Category: OVCF News

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

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

Pitch-In on July 19th cancelled

FYI:

We have decided to cancel meeting at the Farm until a later date. 

We will have two services, as usual, at OVCF on July 19th.

There will NOT be a pitch-in meal.

 

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ovcf.org/ovcf_wp/2020/06/pitch-in-on-july-19th-cancelled/

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

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ovcf.org/ovcf_wp/2020/06/midweek-message-7-2-2-2-2-2-2-2/

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

 

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ovcf.org/ovcf_wp/2020/06/midweek-message-7-2-2-2-2-2-2/

Midweek Message 6/10/2020

MIDWEEK MESSAGE 12

 

Good midweek to all of you! I hope this finds you doing well and coming out from under the cloud you may have found yourself under the past few months. It is good to see things finally opening up and life returning to a (somewhat) normal state. I think it is a sure thing that life will never return to the way it once was pre-Covid. They are calling it a new normal. I know some don’t like that term but it is fact. The important thing is how we will adjust to that new normal-as individuals, as a community, as a country, and as a church. I am an interested onlooker for all of those, but particularly the latter. I believe it is a foregone conclusion that church will never be the same. And I’m okay with that since it means change and innovation.

 

Speaking of change! It has been great seeing people here. When we decided to slowly open up I had no clue what to expect. Would we have a lot of folks here? Would we have very few here? Would we stay with two services or be able to consolidate into one? Would people feel comfortable coming? Would they wear masks or want to hug and dive right in. 🙂 How would people adjust to the change in seating and the way we do the bulletins and communion? How would parents handle not having the youth area open? Lots of questions that led to some introspection. I mentioned in a past Midweek Message that I was cautiously optimistic. That appears to have been the right approach. You guys have been super! Those who have come have, for the most part, observed our plan. Many of you are still watching online and you have no clue how grateful I am for that.

 

So…there is something you can plan for. According to Governor Holcomb’s suggestions, and providing things don’t go south, July 5th is supposed to be “opening day.” However, we are going to err on the side of caution and continue to observe our current plan until July 19. And here is the big news!!!  On July 19th, we will be meeting at Abram Farm for one big church service and a pitch in to follow. We plan to set up tables instead of chairs for the worship time and then bring out the food afterwards. We will start at 10:00 and have a wonderful time of worship together as ONE.  Beginning July 26th we will be back to “normal” at our building, except for the youth worship. Ryan is working on a starting date for that part. He will let you parents know more after he meets with the teachers again.  May I ask you to do something? Please pray for all that we need to decide. Please pray for our Grand Opening on the 19th.  Oh, and by the way, we can set up Saturday at the Farm. That is even better! So, expect an appeal for help.  🙂

 

To those of you who are still watching: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I realize some are still hesitant about coming back just yet. And that’s okay. We want you to feel comfortable and safe when you do. One of the podcasts I listened to said many pastors will be disappointed because they think there will be a great influx of people wanting to return and it will go back to what it once was. He said it would be more like a trickle. Since I had no clue what to expect, I wanted to err on the side of “trickle.” The first week brought 87 and the second 94 with some different folks each time. Both services were about equally attended. But I’m just so appreciative of you who still take the time to watch and let us know you are watching. I consider it a win-win if we can meet your need to worship and still feel you are a part of OVCF.

 

The next two Sundays my sermons will be from Isaiah 40. The first, Shelter in the Time of Storm, is from verses 1-17. The second, Strength for Weary Days, is from verses 28-31. I believe this OT chapter is so relevant to our day and time. We are both bombarded and tired from the Covid attack and from the violence caused by an unnecessary killing. I have stopped even watching the news. (I sure have gotten a lot of reading done) 🙂  God’s Word speaks to how we react to the news around us. Isaiah tells us how we can cope when we feel bombarded and the storm clouds seem to gather and then unload on us. He also tells us how to keep on going when our feet feel like lead and we want to give up. I am so excited about these two sermons and honestly feel lives will be changed by God’s Word. Not my words; His words. I could never compete nor find the words to express how eloquently and clearly Isaiah does.

 

As usual I have gone on long enough. Please don’t say “too long.” My fragile ego couldn’t take that. 🙂 Anyway, all kidding aside: have a great rest of the week. I look forward to seeing you soon.  Love you all.

 

Pastor Bill

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ovcf.org/ovcf_wp/2020/06/midweek-message-7-2-2-2-2-2/

Congratulations 2020 Graduates

Congratulations to our 2020 graduates!

Mary Rose Farmer-OV,  Jared Nally-OV,  Micah Nally-OV, Tyler St. John-OV,   Anna Farmer-ISU

 

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ovcf.org/ovcf_wp/2020/06/congratulations-2020-graduates/

Midweek Message 6/3/2020

MIDWEEK MESSAGE 11

 

Good morning (or afternoon or evening)!  I hope you are having a great week so far. We have spent the first part of this week in Ohio visiting Janna and Braden. Braden has kept us in stitches quite often. Oh, the life of a 13 year old!  His jokes are so lame they make us laugh. It sure is what the doctor ordered.

 

Sunday sure was worth waiting for. It was so good to see many of you who ventured out. We had a count of 87 in both services and had one family of three use the back TV in the youth area. The best part was seeing people laugh and greet each other, even though most avoided physical contact. I thought the Worship Team was spot on Sunday and the songs chosen were good ones that highlighted Jesus. We sang Holy Water again. Man, I like that song!

 

We still had a number of folks watch via live stream. I am so glad we were able to get that going and will keep it continuing for the future. If you were one of those who watched, thank you for joining in. I know there are some who want to be at the church building but caution is the name of your game. I understand and respect that. You are not forgotten though. It is just as important to me that you join in via the live stream as it is you be there in person for the moment. We still have those outside the OVCF church family who are watching from all over. I heard on a podcast recently that many have friends who won’t step inside a church door at the moment. (I heard one person say they thought the roof would cave in). Anyway, online is a great way to introduce your friends and family to “church” without them making a public entrance. The speaker went on to say that sometimes it might take a year or so before that person feels comfortable enough to find his or her way to the church building for a worship service. Just think though. You had an influence on that person, and it just might have eternal consequences!

 

During the talk Sunday, I gave a list of upcoming sermons for the summer. I know there was no way to copy them down during the talk because of time and I mentioned that I would include them in this Midweek Message. Here are the projected sermons with Scripture for the summer:

 

  • Wisdom to Find the Right Path (Pr. 1:1-7; 20-32)
  • Shelter in the Time of Storm (Is. 40:3-27)
  • Strength for Weary Days (Is. 40:28-31)
  • Endurance for the Long Haul (Jer. 2:1-19; Heb. 12:3-17)
  • Peace in a Worried World (John 14:27)
  • Refreshment for a Parched Land (Ezek. 36:22-36; 37:1-14)
  • Supply for an Empty Tank (Phil. 4; Mt. 6:19-21; 25-33; Jon. 6:1-14)
  • Security in Unsure Times (Rom. 8:31-39)
  • Satisfaction for an Empty Soul (John 4)
  • Grace for a Hassled Heart (Ezek. 34:11-16)
  • Vision to See God’s Plan (Joseph, Esther, others)

 

We have been inundated with the Covid thing over the past 3 or 4 months. It is sad that it “lost” its front page status by the ugliness of the weekend. In no way, shape, or form do I stand for violence against any race of people. That was just plain wrong. But so is the rioting which has destroyed businesses, cities, property and lives. I have always said there are good and bad people in all races, religions and nationalities. The actions of the weekend prove my point. Sadly, in all the ugliness we miss the incredible acts of courage and service so many others performed. We still have people on the frontlines who should not be dismissed or forgotten. Even in the ugliness we had people perform incredible acts of courage to help someone else. I’m not a “we have it within ourselves to bring peace” kind of person, but I sure do believe that treating each other with love and compassion goes a long way to making things better. I’m not one who believes that we will ever find true peace on earth until Jesus returns, but we can do our best to make life better while here. It starts with each one of us taking note of others. Maybe meeting a need. Maybe letting them know you care. Just remember it all starts with us. With you. With me.

 

Have a great rest of the week! If you can make it Sunday it will be good to see you. If not, then I look forward to seeing you online. Never forget you are loved.

 

Pastor Bill

 

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ovcf.org/ovcf_wp/2020/06/midweek-message-7-2-2-2-2/

New Beginnings

Please consider supporting New Beginnings Pregnancy Resource Center by donating through their Facebook page or sending a check to the Center. All donations help families in our community.

Thank you so much for your support!

 

 

 

 

 

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ovcf.org/ovcf_wp/2020/05/new-beginnings-2/

Hilltop – 2020 Camps – Cancelled

Update: Hilltop Christian Camp has cancelled all camp sessions for this summer.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ovcf.org/ovcf_wp/2020/05/hilltop-2020-cancelled/

Midweek Message 5/27/2020

MIDWEEK MESSAGE 10

Who’d a thunk it, right? When this whole mess started who would have thought it would still be ongoing and looks to continue in some form for months to come.  I’m going to continue with doing the Midweek Message until I deem it a moot point. I don’t know if that is cause for celebration on your part or not, but there you have it. 🙂

I am so excited for this coming Sunday! I have been looking forward to it for several weeks now.  I hope you are as excited as I am. To finally be able to see people in the flesh, at a worship service, will be like having a big bowl of ice cream. Satisfying but wanting more. To be perfectly honest, I am under no delusion.  I listen to several different podcasts and read a number of leadership blogs and they all say pastors are in for a great fall.  They almost all, to a “T”, say the anticipation of opening will not meet the expectations of the pastor and leaders.  That may be so, but I am prepared for it. I have told Jo I am “cautiously optimistic.”  My philosophy is when I stand up to preach whether there be 1, or 100, or 1000 (never been there), I need to preach as though it may be the last time I preach, or the last time someone has a chance to hear the message of the gospel. Some folks have asked me during this Covid mess how I feel on Sunday morning preaching to maybe 3 others in the room. I told them that every Sunday morning after I have made my notes in my Bible, I preach to an empty auditorium for practice. I jokingly say I preach to the mice but they all scatter. 🙂 Perhaps all those Sunday mornings of preaching to an empty auditorium have prepared me for this. (What it didn’t do is teach me to preach into a camera-for which there is no preparation). Anyway, if you come, no matter the size of the group, you will hear the same thing as if you were listening to the livestream. Will it be good to see people? Sure. But I only want you here if you feel safe.

I can tell you one thing I have not regretted about my actions during this lockdown: my drive-bys.  I can honestly say that was a “God-thing” for me. I have had so much fun doing that. There have been some who have been home, have acknowledged my texts, but have not come outside. There have been some who have and I have stayed safely away to respect them. One family asked me to come onto their porch and we sat at the four corners of their porch and visited for something like an hour. Other than freezing the back of my head off (I forgot to wear something with a hood), I had an absolutely fantastic visit! We laughed and told stories like nothing was wrong. One family, the Chambers’, stood inside their door (due to Alexander) and talked to me through the screen. I got to visit with the kids and then prayed for Alexander’s surgery the next day. But for them to take time out of their busy schedule to let me do that was special to me. I visited some folks yesterday (Tuesday) and we sat out on the porch and talked.  On one I had no choice. That downpour hit and I noticed that even though I was trying to get up under the eaves of their porch by backside was getting wet.  🙂 So I was invited onto the porch and visited. The next house was the same way. As I write today, I should finish off the whole directory of people.  I’m guessing maybe my next move will be a drone with a remote voice saying, “Hi! I want you to know I love you.”  Nah. I don’t have a drone. Besides, some of you might think that is kind of creepy. LOL Anyway, thanks to all of you who have taken time to say hi or to text me and let me know you were sorry to have missed me.

Sunday I believe you are in for a real treat. My series on Colossians was finished last Sunday and so I had one Sunday for a transition. Ryan was scheduled to preach but his schedule changed big time, so instead of him preaching, he asked that I preach since it is the first Sunday back. I thought it would cool to have him involved with me so I worked up four questions and we will be answering them.

  1. What we observed
  2. How we felt
  3. How we filled our days
  4. What’s on the horizon

 

Sounds like it will be about us, but I believe you will be surprised. Whether you are here or watching the livestream I think you will welcome what we will be sharing.  Relax and enjoy.

Thanks again for allowing me into your home/computer/phone. I do appreciate you doing that. Have a great rest of the week. And maybe see you Sunday. And if you come, please read again our guidelines. They are on the church’s website as well as our FB group/page. Speaking of which, we now have two FB accounts, the group (private) and page (public).  The group is Owen Valley Christian Fellowship and the page is Owen Valley Christian Fellowship-Spencer, Indiana.  We needed a new page for our livestreaming. Plus this will allow others to watch who are not a part of the closed group. Never forget you are loved.

Pastor Bill

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ovcf.org/ovcf_wp/2020/05/midweek-message-7-2-2-2/