and a questionable masseuse were found among my other cards. False accusations flew until Jo and I quietly left. We had no idea where, but God led us to a place where I found a job and eventually began to pastor a start-up church.  At this dinner, some of the renegades from the other church did their best to plant seeds of doubt and indiscretion into the minds of the people.

When Jo and I came in (we were late because we were meeting with some new people), I was surprised to see them there. The strangers from the past church began to move forward and I could tell they were “loaded for bear.” But they never got a word out of their mouth. One young lady, the healing from piercings and gauges evident, stood up and said to them, “I have no idea why you are here. But it would be best if you would leave. I am saved and have hope because of Pastor Bill’s ministry to ‘my kind.’” A young man, dressed somewhat similar but obviously trying to transition from what he once was spoke up. “I was about to take my own life and had given up hope in my former lifestyle, when someone told me about Pastor Bill.    I am here today, alive and healing, because of him.” The couple whose marriage was dead. The young mom who wanted to call it quits. The husband/father whose job had become his idol, but he was losing his family. It went on and on. I never had to say a word.

Then a surprise. An older couple from the previous church group spoke up. “We (the two of us) came to see what was going to happen. But we have also come to apologize to Pastor Bill for what we (our group) did. We planted the bottle in his desk. We planted the cards in his business cards. Our church has lost all the folks we had gained, but lost even more. We lost the respect of our community and even of our own people. We are separating ourselves from these others. We are here to ask forgiveness.”

That is when I woke up. Sweating profusely and drained. Not agitated. Drained. Like I had been put through a wringer. I’m not a purveyor of dreams. I’m not one who puts a lot of stock in them. And I’m honestly not sure what this all means. I know what I’d like it to mean.

As we move deeper into 2021 life is returning to “some normality.” It will never be the way it was, no matter how much we want it to. Be that as it may, I find my love for OVCF growing. I know our influence in this community is not done by any stretch of the imagination. But what will it be? Without compromising the Gospel, will we reach those who want to live an alternate lifestyle? Those who are coming to the end of their road and want to give up on life? Those whose lives are wracked by sin, poor choices, and a lifestyle filled with emptiness? Those who look like they have it all together but really are just shells? Couples ready to call it quits? Children who are abused and mistreated? Addicts? What impact will we have when we come to the end of 2021? I realize no one can answer those questions since only God has the knowledge to do so. But I sure am curious. 🙂  Aren’t you?

As I sat in my chair and replayed the dream, I could not go back to sleep. So I rode for an hour and prayed. I prayed for “my monthly people.” I prayed for me, for you. For wisdom. For guidance. For us to be ready for what God has in mind.

Thanks for reading my different MM this week. And no, I haven’t lost it yet.    Yet… 🙂  Have a great rest of the week. I love you all.

 

Pastor Bill

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Hilltop Christian Camp Registration

Hilltop Christian Camp registration is open! 

You may visit the camp’s website at www.hilltopchristiancamp.com for camp dates, online registration & more.  Info & registration forms are on the youth bulletin board as well. Scholarships are available!  Please speak to Ryan or Diana about completing a scholarship form and obtaining the OVCF camp code to use when registering!

 

 

 

 

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Day Light Savings Time This Sunday

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